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City of Hope Saga Continues

by on December 21, 2009

I received a call from the City of Hope Scheduling regarding our appointment on the 30th.  Apparently, the Radiologist wanted us to return sooner for the tests so a determination could be made.  I was a bit confused and concerned so asked the Radiologist to call me directly to discuss things.  She was paged and I waited by the phone for the return call.

A few minutes later, Dr Beth Chen, called us here at home.  Our discussion was quite informative.  First and foremost, the tests we had scheduled were only necessary because their IT department couldn’t upload the information from the DVD I had provided them.  I was very surprised that there was such trouble as I tested each disc beforehand.  In any case, I told the doctor that we had already completed the tests, the images and reports were available and only a few weeks old.  She wanted to see them ASAP so I agreed to drive up and meet with her the following morning.

I met Dr Chen on Tuesday at 9:00am.  We sat together in their imaging room and viewed the original discs.  Everything was clear and working.  The doctor reviewed the MRI and immediately stated that Satomi was a candidate for the procedure.  I was very relieved and we started to discuss the details of the procedure.

She indicated there are (3) variations of the procedure.  The primary procedure involves injection of the bone cement into the bone directly.  The second method involves the insertion of a balloon device into the damaged vertebrae to create a cavity for the cement prior to injection of the bone cement.  The final method uses an ultrasonic device to remove damaged bone from within the vertebrae thus creating a cavity prior to injection of the bone cement.  All have similar risks and success rates.

The primary concern is the possibility of the bone surrounding the bone cement to fracture and the cement enters the body and surrounding tissue.  If this were to occur, a spinal surgeon will need to operate immediately and physically remove the bone cement.  In such case, there is risk of paralysis.

It’s intimidating but the procedure still seems to be the right choice.  Without the procedure, it is only a matter of time before Satomi’s pain will be in itself debilitating.

The operation will require her to be under general anesthesia and a likely overnight hospital stay.  We’re returning to CoH on Tuesday the 29th to begin pre-op work and have the initial consultation with Dr Chen.

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