How long has the physician been practicing?
Our chief orthopedic surgeon is Dr. Fernando Izquierdo. He has had his private practice since 1988. He is a delegate of the Mexican Board of Orthopedic Surgeons and on the Board of Directors of the Tijuana College of Orthopedic Surgeons. Aside from the MySpine Center, Dr. Izquierdo also practices at Hospital Angeles Tijuana, part of the largest and most renowned hospital chain in Mexico.
Who else will assist him in the operation? What is their background and qualifications?
During the procedure your chief surgeon will be assisted by an additional certified orthopedic spine surgeon, surgical nurse, scrub nurses, and the anesthesiologist.
How many times has Dr. Izquierdo done The My Spine Procedure?
In the last year Dr. Izquierdo has performed The My Spine Procedure over 100 times. He is the surgeon in Mexico with the most experience with The My Spine Procedure. He has done over a thousand procedures with other implants. It is this experience that has convinced him of the superiority of The My Spine Procedure to other implants.
Is he board certified?
Yes, he has been board certified since 1988. Not only is he board certified, he is also a delegate of the board and represents Baja California as part of the Mexican Board of Orthopedic Surgeons. He is an international member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. He is part of the InterAmerican Society for Minimally Invasive Surgery and an AO Spine Member as well.
What is the success rate for this type of surgery?
With The My Spine Procedure from a Visual Analog Scale point of view pain is usually reduced from the range of 8-9 to a 1-2.
How can I prepare for my procedure?
Either your primary care physician or your specialist should do a pre operative evaluation within three months of the surgery. If you find it more convenient we can do the preoperative evaluation at the MySpine Center. Additional time is required to allow for lab work to be performed. Doing the preoperative evaluation at the MySpine Center carries the risk that the medical will not approve you for The My Spine Procedure. Other treatment options would be available in that case.
Your patient coordinator will communicate to you any additional preparations needed prior to The My Spine Procedure.
Why do I need to get an MRI, CAT Scan or an X-ray before I have the procedure done?
The MRI is the most reliable study for spinal problems since you can actually see the nerve roots and all the causes of pain and/or dysfunction. Since you are travelling from far away the more information we have prior to your arrival the better your outcome will be. We need an MRI to approve you for the procedure. It is possible to perform the MRI here on the day prior to your surgery. However, you run the risk of not being a candidate for the procedure. Further details can be discussed with your patient care coordinator.
Do I need to bring all of my medical records?
As part of your evaluation our team reviews your medical records. We need you to send them to our team prior to your arrival. We need an MRI (images, CD and report from the radiologist) taken within the past 12 months. Finally we need blood tests taken within 3 months. Therefore by the time you arrive we should already have your medical history and tests on hand.
Can you help me get my records from my doctor?
Yes, we know that the hardest part of this entire process can be getting all your medical information together. Therefore, as part of our concierge service, our team can do all the work for you. We do need you to sign a HIPAA compliant authorization form that will allow your local medical team to send us the information. It is critical that you sign this form immediately.
How can I make the evaluation process go faster?
We usually see that the most difficult part of the evaluation is getting the patient to send us their medical history. Therefore the quicker you send us your information, the quicker we can evaluate you. We can help you do most of the work for you. Talk to our patient coordinators so they can get to work helping you.
Can MySpine take all the tests and studies at their facility?
Yes!!! Many patients prefer to do this and avoid the hassle of getting all their medical records together. Patients also like that they can get an independent second opinion regarding their condition. In one day you can take your MRI, take your blood tests, get physically evaluated by our staff, and conclude with an in-person consultation with our team of orthopedic surgeons.
Please describe what the one-day evaluation process looks like.
The evaluation begins with a consultation with our team of physicians. We get a medical history and go over the schedule for the day. We then proceed with a blood draw for the required blood tests. Patients need to be fasting when taking the test therefore we recommend this test be done first thing in the morning. After a light breakfast at our facility the patient proceeds to the MRI study. The complete MRI process takes about 90 minutes. We then invite the patient and his companion to have lunch at one of Tijuana’s many delicious restaurants. This allows the patient to get a taste of Tijuana’s famous Baja Med cuisine. After lunch we proceed back to the clinic where we give you a tour of our facility and introduce you to the staff that will be caring for you. We then proceed to the physical with the physician and conclude with the overview of your case.
How can I get to your facility?
We are located 20 minutes from downtown San Diego and 5 minutes from the international border. Therefore depending on where you are coming from we can do several things. If you are flying in we recommend you arrive in San Diego the day before your surgery or appointment. You use the remainder of the day to enjoy San Diego and spend the night at the local hotel of your choice. Early on the morning of your appointment we will pick you up at the hotel and let the process to healing begin.
If you are from Southern California you can drive to San Diego and we’ll pick you up in San Diego the day of your appointment or for a small fee our drivers can pick you up directly from home anywhere in Southern California and make the experience completely worry free.
Our patient coordinators can help sort out the details for your particular needs.
(FYI: Tijuana is the world’s busiest border crossing with over 70,000 cars crossing everyday. Tens of thousands of people commute daily between both countries. Therefore the border crossing is a safe, mundane thing done daily by thousands of commuters, tourists, and patients. Officials from both sides of the border recognize the importance of this border and have therefore implemented many policies to make the crossing as quick and simple as possible. It truly is an international mega-region.)
Is Tijuana safe?
Tijuana is a city with more than 2 million people. Like all large cities there are good areas and bad areas. The cartel violence of 10 years ago has ended. Tijuana is home to a flourishing food and art scene. It is a great place to visit for 2-3 days. Please review the articles below for a good idea about Tijuana.
How long will it take for MySpine to review all tests and see if I am a candidate for treatment?
We try to make this as convenient for you as possible. We need an MRI taken within the last 12 months, general blood work taken within 3 months, and a medical history. Therefore the ideal situation is that you have all those results in your possession and you send them to us. Once we get this information, within a matter of days, we can determine if you are a candidate for The My Spine Procedure or if we can help you in any way.
If you don’t have all the information on hand we can help the following ways:
- If you have taken the blood tests and images within the required time and if you have given us your signed authorization we can do all the legwork and get the documentation for you.
- If you need to take the tests we can coordinate with your physician or we can find private physicians or labs in the area to help expedite the process.
- You can travel to San Diego and we can do the evaluation in a single day at the MySpine Treatment Center.
What are the advantages of the My Spine WELLEX procedure vs. traditional spinal fusion?
Both treatments have their place in back surgery and can be correctly recommended by your treating physician. We believe The My Spine Procedure is special because it is a newly developed alternative, which if you qualify, should be done prior to getting fusion surgery. A very significant percentage of patients who are considering spinal fusion can benefit greatly from The My Spine Procedure. You need to call us to find out if The My Spine Procedure is right for you.
If you qualify we believe The My Spine Procedure is a better alternative to spinal fusion because:
- You retain mobility; like a shock absorber the Wellex implant is designed to move with your body and naturally maintain support. Mobility is minimally affected. To the contrary fusion greatly reduces mobility. By joining two vertebras not only are you creating an unnaturally long vertebra that doesn’t move, you are also placing undo stress on the adjacent discs. (INSERT GRAPHIC SHOWING UNDO STRAIN ON ADJACENT VERTEBRAE VS WELLEX IMPLANT SHOWING NATURAL CURVATURE OF THE SPINE)
- The surgery is minimally invasive. This means the surgery is very quick and you are back on your feet within hours of the surgery. The area affected by the surgery is minimal. The general idea is that the less invasive a surgery is the safer it is. The Wellex implant is inserted without screws, bolts, or any bone penetrations of any kind. It stays in place under pressure with the body’s own weight.
- The recovery time is significantly quicker. You are also able to get back to your desk job in a week versus months.
- The procedure is completely reversible. If the need were to arise the Wellex implant can be completely removed in a matter of minutes. Fusion is permanent and cannot be undone. This is important because although the Wellex implant is designed to last a lifetime it can be easily removed if a newer technology is developed in the future.
Spinal fusion is always an option, yet it is not reversible. Because of this it is always considered as a last resort. The My Spine Procedure is a new alternative that should be considered prior to fusion. If you don’t like it, you can always try fusion afterwards.
- The My Spine Procedure is significantly less expensive than fusion surgery. The procedure costs anywhere from 1/3 to 1/5 the price of spinal fusion. Additionally because the recovery is much quicker with The My Spine Procedure you are able to get back to work within weeks and not the several months required for most fusion surgeries. Finally, because you are back on your feet much sooner with The My Spine Procedure you do not have to pay someone to care for you, or you can allow your loved ones who are caring for you to get back to their normal lives and no longer need to be worried about your well-being.
I already had fusion or another spinal procedure such as a discectomy; can I still get The My Spine Procedure?
The short answer is yes, however, not on the vertebra that was fused. Spinal fusion or discectomies cause permanent changes to the affected level of the spine that cannot be reversed. However, often times, these procedures cause additional and unnatural strain on the adjoining levels of the spine. The My Spine Procedure is often used to alleviate pain caused to the adjoining discs by these other surgeries. The My Spine Procedure can be used to prolong the positive effect of these other procedures. If this is your situation please call us to find out if we can help you.
Can the spine specialist help with other medical conditions?
Yes, we have other alternative therapies and treatments such as stem cell therapy and interventional pain procedures. Please contact us for more information.
What is the usual recovery time for The My Spine Procedure?
Once the procedure is done, you will be able to walk out of the facility. Patients are usually able to get back to an office job after a week (No lifting is allowed). Full recovery for light to moderate chores takes 4-6 weeks. Heavy labor may take up to 4 months.
If I agree to have a procedure done, when will it happen?
Once you have a sent us the required medical information within days our team can determine if you are a candidate for The My Spine Procedure or any of our other treatment options. Once approved it becomes a matter of scheduling and sorting out travel details, usually two weeks is more than enough time to get everything in order.
What should I do about my medication?
Our medical team will adjust your medication according to your pain level. We expect you to have a significant reduction in pain so therefore the pain medication you require should also reduce significantly after the procedure.
Should I eat anything before my operation?
Depending on the procedure, you may be asked to fast for at least 12 hours prior to the procedure and stop taking anti-inflammatory medical at least 5 days prior to the scheduled procedure. We can let you know what types of pain medications are OK to take. Please refer to your patient coordinator for specific instructions.
How long does it take to perform The My Spine Procedure?
The My Spine Procedure usually takes around forty minutes. We ask patients to stay an additional 3-4 hours post surgery to make sure they are safe to go home.
What are the side effects, potential risks, and potential complications of the procedure?
This is surgery therefore you have the same risks inherent to all surgeries. These include risks due to anesthesia, bleeding, and infection. We have taken maximum care to reduce the chances of encountering problems in these areas. With regards to the Wellex implant the biggest complication would be the surgeon encountering an unexpected anatomical abnormality. These could include the presence of fibrosis or cartilage. Our doctors have experience encountering these situations and they have several alternatives to improve your pain.
What are the long-term consequences of The My Spine Procedure?
We expect pain to be reduced significantly. You will have better mechanical function of the lower spine. Finally, the affected lumbar area will be realigned with the rest of the spine.
What if, during my procedure, you encounter a different spine issue than you expected?
This cannot be foreseen but before the procedure, the doctor will discuss alternate options of implants or procedures with you in case the WELLEX is not an adequate fit for you. The surgical team enters the operating room with several treatment plans in mind but it will depend on what they find once the procedure begins.
What are my non-surgical options?
It will depend on your medical condition; we recommend a complete medical consultation where a specialist can explain all of your options.
Will I have irreversible damage if I delay surgery?
Depending on the advanced stage of the condition, you could encounter irreversible nerve damage. We recommend you visit a doctor if you have major back and/or limb pain.
What kind of pain should I expect after the surgery and for how long? How will it be controlled?
Most of the patients have light to moderate pain in the surgical area. We control it with painkillers. We expect that your original pain will subside significantly after the procedure.
How long is the hospital stay?
Approximately from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Which pain medications will I be sent home with? What are possible side effects of these prescriptions?
NSAIDs (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, etc.) and mild OPIODS (oxycodone, hydrocodone, tramadol, etc.) You can expect drowsiness, nausea and/or vomit but these can be prevented with additional medication if you need it.
Will I need any other medical equipment (like a walker) when I go home?
No, you will not need additional equipment.
Do I have to wear a brace?
It will depend on your body weight and type of pain. It is not always necessary, however we do recommend all patients use a back support belt similar to those used in weightlifting for the first 4 weeks after the surgery
What limitations will I have after surgery and for how long?
Forward bending and twisting will be restricted for 3 weeks.
How long will I be out of work?
In many cases patients can be back in the office after about a week. This would be for deskwork only; patient will have very limited ability to carry anything. Light to moderate office jobs take 3 to 6 weeks. Heavy labor can take 4 months.
Do I need home care? How long do I need home care help?
You will not need home care; we recommend that someone accompany you for the first 3-5 days.
When can I drive again?
Approximately one week after your procedure. It will depend on the affected limb, please refer to your doctor.
When can I resume normal (light) household chores?
Your body will tell you when the time is correct, however we recommend you wait at least 2 weeks after your procedure to do any sort of physical work. Your body needs time to heal and recuperate its strength.
What expectations do you have for my recovery?
It depends on the type of procedure and on your medical condition, however we expect a high recovery level with the procedures and therapies we perform, as well as a relatively quick recovery vs. other surgery options.
In what instances, do I need to report to the hospital?
Any new or different symptoms you may feel after the procedure that you’ve never felt before.
Will I need any physical therapy?
In most cases you will not need it, you will be discharged with a home rehabilitation program that you can practice yourself without a professional therapist.
How long will the effects of the surgery last?
The surgical pain will gradually subside in the following two weeks after the procedure.
How do I pay for the operation?
We accept payments through a wire transfer, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Please refer to your patient coordinator for more details.
Do you offer transportation?
We offer private transportation from and to the San Diego area.
Do I need a passport?
You will need a valid passport to travel into Mexico and the United States.
What is the name of the Clinic?
The name of the clinic where the procedure takes place is Clinica Santa Clarita.
Where is it located?
Clinica Santa Clarita is located in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, five minutes away from the San Diego/Tijuana border.
How long has it been around for?
Clinica Santa Clarita has been operating for over ten years.
Do you offer traveler insurance?
Yes, please refer to your patient coordinator for additional assistance.
How many companions can come with me?
We recommend that one family member or friend accompanies you during your procedure and travels back home with you.
Who makes the Wellex Implant and how legitimate is that company?
The Wellex Implant was developed and is made by Eden Spine. Eden Spine is headquartered in the USA with a wholly owned subsidiary in Switzerland. They have been developing new implants over the last 10 years. They are present in 18 countries and offer a wide range of spine solutions. http://www.edenspine.com