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Old 11.12.2015, 13:59
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Hand Surgery in Switzerland

I wasnt sure really where to put this in the forum.

I am an American living in Switzerland now for 2 years and currently live in Bern. (absolutely love it by the way and definitely plan to be here for life!). I had a question though for other Americans here (or anyone for that matter).

So I went to the doctor because I have always had arm and wrist pains that have slowly gotten much worse over the years. After a few doctor visits they sent me to a neurologist and I had the test done where they check your nerves. I have damage and they said I need to get surgery for carpal tunnel in both hands. Now... the first thing that struck me... since I am american.. is I know in USA they love to find anything to keep us sick or make money from us... however... wouldn't it be opposite here in Switzerland? I mean... they really only would say I need the surgery if I truly do here, right? I asked my American friends of course all of them say "dont do it man! do whatever you can like acupuncture!" ... but I am always in pain and cant sleep hardly for the past year due to this. So I am just wanting to be sure that the doctors here in Switzerland are in it for the right reasons and best interest compared to that of a lot of USA doctors that are knowing it will make money in many ways for the medical industry monster that we all deal/dealt with.


Anyones ideas on this? Anyone else have the operation? I know I should do it but at the same time... just need to be sure its not too drastic of a diagnosis and prescribing surgery from these doctors.
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Old 11.12.2015, 14:06
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Re: Hand Surgery in Switzerland

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however... wouldn't it be opposite here in Switzerland? I mean... they really only would say I need the surgery if I truly do here, right? :
Excuse me while I pick myself off the floor laughing...

As much 'unnecessary' surgery is done in Switzerland as in any other country.


Which doesn't mean that you shouldn't do it, just make sure you understand what your options are, what the prognosis truly is, what the risks are.

If you are unsure that surgery is needed, get a qualified second opinion. And third, if necessary. If you don't know who to go to, ask your GP for a recommendation, or ask your insurer.
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Old 11.12.2015, 14:09
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Re: Hand Surgery in Switzerland

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Excuse me while I pick myself off the floor laughing...

As much 'unnecessary' surgery is done in Switzerland as in any other country.


Which doesn't mean that you shouldn't do it, just make sure you understand what your options are, what the prognosis truly is, what the risks are.

If you are unsure that surgery is needed, get a qualified second opinion. And third, if necessary. If you don't know who to go to, ask your GP for a recommendation, or ask your insurer.
OK so I take it that I shouldnt trust Switzerlands health care or doctors any more than USA? Is that what you mean? I have seen 2 doctors now. Which sent me to the neurologist which did the nerve test and is now sending me to a surgeon.
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Old 11.12.2015, 14:13
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Re: Hand Surgery in Switzerland

You should evaluate your doctor/surgeon on your own, decide on your own if you are comfortable with the diagnosis and with the suggested treatment options.

As you would in any country.
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Old 11.12.2015, 14:16
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Re: Hand Surgery in Switzerland

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OK so I take it that I shouldnt trust Switzerlands health care or doctors any more than USA?
I think that there's slightly less unnecessary, cover-your-ass testing performed in Switzerland than in the US, simply because there isn't the huge litigation risk that there is in the States.

Having said that, likes others say, it's always worth getting a second opinion and being fully informed of your options before any proposed surgery.
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Old 11.12.2015, 14:17
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Re: Hand Surgery in Switzerland

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You should evaluate your doctor/surgeon on your own, decide on your own if you are comfortable with the diagnosis and with the suggested treatment options.

As you would in any country.

Are you even from America? Because I am not exactly sure why you think my question has no place to be asked from the sounds of this. I was simply asking if Swiss doctors are telling me to get surgery as first chance they can as an American doctor would. That is all. Coming from America, this is why it is a simple question of "is Swiss doctors going to throw you under the scalpel just as fast"... because from what I have always understood, and correct me if I am wrong... is that USA doctors keep you sick.. and Swiss and the likes keep you healthy. PS. My brother is a heart surgeon and mother a nuclear technologist for cancer in USA. This is why I ask from people living here about Switzerlands doctors and health care system... because coming from a USA medical family.. that of course was both of their first questions too. Are they looking for the $$$ or for the wellness of me compared to that of USA medical industries mentality and approach.
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Old 11.12.2015, 14:19
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Re: Hand Surgery in Switzerland

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I think that there's slightly less unnecessary, cover-your-ass testing performed in Switzerland than in the US, simply because there isn't the huge litigation risk that there is in the States.

Having said that, likes others say, it's always worth getting a second opinion and being fully informed of your options before any proposed surgery.
OK this is what I was wondering. I felt that may be the case so that helps, thank you!
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Old 11.12.2015, 14:26
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Re: Hand Surgery in Switzerland

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You should evaluate your doctor/surgeon on your own, decide on your own if you are comfortable with the diagnosis and with the suggested treatment options.

As you would in any country.
Nevermind I see you are American in another post about Taxes. So you should know exactly what I am talking about here and know why I have these concerns.
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Old 11.12.2015, 14:38
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Re: Hand Surgery in Switzerland

You talk about "They" sent you to a neurologist, would that be two doctors, plus the neurologist, who all think you need surgery?

I see your situation as either you try acupuncture, take pills, or get the surgery.
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Old 11.12.2015, 14:39
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Re: Hand Surgery in Switzerland

As with anything, the last last option is surgery. I would ensure that you have tried everything else before you go that route. Often (too often) the surgery option is given too early in the process / as the only option.

That said, if you are looking for an excellent hand surgeon, I have one (but she is in Lausanne - so not next door). I also have an excellent Chiropractor who is specialized in sports medicine (FYI tennis elbow is normally related to / contributor to CT issues).

Now on to a suggestion to try.

It seems to be a consensus that you have nerve impingement. There are a number of exercises you can try (once again you will not see a change in 24 hours after doing something one since you built up this damage over years). See how things are going after two weeks to check for improvement (not 100% solution in so short a time period).

Have a look at this group of videos on YouTube. I have chosen one at random to get you into the right area. Watch 10 videos and look for ideas/exercises to try (especially the one where you clasp your hands and turn them over - if not clear, I can do a short video to show you). All of these exercises have the idea to open up the CT and elbow areas and with this let the nerves work again. Keep in mind, when the nerves start to work again/better, they may hurt more as you will now have impulses that start to move again.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvzSiNNlGfQ
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Old 11.12.2015, 14:39
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Re: Hand Surgery in Switzerland

A friend of mine had carpal tunnel and said "paraffin wax bath" helped.

I think in Switzerland if there is a sure treatment they will recommend that first. But they don't always take into account other factors like the long term effects of surgery, recovery time etc. Also it the surgery does not fix it, the less invasive methods may no longer be an option.

I am currently having problems from scar tissue as a result of two surgeries I had. There were less invasive options, but with less than 100% fix. I could have lived with 80%. My doctors only recommended surgery.

Do your own research, try other options, surgery will always be there.
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Old 11.12.2015, 14:46
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Re: Hand Surgery in Switzerland

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... because from what I have always understood, and correct me if I am wrong... is that USA doctors keep you sick.. and Swiss and the likes keep you healthy.

PS. My brother is a heart surgeon and mother a nuclear technologist for cancer in USA. This is why I ask from people living here about Switzerlands doctors and health care system... because coming from a USA medical family.. that of course was both of their first questions too. Are they looking for the $$$ or for the wellness of me compared to that of USA medical industries mentality and approach.
Wow, "coming from a US medical family" and you make a comment "is that US doctors keep you sick".

Maybe before you go any further you might like to ask them about the philosophies on the Hippocratic Oath that surely they would have taken if they really were in the medical profession.
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Old 11.12.2015, 15:07
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Re: Hand Surgery in Switzerland

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Wow, "coming from a US medical family" and you make a comment "is that US doctors keep you sick".

Maybe before you go any further you might like to ask them about the philosophies on the Hippocratic Oath that surely they would have taken if they really were in the medical profession.
Yes. Words from them was to find out from Swiss friends and people here if the doctors in the medical field treat it in the same way. Maybe read a bit further on your own too and talk with some, and they will say the same thing. They in no way have a socialist mentality when it comes to medical treatments and it shows. This mixed with my own personal things ive dealt with in the past with american doctors lead me to ask these questions.


And thanks to everyone else for their ideas on this. I think i will continue trying other options as much as possible before surgery then.
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Old 11.12.2015, 15:08
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Re: Hand Surgery in Switzerland

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As with anything, the last last option is surgery. I would ensure that you have tried everything else before you go that route. Often (too often) the surgery option is given too early in the process / as the only option.

That said, if you are looking for an excellent hand surgeon, I have one (but she is in Lausanne - so not next door). I also have an excellent Chiropractor who is specialized in sports medicine (FYI tennis elbow is normally related to / contributor to CT issues).

Now on to a suggestion to try.

It seems to be a consensus that you have nerve impingement. There are a number of exercises you can try (once again you will not see a change in 24 hours after doing something one since you built up this damage over years). See how things are going after two weeks to check for improvement (not 100% solution in so short a time period).

Have a look at this group of videos on YouTube. I have chosen one at random to get you into the right area. Watch 10 videos and look for ideas/exercises to try (especially the one where you clasp your hands and turn them over - if not clear, I can do a short video to show you). All of these exercises have the idea to open up the CT and elbow areas and with this let the nerves work again. Keep in mind, when the nerves start to work again/better, they may hurt more as you will now have impulses that start to move again.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvzSiNNlGfQ
Thank you!!!!
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Old 11.12.2015, 17:54
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Re: Hand Surgery in Switzerland

Some more thoughts / info (if you don't already have enough).

from one website (2004 discussion). Some comments on CTS. Underlining is mine:

"Stretching is key for preventing carpal tunnel however in order to treat carpal tunnel you need to break down the scar tissue that formed with repetitive microtrauma such as computer usage or poor lifting techniques. Also, numbness in the hand does not mean you have carpal tunnel but it can actually be tightness in the flexor compartment (pronator teres). A simple question at first is to ask yourself if you have pain during the day with activity or at night when sleeping? Which fingers do you have the pain in? Either problem needs to be addressed. Scar tissue forms adhesions that entrap nerves and cause that numbness and tingling along it's pathway."

"it turns out my "carpal tunnel" syndrome actually originated in my neck! I guess there are about 20 different places between the vertebrae in the neck and the wrist where a nerve can be impinged and cause the exact same symptoms. You need to have that entire chain in proper condition if you want to avoid CT. If you want to cure it, you have to figure out where the problem is originating."



Getting back to my point about where the problem originates, have a look at this video (and others in the series). ART (stands for active release technique). A good Chiropractor should be able to work on this with you.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfujhHVBrNQ
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Old 11.12.2015, 18:11
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Re: Hand Surgery in Switzerland

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Some more thoughts / info (if you don't already have enough).

from one website (2004 discussion). Some comments on CTS. Underlining is mine:

"Stretching is key for preventing carpal tunnel however in order to treat carpal tunnel you need to break down the scar tissue that formed with repetitive microtrauma such as computer usage or poor lifting techniques. Also, numbness in the hand does not mean you have carpal tunnel but it can actually be tightness in the flexor compartment (pronator teres). A simple question at first is to ask yourself if you have pain during the day with activity or at night when sleeping? Which fingers do you have the pain in? Either problem needs to be addressed. Scar tissue forms adhesions that entrap nerves and cause that numbness and tingling along it's pathway."

"it turns out my "carpal tunnel" syndrome actually originated in my neck! I guess there are about 20 different places between the vertebrae in the neck and the wrist where a nerve can be impinged and cause the exact same symptoms. You need to have that entire chain in proper condition if you want to avoid CT. If you want to cure it, you have to figure out where the problem is originating."



Getting back to my point about where the problem originates, have a look at this video (and others in the series). ART (stands for active release technique). A good Chiropractor should be able to work on this with you.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfujhHVBrNQ
Amazing thank you!!! And I'll be going to my main doctor again to see how much nerve damage was done according to the tests they did today. I then am going to see if there is any possibility for doing natural help rather than surgery. According to neurologist it's too far gone and I need surgery but I think I'll get a second opinion. Thanks everyone for their input
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Old 11.12.2015, 18:14
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Re: Hand Surgery in Switzerland

I have had quite a few surgeries. However, I have refused two operations that were proposed to me here in Switzerland. One was 30 years ago, so I was clearly right to refuse it. The other was 6 months ago. I shall have this surgery if my situation gets worse, but at the moment I am doing fine without it.

For any complaint I have the same rules.

1. Take any conservative treatment that is offered - physio, medication, steroid infiltration etc.

2. Accept surgery ONLY if the above hasnt worked AND my quality of life is compromised by the complaint. Then, if the surgery goes wrong or doesnt have the desired result, I can tell myself that I had no other choice.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11.12.2015, 18:14
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Re: Hand Surgery in Switzerland

A bit more. This video is a bit long winded but stay with it. I think she explains things quite well (focus on muscle imbalance) what might be part of your issue since I see you do some music.

She is selling her course ($47.00) but might be worth a try.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPwchTEsK-8

Personally, I would explore some of these things over the next month or so (if you can handle the current pain etc.) and see what happens.
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Old 11.12.2015, 18:51
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Re: Hand Surgery in Switzerland

I think you should not trust doctors anywhere. After all it is not their health at stake but yours. I just had a doctor in Zurich giving me some wrong info last month and insisting on it even after I told her that I have different info

I think advises given are quite good.

As for the comparison of US and Swiss doctors... My sister, who is a doctor herself, thinks that usually operating doctors are surgery-pro and non-operating doctors are usually more on the side of conservative treatments... It is kind of aligned with my experience of Swiss doctors as well (have undergone two successful orthopedic surgeries)
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