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As we are preparing everything for departure (USA -> France), at the end of August, one of the challenges I am personally facing is on the decision of appropriateness of a sciatica surgery prior to leaving the US, or [somehow shortly] upon arrival in France.

The benefit of doing it soon, in the USA, is the access to whatever is called "health insurance" here (thus a few $$ thousands extra from my own HSA), and a relatively known procedure, with mildly optimistic rate of success. The biggest disadvantage is the need for a recovery period of time, in association with the upcoming large effort involved in such a move.

On the other hand, if France has a similar medical expertise level as Germany (about which I recently learned as having some new and very successful methods of sciatica surgery), and maybe a lower cost of the entire process (combined with the basic insurance I will have to acquire, as PUMA will be out of scope for at least six months, I'd think), and the advantage of undergoing such upon arrival in what's supposed to be our final destination, it feels like a better option.

Anyone able to offer some insights into this issue?
 

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papaia -- My brother had this surgery, a few years ago, in the U.S., with positive results (although he relayed to me that his surgeon advised that the offending nerves could grow back or impulses seek an alternate pathway.) So far he's OK.

I've (unfortunately) had multiple surgeries in my time (not sciatica,) and one thing I've learned is that the most important recipe for success is the experience and skills of the surgeon. In the U.S., most insurance policies allow for a second opinion (which I've always taken advantage.) The internet is also your friend, in researching Doctors. I've not hesitated to travel, outside my city (even across state lines,) to garner a superior (in my mind) result. I also have friends that have travelled outside the U.S. for treatments/surgeries (medical tourism,) and I have one friend travel from Switzerland to the U.S. for treatments that at the time were not available in Europe. My recommendation would be to do your research on potential Surgeons (in the U.S., France or somewhere else,) that would best meet your needs. If you are only going for "cheap," then you might get the result you paid for!

A quick "Google" search came up with a non-surgical alternative: "NeuroMD Corrective Therapy Device," for under $200.00, which might also meet your needs (at least temporarily.) Good luck. Cheers, 255
 

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I don't know how "urgent" surgery is for sciatica, but one other option might be to put it off until you get here and can get registered for PUMA (i.e. national cover) and line up a mutuelle. There is no penalty for "pre-existing conditions" here (at least not in the state insurance cover) - and you never know, there might be other forms of treatment available that would suit you better. It will take you a couple of months to work your way through the initial steps, tests and diagnostics in any event, but you could get the preliminaries done while you are on your initial private insurance and so be ready when you get accepted by CPAM and set up your mutuelle coverage.

Like I said, I don't know the urgency of such surgery - but the level of care here in France is excellent, if perhaps not quite as "flashy" as in the US. In my time here, I've come through an appendectomy and most recently, surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome. My husband had open heart surgery several years ago. And none of these surgeries wound up costing us more than 100€ or so each out of our own pockets. (We have always had good mutuelle cover.) And in each case, things were "different" from how they would have been done in the US - at least according to my research done online.

There is also always the option of using the American Hospital in Paris (which isn't in Paris, but in neighboring Neuilly. It's expensive and you would have to check to see how much your mutuelle would pay of the "excess" costs. But it's where all the rock stars and Arab sheikhs go for surgeries in France - and just about all the staff speaks English.

But if things are more urgent, I'd consider having the surgery in the US and not leaping "feet first" into the French medical system - especially if you need to have the surgery before you can get registered for the CPAM coverage here. The medical system is different and will take a little getting used to and learning how to maneuver your way around in.
 

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by sciatica, you mean a herniated disc?
if yes, I went through this here in France... here are the main differences:
In the US: once you have pain, the surgery is the primary option, simple, quick and in 2 weeks you are authorized to return to your normal life (my brother is a medical doc in the US and this was his feedback when I was explaining the steps being taken with me) no idea about the cost and the insurance...
in France: surgery is the last ... last ... resort.. you would need to follow with a rhumatologist and pass through as much therapy as you can (physical therapy, if doesnt work then local injection to reduce inflammation, if doesn't work there would be others that I didn't get to know...) the only thing that would rush for the surgery is if you have undesirable side effects: loss of movement or weakness in the leg, big loss of sensation in the leg or foot or if you are unable to control your urination... I was operated because of the second reason (sensation loss) and that MRI showed that disc material pushing the nerve was big...
the surgery itself is more or less the same as the US (2-4cm of incision and the operation done using micro tools to reduce the damage)... however saying that, my recovery period was about 3 months... yes, everything takes its time here... so 3 months off work completely, then 3 more months on 50% of the time to have time for healthy recovery and to continue the physical therapy (my surgery was clean and no side effects that needed that time, just to heal well) ...
fees were covered by the state 'securite social' and the mutuelle insurance, but if I recall well it was something in the area around 4.5k-5k euros for the surgery, staying 3 days in the hospital .. doesn't include MRI or later on physical therapy sessions.

So it is up to you to decide how your pain level is and decide !
good luck
 

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by sciatica, you mean a herniated disc?
if yes, I went through this here in France... here are the main differences:
In the US: once you have pain, the surgery is the primary option, simple, quick and in 2 weeks you are authorized to return to your normal life (my brother is a medical doc in the US and this was his feedback when I was explaining the steps being taken with me) no idea about the cost and the insurance...
in France: surgery is the last ... last ... resort.. you would need to follow with a rhumatologist and pass through as much therapy as you can (physical therapy, if doesnt work then local injection to reduce inflammation, if doesn't work there would be others that I didn't get to know...) the only thing that would rush for the surgery is if you have undesirable side effects: loss of movement or weakness in the leg, big loss of sensation in the leg or foot or if you are unable to control your urination... I was operated because of the second reason (sensation loss) and that MRI showed that disc material pushing the nerve was big...
the surgery itself is more or less the same as the US (2-4cm of incision and the operation done using micro tools to reduce the damage)... however saying that, my recovery period was about 3 months... yes, everything takes its time here... so 3 months off work completely, then 3 more months on 50% of the time to have time for healthy recovery and to continue the physical therapy (my surgery was clean and no side effects that needed that time, just to heal well) ...
fees were covered by the state 'securite social' and the mutuelle insurance, but if I recall well it was something in the area around 4.5k-5k euros for the surgery, staying 3 days in the hospital .. doesn't include MRI or later on physical therapy sessions.

So it is up to you to decide how your pain level is and decide !
good luck
This is exactly the experience of a friend of mine, who had her operation more than 6 months ago, but she has not yet recovered (far from it) and may have to have another operation, but again that will be the last resort.
 
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