Today, I had the first appointment with a surgeon to discuss my ulnar nerve entrapment. After a large packet of paperwork was completed, I was brought into the back by the nurse and/or surgeon’s assistant. He led me through a series of tests and questions (a lot that I had just answered in the pile of paperwork). After about 10 minutes, he said the doctor would be in. The doctor repeated a couple of the tests I had just done and really did not ask too much about symptoms. Maybe he read the paperwork! He said there were two options: 1) sleep in a brace to improve the symptoms, which would take roughly 3 months or 2) cubital tunnel release surgery. He said since the muscle in my hand is not atrophied, surgery is not the only option. I forgot how he worded it, but my retort was, “Well, I do not want to wait for atrophy to have the surgery”. He said since my nerve entrapment is severe, he recommends surgery but wanted to give me another option since some patients want to avoid surgery at any cost. He did not go into the details of the surgery at all. I had a few questions for him regarding the surgery and recovery. If I had not asked any questions, the appointment would have lasted maybe 3 minutes with him. I said I would like to schedule the surgery and he said, “My staff will come in to schedule, I’ll next see you at surgery”. Lack of bedside manner is an understatement.
From the get-go, I was a little hesitant of this appointment. When I left the pain doctor, she said I needed surgery and had 2 recommendations but knew my primary care physician would want to give her own referral. When my PCP’s office called to discuss the EMG and referral, the nurse said my doctor wanted to use this practice and the nurse saw there was a specialist in hand, wrist, elbow at the Flower Mound office. It was a recommendation for a practice, not a doctor. I still kept the appointment due to good online reviews of the surgeon (and would still use him, if need be). However, I reached out to my pain doctor for her recommendations and have a second opinion appointment scheduled for tomorrow morning. I am hoping to get a better vibe from this doctor. I know this surgery is inevitable, I would just like a surgeon who discussed it further with me, rather than me having to pry information out of them.