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Old 03-15-2016, 08:16 PM   #1
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Cambie Surgery Center and Other Private Surgical Facilities?

Has anyone here had any experience with the Cambie Surgery Centre or other private surgical facilities in Canada or the USA etc?

Long story short I have been waiting over two years for back surgery, I should have been operated on a few weeks ago but my surgeon tore his rotator cuff and it caused my scheduled date to slip into July.... ugghhhh. I am literally in pain 24/7 and my left leg is constantly numb, super geh.

Picture of the problem since peeps like pics, I am looking at a microdiscectomy and laminectomy at L4-L5... blurb from my surgeons review of MRI.

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Moderate disc osteophytic complex with circumferential disc bulge causing bilateral spinal canal recent stenosis at L4-L5 and likely impingement of L5 nerve roots bilaterally, more so on the left than on the right.


The long vertical light coloured line is your spinal cord (Officially it's a ligament and nerve bundles), the hockey pucks/ice cream sandwich looking things are your discs and the square-ish grey blocks are your vertebrae. The issue is that two of my discs are poking into the spinal cord and impinging a nerve.

How did this happen? HD Mechanic + repeated trauma from snowboarding and skateboarding. Looking back I've learned a valuable lesson, just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.

If anyone feels like debating private vs. public health care feel free, I just want to know who has experience going to a private provider to address a orthopaedic or neurological issue. Thx
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Old 03-15-2016, 08:33 PM   #2
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so will they be shaving the discs down then? Buddy had that done a few years back, worked miracles for him considering the guy does not look after his body the way one probably should and has been grinding out a life in alberta almost since the surgery.

when i was in my family doc's office last week a woman ahead of me had some results returned and her resulting MRI date was set for fucking December 20th..

8 month + waits for MRI is insanity, my bro had some issues with his back and my parents forked out $1200 for a private MRI, but it was really the only option as opposed to waiting.

I'm curious if anyone has any experience with these private facilities extensive physical exams they provide? I know false creek medical center used to provide somthing along the lines of like very thorough blood work, CT Scan/MRI, and a bunch of shit you'd never have through a family doc for $1500-$2000

i beleive a friend of mine had it quite some time ago, and the problem is with CT/MRI's is they let you know whether there is the slightest lump/issue. So now that you know, it could be completely benign etc. but it's somthing brought up that you wouldnt have found otherwise..
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Old 03-15-2016, 08:38 PM   #3
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IMO it's always worth it to pay out of pocket to speed up testing that could be critical to your way of life.
Spot it early so you have time to research options instead of sitting around waiting and by the time they get to you..... you find out you could have fixed it if they only they caught it sooner.
Why people are willing to sit around and wait for testing is beyond me.



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Old 03-15-2016, 08:46 PM   #4
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I paid for my imaging privately, 800 for lumbar MRI and 1200 for pelvis, it was 1 week private vs 6 months public lol. The pain was so bad for a while I was was seriously thinking it could have been a fractured pelvis from a nasty skateboarding fall I had about 6 months before.

This coming from someone who has broken a lot of bones and fractured his skull before... Up to this issue I was 100% accurate calling my broken/fractured bones lol spinal/Neuro issues are brutal.

Oh, and broken foot bones ugh 5th metatarsal was a real stinger for about 18
months.
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Old 03-15-2016, 09:32 PM   #5
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I'm not going to begin to pretend I remotely know shit about back issues or anything medical related at all b/c I really don't but have you in the meantime looked into something like KKT while waiting for your surgery?

I'm not saying KKT will heal you or anything but I've heard nothing but insane things about them through a few coworkers who got "healed" by doing KKT. One of my Managers I watched at work sitting in weird chairs, laying on the floor during meetings, and just in what looked like 24/7 pain for a year suddenly become normal again by trying KKT.

Again, no personal experiences and I ain't no doctor and don't know shiet but maybe doesn't hurt just to look. Not everything is full proof, just like RMT, physio, chiro, acu etc works for some and doesn't for others.

KKT Back Pain Treatment
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Old 03-15-2016, 11:26 PM   #6
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My back is worse than yours. I had nerve impingement that was causing leg drop. That's where you lose motor control of your leg. Honestly man, don't do surgery. If you can, take up yoga and working out. Not pumping iron, but simply strengthening your core. I'm 39, and have been forced to make a change in my life, but it was well worth it.

I'm sorry if you have a degenerating condition that requires surgery. But if you're like so many other people, try what I recommended. It was recommended to me years ago by folks who were a little older, and had gone through the same thing. I've had friends and family who have had the surgery, and the odds are not good. Back injuries suck, for sure. I've lost a year to my back being out In the last 6 years. But since I've gotten into my groove, my back has been strong. I played in net against a bunch of 18 year old junior a hockey kids last week, and kicked a ton of ass. Having a strong body is good for your back and your life.

Good luck.
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Old 03-15-2016, 11:58 PM   #7
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I've had some back pain before. A few years ago I just woke up and couldn't get out of bed. Finally managed to take a few steps and then my legs gave up on me. Ever since that random freak day I've had lower back pain in the L4-L5 area including my tailbone being misaligned. I went to a chiropractor every week for a year and pain has become a bit more manageable. I remember when it was really bad, I had shooting pains up and down my left leg and the whole leg getting numb for hours at a time.
Eventually, once my work benefits kick in, i'm heading straight to some Spinal Decompression clinics to see if that will help. I remember seeing Ironwood Chiro offering these procedure

I hope your laminectomy goes well. Would love to see you update this with more info involving the surgery process
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Old 03-16-2016, 03:31 AM   #8
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My back is worse than yours. I had nerve impingement that was causing leg drop. That's where you lose motor control of your leg. Honestly man, don't do surgery. If you can, take up yoga and working out. Not pumping iron, but simply strengthening your core. I'm 39, and have been forced to make a change in my life, but it was well worth it.

I'm sorry if you have a degenerating condition that requires surgery. But if you're like so many other people, try what I recommended. It was recommended to me years ago by folks who were a little older, and had gone through the same thing. I've had friends and family who have had the surgery, and the odds are not good. Back injuries suck, for sure. I've lost a year to my back being out In the last 6 years. But since I've gotten into my groove, my back has been strong. I played in net against a bunch of 18 year old junior a hockey kids last week, and kicked a ton of ass. Having a strong body is good for your back and your life.

Good luck.
Sadly been there and done that, I've spent quite a few bucks on PT, training and massage, I did get to a point where I was virtually pain free for about 2 months... Then bam, it was worse than ever. I really wanted to avoid surgery but it doesn't appear as though I can expect any results from the alternatives. While I was still physically able to stretch and train I was extremely diligent with it, probably no less than 2 hours of stretching, foam rolling and core work every single day.

Right now it's 4:23am, I've been awake since 3:30am because I can't lay in bed anymore, 3-4 hours of sleep is the best I can do before I'm just rolling around non stop in pain lol after a while it gets very tiring.

Positive outcomes for decompression surgery are very high (95%+) when pain is manifested in the legs, when pain is primarily manifested in the lumbar area positive outcomes are more like 60%. I know a number of people who had great experience with decompression and/or fusion and one friend with successful ADR. Depending on the study you read, those with substantial sub group analysis often tell a hidden, those with negative outcomes are usually extremely out of shape and obese...

I should also mention I did try steroidal injections, I didn't want them, surgeon basically forced me to give it a shot (no pun). Two facet blocks and an epidural with no noticeable improvement.

In general though I do believe surgery is last option, anyone with back issues should attempt a dedicated stretching routine or yoga and basic core work like bird dogs and dead bugs etc. Generally a lot of back issues people have are caused by soft tissue, get your glutes and abs working and stretch out your tight hamstrings and hip flexors, especially if you sit at a desk all day.
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Old 03-16-2016, 09:40 AM   #9
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I'm so sorry to hear that man.
I've been up at 4am myself numerous times, and it really sucks. Life is no fun when you're in constant pain.

There are a few of us on rs who have gone through various methods of recovery for back issues. Hopefully those who have done the surgical method will chime in.
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Old 03-16-2016, 09:50 PM   #10
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Hey jasonturbo,

I work with quite a few physicians who rotate through False Creek (not surgery, but similar idea), and well.. it really is that you get what you pay for: significantly lower wait times and quality care. Most of the physicians who rotate through private clinics also work public in major healthcare centres (i.e. all of the Interventional Radiologists I know that work at FC also work at VGH), so rest assured you're in good hands. Take this with a grain of salt, but someone paying out of pocket will likely get a 'higher' standard of care as well.

I have quite a few patients who have had very positive experiences at FC - it's usually well worth their money as you have experienced with your imaging series.

As for surgical repair of lower back problems: GFs dad had a herniation repaired recently and it made a world of difference, he had it done by Dr. Chan at RCH, but I don't believe he works private. From chronic pain both skeletomuscular and nerve to being unable to bend over/squat etc... your lower back/core really does more than you think. As you mentioned, outcomes are typically overwhelmingly positive. If I were you, and if you are financially in a good place, I'd definitely consider going through private.

Best of luck!

edit: considering you were scheduled for surgery in a couple weeks, I'd plead for the surgeon or his office to expedite a referral to another one of his colleagues who can hopefully fit you in faster than July. In certain cases, if you advocate hard enough for yourself (in pleasant ways obviously) things can get done.
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Old 03-16-2016, 10:42 PM   #11
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Old 03-16-2016, 11:28 PM   #12
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do inverters and floating in water help?
Inversion tables in theory should help for the basic fact that it's doing the opposite. Some people have sworn that the inversion tables have fixed them, while others said all they got was a major head rush. I don't think there have been any conclusive scientific researches done that have said they were the sole reason for solving a person's back issues.

I don't have any experience with Cambie Surgical, but my dad went to False Creek Surgical on 8th and Cambie a few months back to get a tumor mass removed from his right thyroid gland. Originally, his oncologist had put in a request to get it done at VGH back in May 2015. He said the estimated wait time was 3-4 months and since the tumor was believed to be benign, he said that the extra wait time should be fine. Had it been malignant then they would've pushed him to the top of the list to get operated on immediately. Months go by and we're still waiting for a call back from them to confirm surgery.

Finally, November rolls around and I get tired of waiting and decide to call him to ask what was going on, since the original wait time was suppose to be 3-4 months and it's been 6 months now. I stressed the fact that my dad had an unknown mass developing in his thyroid and we were extremely concerned because of the constant wait game. He agrees that this is taking way too long, so he said he'll check in on them and get back to me. A day later, they call back and books him into False Creek Surgical (private facility) to get the operation done. He said we didn't need to worry about the costs because he had his staff work everything out, so my dad ended up with a tumour extraction surgery at a private surgical centre without paying a single penny out of pocket. The staff at the surgical centre was awesome and friendly. Made sure my dad was all good to go before they wheel chaired him down to the lobby and into my car. They ended up calling us the next day to confirm that the biopsy on the tumour mass was indeed benign, so nothing bad had metastasized elsewhere in the body. For the next few days, they'd call just to make sure everything was A-OK on his end.

I guess what I'm trying to say is check in with False Creek Surgical and see what they have to say. I can only vouch for what I've had experience with and False Creek Surgical was an A+ in our books.
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Old 03-17-2016, 06:23 AM   #13
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+1 for False Creek health centre
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Old 03-28-2016, 08:55 AM   #14
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Meeting with a neurosurgeon @CSC on the 31st, will likely schedule surgery for mid April.

Cost of the operation somewhere in the range of 10-15K, factor in travel costs etc I'll easily be into the ordeal for 20K.
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Old 04-07-2016, 09:26 PM   #15
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Well god damn, last week I flew out for a consult with my Neurosurgeon on the 31st of March, I'm already booked in for surgery on the 13th of April.

Took less than a month from when I contacted CSC to get in for surgery, happy as a clam.

Cost of surgery is IMO pretty reasonable, certainly doesn't seem like an overpriced cash grab and very competitive with US prices with reputable Neurosurgeons.
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Old 04-11-2016, 10:34 PM   #16
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Good luck. Hope surgery goes well for you
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Old 04-12-2016, 05:22 PM   #17
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Well god damn, last week I flew out for a consult with my Neurosurgeon on the 31st of March, I'm already booked in for surgery on the 13th of April.

Took less than a month from when I contacted CSC to get in for surgery, happy as a clam.

Cost of surgery is IMO pretty reasonable, certainly doesn't seem like an overpriced cash grab and very competitive with US prices with reputable Neurosurgeons.
good luck on your surgery tomorrow jason
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Old 04-12-2016, 05:30 PM   #18
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Good luck Jason!
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Old 04-12-2016, 05:33 PM   #19
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how do you deal with the pain now?...any herbal smoke?
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Old 04-13-2016, 09:35 AM   #20
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Cambie Surgical Centre gets a big from me.

Long story short, gf had 1st knee surgery after waiting 3 years publicly. Then got hit in that knee during recovery at work, after diagnosis it was concluded she had to go back under the knife. As it was now WCB covering it, they sent her to CSC and got a surgery date within 3 months.

When we talked about it after she was just floored by how different the experiences are. Way nicer people, top notch quality pre/post care, and said it was overall a way better surgery than publicly.

I wasn't surprised as you are going private, everybody gets paid really well and quality is what keeps people paying big bucks.
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Old 04-13-2016, 10:00 AM   #21
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Thanks for the GL's, just waiting to get chopped up now, let's hope I don't have to zanardify my nsx with hand controls for the pedals lol
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Old 04-13-2016, 10:03 AM   #22
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what is the estimated recovery time? will there by any physio afterwards as part of all of this?
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Old 04-13-2016, 03:10 PM   #23
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All fixed up, totally amazed at the level of service and care received, it's a shame our public health care system isn't on par with this place.

No pain at all really, hopefully it stays that way!
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Old 04-13-2016, 05:07 PM   #24
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wow no recovery time necessary
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Old 04-13-2016, 08:45 PM   #25
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Surgeon just gave me a summary of what they found during the operation.

The disk annulus had actually failed and a fragment of nucleus was pushing trough and applying pressure on the nerve.

They initially went in and removed the lamina (bone covering the posterior side of the nerve/disc) and were surprised when the nerve was still exhibiting signs of being compressed as it was difficult to manipulate the nerve with a retractor. Once they removed additional bone from the lamina and vertebrae they were able to free the nerve and discovered a disc nucleus fragment which had escaped the disc annulus through a small hole and was pushing on the nerve. They then used a tweezer like tool to remove the fragment and any other "loose" disc nucleus material from the opening in the disc annulus. In most cases the doctor is actually forced to cut the disc annulus to remove the herniated nucleus fragments, my hole is actually good news as the disc annulus should be able to heal much quicker than if it had been cut with scalpel.

Surgery was 46 minutes start to finish.

Super happy with the experience so far, days 2-3 of recovery are supposed to be worse though.
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