Author Topic: Does anyone know?  (Read 4237 times)

sues1953

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 222
Does anyone know?
« on: January 27, 2010, 09:14:41 am »
I don't mean to be a total sceptic here but is there anyway you can officially check the numbers and types of surgeries a Dr. does each year.  I'm thinking there must be records kept and patients should be able to view them.  Doctors can throw out any number and we are just suppose to trust that it's true?  The experience that the surgeon has is a very important factor.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks,  Susan
3.2 cm AN Right side diagnosed 12/4/09
Translab surgery May 2010 with Dr. Jack Kartush and Daniel Pieper at Michigan Ear Institute.
Successful surgery .5mm left on facial nerve.  Full facial movement. SSD, Tinnitis, tongue and lip numbness.  No headaches.  Back to living life.

Jim Scott

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7241
  • To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom
Re: Does anyone know?
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2010, 04:04:35 pm »
Susan ~

You raise a pertinent question.  

Most AN patients are referred (by their PCP) to a neurosurgeon or other doctor that deals with ANs. Many patients choose their AN doctor on the basis of his reputation and/or the reputation of the facility.  Dr. Brackmann of HEI comes to mind.  Some AN patients use this forum and recommendations from other patients they may contact by phone or PM.  I've referred a few AN patients living in my area (Connecticut) to 'my' neurosurgeon for a consultation.  A few did see him.  None used him for surgery and one he recommended have radiation, instead.  I believe there are many very capable doctors around the country that treat ANs but one has to be proactive in finding them and that can take both time, money and patience.  Some folks just don't have all three at once.  That may be why 'famous' facilities, such as the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles, California have so many AN patients.  Sometimes, it's easier to just go with the famous facility and it's experienced doctors than spend months making appointments and having consultations trying to find a 'local' doctor you can feel confident with.  I consider myself fortunate that I 'discovered' a 'local' neurosurgeon with decades of AN surgical experience to handle my case.  He was terrific and the outcome was great.  Of course, I'm not the only AN patient here to have such a good experience with a 'local' doctor. 'Seek and you shall find'.  :)

There are physician 'rating' websites, if you want to go that route.  I found this one with a quick Google search.  http://www.physicianreports.com/?goid=pr.

Jim
« Last Edit: January 27, 2010, 04:06:53 pm by Jim Scott »
4.5 cm AN diagnosed 5/06.  Retrosigmoid surgery 6/06.  Follow-up FSR completed 10/06.  Tumor shrinkage & necrosis noted on last MRI.  Life is good. 

Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is.  The way we cope with it is what makes the difference.

leapyrtwins

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10820
  • I am a success story!
Re: Does anyone know?
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2010, 07:48:52 pm »
I'm with Jim.  There are many very capable doctors around the country that treat ANs - and as I've said many times, finding a "famous" facility and/or doctor is not a requirement of AN treatment.  I'm the "product" of a local neurotologist and neurosurgeon myself - and I'm extremely proud of that  ;D

I'm a big believer in my "gut" and something just told me that I had the right guys.  I was correct and I've never second-guessed my decision, nor could I have asked for a better outcome.

IMO faith, trust, and confidence in your doctor mean much, much more than numbers - which is a little strange coming from an accountant  :D  This is not to say that you shouldn't find a doctors with lots of experience treating ANs - which is something you definitely should do.

Jan
Retrosig 5/31/07 Drs. Battista & Kazan (Hinsdale, Illinois)
Left AN 3.0 cm (1.5 cm @ diagnosis 6 wks prior) SSD. BAHA implant 3/4/08 (Dr. Battista) Divino 6/4/08  BP100 4/2010 BAHA 5 8/2015

I don't actually "make" trouble..just kind of attract it, fine tune it, and apply it in new and exciting ways

JerseyGirl2

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 513
Re: Does anyone know?
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2010, 10:09:57 pm »
I totally agree with Jim and Jan's comments.

My local otolaryngologist said he always recommends House to his AN patients (I live in New Jersey) and I decided while I was still in his office at the time of diagnosis that that was where I wanted to go. I checked out their website, sent them my MRI, talked to the surgeon on the phone and set up my appointment for surgery during that consultation call. I was completely delighted with every aspect of the two weeks I spent at House and would go there again in a heartbeat.

Do I think I would have been equally successful and satisfied had I gone to surgeons in New York or elsewhere on the east coast? Definitely!

I've read more than enough posts on this forum (which I discovered several months after my surgery) to know that there are any number of eminently qualified surgeons in this area -- and throughout the country -- who provide wonderful outcomes and who have many, many devoted patients. And with the seeming increase in diagnosed cases of acoustic neuromas, the number of qualified and experienced surgeons should only increase.

I think that each individual patient must decide for him/herself the best route to follow, taking into account all the variables that factor into the decision-making process. Some people stay local -- or nearly so -- because of family or job constraints, financial/insurance issues, or maybe just because they don't want to travel and are confident (and rightfully so) that, with some research, they'll be able to find excellent treatment in their vicinity.

Trust and confidence in your doctor is the key element, and once you've found the right one(s), don't second-guess ... just go for it.

Catherine (JerseyGirl 2)
Translab surgery and BAHA implant: House Ear Institute, Los Angeles, 1/2008
Drs. J. House, Schwartz, Wilkinson, and Stefan
BAHA Intenso, 6/2008
no facial, balance, or vision problems either before or after surgery ... just hearing loss
Monmouth County, NJ

leapyrtwins

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10820
  • I am a success story!
Re: Does anyone know?
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2010, 06:54:47 am »
Amazingly well said, Catherine.

Jan
Retrosig 5/31/07 Drs. Battista & Kazan (Hinsdale, Illinois)
Left AN 3.0 cm (1.5 cm @ diagnosis 6 wks prior) SSD. BAHA implant 3/4/08 (Dr. Battista) Divino 6/4/08  BP100 4/2010 BAHA 5 8/2015

I don't actually "make" trouble..just kind of attract it, fine tune it, and apply it in new and exciting ways

lawmama

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 258
  • I'm a Postie Now!!!
    • My AN Blog:
Re: Does anyone know?
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2010, 09:01:08 am »
Maybe this is the almost-lawyer in me talking, but I can't imagine a surgeon would lie if asked directly about the number of procedures he or she has performed.  That opens up such a can of worms, ethically and legally. . .

Lyn
9mm X 7mm tumor (left side), diagnosed 10-15-09
Retrosigmoid on 12-14-09 by Drs. Antonelli and Lewis (my heroes!)
Shands in Gainesville, FL
SSD, but no facial issues.  Mild tinnitus.

lori67

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3113
Re: Does anyone know?
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2010, 12:03:28 pm »
Lyn,

I doubt a surgeon would lie about something like that, but he may not be completely forthcoming about the numbers.  He could tell you he does 100 a year.  That's great, but maybe he failed to mention that 99 of them fell over dead the next day, and if you don't specifically ask, you might just dwell on the "100 a year" and make your decision based on that.  I like to think we are all smarter than to do that, but stranger things have happened! 

They key is - the patient has to ask directly, like you mentioned.  Don't just ask "how many?", but "what was the outcome?" and also, "what do you consider a good outcome?".  Someone could consider the fact that the patient still had a heartbeat a good outcome.  I, personally, would want a little more than that.

There ya go, Sue - clear as mud now, huh?   ;)
Lori
Right 3cm AN diagnosed 1/2007.  Translab resection 2/20/07 by Dr. David Kaylie and Dr. Karl Hampf at Baptist Hospital in Nashville.  R side deafness, facial nerve paralysis.  Tarsorraphy and tear duct cauterization 5/2007.  BAHA implant 11/8/07. 7-12 nerve jump 9/26/08.

rupert

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 359
Re: Does anyone know?
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2010, 04:21:45 pm »


   Absolutely Lori.     Of all the things I have learned on this AN journey is that,   there might be a difference in what the doctors feel is a successful outcome and what you as a patient feel is successful.   This should be discussed with your doctor in depth.   Pay attention to key words such as   GOALS,  USUAL,  SHORT TIME  etc.
                                                       

leapyrtwins

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10820
  • I am a success story!
Re: Does anyone know?
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2010, 06:28:19 pm »
Maybe this is the almost-lawyer in me talking, but I can't imagine a surgeon would lie if asked directly about the number of procedures he or she has performed. 

Lyn -

I don't think this is at all the "almost-lawyer" in you.  I think all of us want to believe that people are basically honest and good - and in most cases, we're absolutely correct.

Yes, there are "bad people" out there, but I don't think the majority fall into that category.  I also can't see the goal of a doctor lying to a patient about anything.

Just my take on the situation,

Jan
Retrosig 5/31/07 Drs. Battista & Kazan (Hinsdale, Illinois)
Left AN 3.0 cm (1.5 cm @ diagnosis 6 wks prior) SSD. BAHA implant 3/4/08 (Dr. Battista) Divino 6/4/08  BP100 4/2010 BAHA 5 8/2015

I don't actually "make" trouble..just kind of attract it, fine tune it, and apply it in new and exciting ways

Jim Scott

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7241
  • To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom
Re: Does anyone know?
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2010, 02:11:57 pm »
Lyn ~

I'll add to Jan's comment by stating that while most reputable doctors won't flat-out lie, they can be evasive or simply omit anything negative.  The first neurosurgeon I consulted after my AN diagnosis was clearly evasive about the number of AN removal surgeries he'd performed, which set off numerous alarms in my mind.  I eliminated him as a doctor I would consider engaging the minute I left his office.  With doctors, the patient has to be informed enough to know what questions to ask (surgical outcomes as well as the total number performed) and to be astute enough to recognize clever evasions (often couched in generalities).  Just as I would ask an attorney I was considering retaining, not only how many types of cases like mine she had tried but how many she had actually won.  These are simple, logical questions.  Any evasions, attempts to deflect the question or the doctor (or attorney) acting insulted because you asked pointed-but-fair questions in a calm, civil manner (of course) should have the prospective client/patient thanking the doctor (or attorney) for their time and heading for the exit.   That's my take.   

Jim
4.5 cm AN diagnosed 5/06.  Retrosigmoid surgery 6/06.  Follow-up FSR completed 10/06.  Tumor shrinkage & necrosis noted on last MRI.  Life is good. 

Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is.  The way we cope with it is what makes the difference.

 


anything