Author Topic: The House Clinic in Los Angeles  (Read 3182 times)

danmorg01

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The House Clinic in Los Angeles
« on: February 27, 2013, 12:58:26 pm »
Hello Everyone,

My husband had chronic headaches for quite a while.  After consulting with a neurologist, trying new medications, new diets he had no relief.  Once his headaches were coupled with dizzy spells, occasional vomiting, and tinnitus it was time to get an MRI.  We got the MRI done at 9am on the 14th of January and by 9:30am knew that his headaches had been a sign of something more serious....a 5cm AN.

The next day we were in surgical consults with a neurosurgeon.  Since my husband is only 34 and we haven't had any major medical scares prior to this, we didn't even think about getting a second opinion.

Long story short, we kept hearing about the House Ear Institute and decided to go up to LA to have a consultation.

We ended up choosing the House Clinic to do the surgery. Drs. Schwartz and Friedman did an amazing job operating on my husband.  He sacrificed his hearing (translab) but has very little problems with facial movement.  The doctors are amazed at how few deficits he has from the surgery.  We are really, really looking forward to putting this all behind us. 

Anyway, the point of this post is just to rave about the quality of care we received from the House Clinic.  However, there are many, many skilled doctors all across the nation that have a lot of success treating AN.  This discussion forum is so valuable in getting recommendations from other AN patients who received good treatment.  However, when choosing a doctor to treat your AN, you really want to make sure that they have the experience of many successful surgeries. 

When we got our diagnosis, we were in such a rush to select a surgeon to get the tumor out of there!  But we can't emphasize enough the need to be selective.  The care, concern, and compassion that we have experienced from HEI has been amazing.  I really could just keep gushing; but these guys saved my husband's life and we will be able to move forward from this very soon.

We've chronicled our experience on our blog: iwishyouwellness.blogspot.com

Dan & Lo
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 07:31:44 pm by danmorg01 »

Jim Scott

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Re: The House Clinic in Los Angeles
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2013, 01:43:45 pm »
Hi, Dan & Lo ~

We appreciate your taking the time to post about Dan's AN experience and the fantastic treatment he received at HEI.  Very helpful information.

I have one caveat: although HEI is the 'premier' hospital for AN surgical procedures, other doctors in other facilities around the country are equally skilled and have successful outcomes. 

I was diagnosed with a 4.5 cm AN in May, 2006.  Following my first consultation with what I soon realized was a neurosurgeon inexperienced with ANs and clearly intimidated by mine, which was pressing hard on my brain stem, I was referred to an older (60ish) neurosurgeon, less than 30 miles from my home, who 'specialized' in acoustic neuroma surgery. My initial consult with this fine doctor was both informative and rewarding.  With only a day's notice (he insisted on seeing me asap) he had mapped out a plan to 'debulk' my large tumor, sever it's blood supply then subject it to radiation (FSR) to destroy it's ability to re-grow.  He chose this plan to minimize the chances of facial nerve damage which I let him know was a major concern for me.

Long story short: 9 hour surgery...totally successful.  No facial nerve impairment at all, no headaches, not even nausea.  My symptoms (dizziness, mostly) disappeared immediately.  I was SSD by the time of my AN diagnosis (the cost of procrastination) so hearing loss was never a real issue and I had already adjusted to it by the time of the surgery.  My surgical recovery was rapid and rewarding.  After giving me a 90 day 'rest period', my neurosurgeon teamed with a talented radiation oncologist  to 'map' the FSR (using a 'fresh' MRI and CT scan). I underwent 26 FSR sessions with a resulting 27Gy of targeted radiation - and absolutely no adverse effects.  I drove myself on the 60-mile round trip to each session (Monday through Friday, weekends off).  Almost seven years later, I'm doing great!  No recurrence of symptoms and my last MRI indicated the beginnings of necrosis and shrinkage of the remaining tumor. 

My point is that while HEI is an outstanding institution that many of our members have used and are enthusiastic about, it is not the sole place in the U.S. to receive excellent outcomes to AN removal surgery.  However, it certainly is the 'gold standard' for AN surgery.  In fact, had I not found a local neurosurgeon that was experienced in AN removals, I was considering HEI as my 'fall back' choice.   

My congratulations on Dan's splendid surgery results and again, thanks for posting your story.

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.

CHD63

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Re: The House Clinic in Los Angeles
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2013, 03:28:20 pm »
Hi Dan and Lo .....

All I can say is ditto to your glowing praise of Drs. Friedman and Schwartz, who removed my regrown tumor (from a previous surgical removal in a different facility/doctor).

However, I also agree with Jim, that there are other skilled doctors in the country ..... one just needs to be extremely careful to check the number of ANs done a year and the number of successful removals done without damage by any physician one is researching.

Although the translab surgery automatically rendered me deaf on my AN side, it was a small price to pay for saving my facial nerve.

Many thoughts.  Clarice
Right MVD for trigeminal neuralgia, 1994, Pittsburgh, PA
Left retrosigmoid 2.6 cm AN removal, February, 2008, Duke U
Tumor regrew to 1.3 cm in February, 2011
Translab AN removal, May, 2011 at HEI, Friedman & Schwartz
Oticon Ponto Pro abutment implant at same time; processor added August, 2011

danmorg01

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Re: The House Clinic in Los Angeles
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2013, 07:16:18 pm »
Hi Clarise & Jim,

You both couldn't be more right!  There are so many great doctors that are very, very skilled in successfully treating AN.  To echo your sentiments, I modified my original post so as to more clearly convey the right message. 

Second opinions are so valuable and you want a doctor who has the experience & success rate that you feel comfortable with.  As was our experience, once you find out you have a brain tumor (esp. if it is large) you feel as if you are in a rush to pick a doctor.  But a little extra due diligence can go a LONG way in being able to put the whole diagnosis far, far behind you.  This is true no matter where you choose to get treatment. 

Thank you for your kind words,

Dan & Lo

jaylogs

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Re: The House Clinic in Los Angeles
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2013, 12:49:14 pm »
Hi Dan & Lo!! I am glad to hear you had a very good experience (well, as good one gets with brain surgery!) at HEI.  I am a HEI alumn myself, having Dr. Schwartz whittling in my head along with the venerable Dr. Brackmann.  I will also third the motion that there are a LOT of great doctors in this country and it pays to do your homework to get the one that will be the best for your situation.  I am so thankful I didn't get this thing 50 years ago! (come to think about it, when did was the first AN diagnosed??)  Anyways, thanks for sharing your experiences with us!  Keep up the good reports!
Jay
8.1mm x 7.8mm x 8.2mm AN, Left Ear, Middle Fossa surgery performed on 12/9/09 at House by Drs. Brackmann/Schwartz. Some hearing left, but got BAHA 2/25/11 (Ponto Pro) To see how I did through my Middle Fossa surgery, click here: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jaylogston

mindyandy

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Re: The House Clinic in Los Angeles
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2013, 07:01:02 am »
HEI alumn myself. I had to chime in. I had the team Friedman/Schwartz and I must say they are truly amazing.
14mm dx 9/07. CK done Seattle  1 year MRI showed some shrinkage. 4 year MRI 2mm growth nothing conclusive. Trigminal nerve involvment Retrosigmoid Friedmand/Schwartz HEI March 7,2012