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Dr. Robert Watkins Sr. : Spine Surgery?

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Does anyone know anything about this doctor (Robert Watkins Sr.)? Would you recommend him? Thanks!
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replied December 5th, 2007
Active User, very eHealthy
Hello Clam,

Welcome to the forum.

Where does he practice medicine? Need that info to do a bit of checking.

In the meantime, call your local hospitals and find out what kind of back surgery he performs and how many he has done. Where did he go to med school. Where did he do his residencey?, etc., etc. AND especially talk with others locally and see if they have had him as a surgeon, results, thoughts, etc.

RichT

P.S. - Could you tell us what your medical situation is? Thanks
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replied December 5th, 2007
Rich,
I have a 2mm herniation at L4-L5 and 1.5mm-2.0mm herniation at L5-S1. I've been in pain for about 7 years now. I've tried PT, DRX9000, 2 Epidural injections and etc and nothing has helped yet. Dr Watkins Sr is a surgeon located in Marina Del Rey in California. He has performed minimally invasive spine surgery on many professional athletes. I would like to know if anyone on this forum has gotten their spine surgery done by him and how it went. Thanks!

Also, my physical therapist told me that since my injury was so long ago, there might nerve damage and if that's the case, even if I get surgery, the pain might not go away. Is that true?
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replied December 5th, 2007
Active User, very eHealthy
Hello Clam,

Thanks for the added into. Sorry to read about the nasty two disc herniations.

Not to jump to conclusions, however, your statement - "He has performed minimally invasive spine surgery on many professional athletes." definitely caught my eye. First the "minimually invasive spine surgery", and then "on many professional athletes".

Just my viewpoint, but when a spine surgeon is known for performing "minimally invasive spine surgey" I take notice. Far better when that is an option rather than the traditional "rods and screws" in my opinion.

Professional sports organizations have huge sums of money invested in their players. They can ill afford some "not so good" doc. When I had a rotator cuff tear I wasn't getting anywhere with my GP doc. So it was time to look for a really good doc specializing in shoulder injuries. No sweat, I just called the Redskins football office and asked if they could recommend a really good shoulder doc. They never hesitated for a second and gave me the name of Dr. T who worked on their players. WOW, he was fantastic. I wanted surgery to get it over with, and he said, "Slow down lets try a corticosteroid injection and PT first. Man was he smooth with that injection, I never even felt it. AND you better believe it worked.

Of course I can't speak for the merits of Dr. Watkins, sr., BUT ------

Continue to do your research.

I hope you get some personal experience from others on this forum regarding Dr. Watkins.

May all go well for you.

RichT
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replied July 28th, 2009
Spinal Surgery by Robert Watkins, Sr.
Dr. Watkins performed 2 surgeries on my back. Unfortunately I was not a candidate for a (at that time a new technique still in clinical trials)disc replacement so I had to have the old type of surgery. That was in 1997. This was unsuccessful, lasting only three years. This was because the bone grafts did not hold, probably a result of having breast Cancer and its chemotherapy. Anyway, I had to again have surgery in 2000 both front and back. Before doing surgery I had every test known then to be sure that surgery was the right thing and the only thing that he could do, to get rid of the excrutiating pain. This time he did both the front and back using cadaver bone. It took. Dr, Watkins is the only surgeon I would have operate on my back, he is kind caring, and thorough. By the way, the second time was the that worked!
Wendy Hollis
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replied August 23rd, 2009
Dr Robt Watkins,is the best spine surgeon I know of. He was the Orthopaedic Dr. for the Dodgers, and Lakers sports team, but most of all he takes great care with his everyday patients I've had several Cervicle spine surgeries done by him and 1 low back surgery, and am a lot better off because of him. Dr Robt Watkins is world renouned. The one thing is is that he's very busy, so if you get an appointment, take a book to read while waiting, and then, sometimes you'll be surprised and he'll take right away. He's worth the wait.

I'm not sure any more what surgeries he does as he now has his son in with him and I believe another Dr. He used to schedule surgeries every Tues and Thurs--he's done thousands. He practiced with the Kerlan-Jobe Group, then went to USC where he was also a professor.

I highly recommed him.

Ann
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replied July 1st, 2010
Re: Dr. Robert Watkins Sr. : Spine Surgery?
clam151543 wrote:
Does anyone know anything about this doctor (Robert Watkins Sr.)? Would you recommend him? Thanks!


Dr. Robert Watkins performed spinal fusion on my son after he had endured two failed spinal surgeries (discectomies)and 8 years of pain while in the care of a doctor at Kerlan & Jobe. Dr. Watkins understood the need for immediate action when we consulted with him and took the utmost care to deliver thorough diagnostic care. My son's surgery was 2 days due to the necessity of anterior and posterior procedures. It was daunting to be sure but he now for the first time in 15 years total is pain free and able to live his life fully and activily. Thank you Dr. Watkins! You are brilliant!
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replied August 20th, 2010
Dr. Watkins changed my life in 1998 by performing one small surgery (to fix someone elses botched surgery) and one 12 1/2 hour (yes, 12 1/2 hours) surgery to basically rebuild the lower part of my spine. I saw him while he was at USC University Hospital and he basically invented the experimental surgery he performed on me. I was almost paralyzed and now I'm 42 and can wear high heels! He monitored my recovery for almost 4 years post-op and I have not seen a back Dr. since! I owe my life to him and I truly mean that....and my two kids feel the same way. Positive thoughts to all of you - it makes a difference Smile
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replied September 27th, 2010
Good experiences with Watkins.
Too many people have said this already, but I will repeat. He is a great doctor and surgeon. I had to have two different surgeries, herniated disc in 2000 and another one (different disc) in 2006. The 2000 surgery result was so-so, probably due to a lot of nerve damage. They started out planning to do minimally invasive surgery (micro discectomy (sp??) and it turned out to be too big and major to do that way, so they had to do it with a "full" opening. Second surgery was done micro, and went much better. Yes, all the top athletes go there. He is closing in on retirement, and only works 2-3 days a week, so his son (the "new" Jr) is taking over the practice, and, from people who trained with him, i have heard he is very good also. While there are mixed comments on his bedside manner, I have always found Sr. to be a very nice pleasant person and caring. The only problem is that his office is very busy (i haven't been to the new one in Marina Del Rey, so this is based on two prior offices) and you may have to wait for a very long time, perhaps 2-3 hours. I always expected that, brought work, books to read, lunch, etc. and just figured i needed to fill the time, part of the price of going to a clinic with an active surgeon. I would highly reocmment.
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replied July 2nd, 2011
Anterior Approach To Spinal Fusion
I have been seeing Dr. Watkins Jr. for about 4 years now. We've been carefully monitoring the slow degeneration of the disc at the good ol' L5/S1 Level...the "Culprits Above All Culprits"! I can attest to you, he's definitely NOT one of those "Knife-Happy" doctors! He notes that sometimes, spines can naturally heal themselves and the pain get better over time. In my case, the space has been narrowing quite considerably over the last 4 years with the Neuroforamen closing down at that level. (Oh! My aching Leg!) And just recently, we have decided to proceed with a procedure he is calling "An Anterior Approach To Spinal Fusion At The L5/S1 Level Without Posterior Entry", (or sumthin' like that!) In other words, he's actually NOT gonna open me up from the back, but enter in a relatively small opening from the center/side of my abdomen topproach & remove the FUBAR'ed disc that way! He says I'm a good candidate for that method, 'cause, as he's says "You're Skinny", so I guess he dun't have to everglade his way through a big 'ol Pizza/Beer Belly! (HA!) But seriously folks, THE WATKINS SPINE GROUP is truly, "THE-BEST-IN-THE-WEST"! Many high-paid, high-profile and even highlier-insured professional sports icons go to them...when they bust their backs open out in the field...WATKINS puts them back together again...and 6 months later, they out there again, tearing up the arenas! So, if he can put these "STARS" back together again...he can surely do up you & I...!!! (And you can bet your aching Butt & Leg on that!!!) I am!
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