Neurosurgery reccomending surgery

Hi! My son had his yearly mri last week and the surgeon call and reccomendes surgery. This kind of blind sided me. He’s mildly symptomatic, if it’s even chairi causing it. But he said because he on asprin for life ( congenital heart defect) he’s at a high risk and we need to be proactive. Has anyone been through this?
Is there concern for operating unnecessary?
Thank you!

Hey Jenelle,
You state ‘He’s mildly symptomatic’ and the surgeon ‘recommends surgery’.
The surgeon would have access to all of your sons imagery (CT/MRI) and the associated reports. Sometimes with mild symptoms it can be recommended to intervene before symptoms progress to something more serious or more permanent. The images can show much more than the symptoms may display.

From my experience, no. In fact rather the opposite. If they could avoid neurosurgery they would. Neurosurgery is a MAJOR shock to the body, the whole body and if there was any other viable option for treatment, they would much rather use another option. The surgeon must relate your son’s symptoms to the chiari or surgery would not be suggested.

If you are unsure you can ask for a referral to another neurologist/neurosurgeon for a 2nd opinion, even if it’s just to confirm the initial surgeons opinion.

Merl from the Modsupport Team

Thanks. I know it’s right. I was just taken back and am trying to absorb. He seems so “ fine” it’s hard to think about the surgery.
And if I get a second opinion and they recommend waiting it out I’d still be torn. This surgeon is saying he’s a high risk for injury.

Hey Jenelle,

And I have to tell you, that’s completely normal. It is shocking and it really can knock you. Talking about it all can help in trying to process it all, it really can be a lot to try and comprehend.

In which case, I think you have your answer.

Merl from the Modsupport Team

I really appreciate the replies. I guess my main question and concern is making sure it has to be done and no one has experience with a surgeon wanting to do it unnecessarily. I’m on the line about getting a second opinion or just going with this surgeon ( who is the chief of neurosurgery and certainly capable of doing it). It’s just so much for my 6 year old. And so unexpected…
Thank you for the support and answers.

For your own information I would recommend asking for further explanation about what is prompting your neurosurgeon to recommend surgery. It is important to understand what has changed and what is creating greater risk for your son. My son had several check-ups and was symptomatic but his surgeon wanted another MRI to determine the risks. My son had developed cysts in his spinal column as a result of poor spinal fluid flow and needed surgery ASAP. I was surprised and nervous, too! My son had successful decompression surgery in 2017 and had been symptom free and doing great ever since!

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