My experience with Dr. Brown’s Sports Hernia Surgery Pt.2
10/14/2020 at 4:45 pm #28083PeterCParticipant
So I wrote a post maybe 6-7 weeks ago on here while I was having a lot of emotions and I realize it probably generated quite a few responses seeing it was still on the first page last week. I have no desire to go read
the replies or debate there because I’m still in a really bad place mentally. I know for you guys it’s just a story of one patient but for me this is my entire life and I’m extremely sensitive and
reading about this over and over triggers me. Hope you guys can understand. Some of this is repeat information from the other post that I tried to format better.
I wanted to make this one last post to bring as much clarity and details to my case and to warn people to absolutely avoid at all costs this procedure and what to watch out for in their own cases.
A little background about me just to humanize me – I’m more than a random patient. I’m a professional dancer. My parents are immigrants and we were
extremely poor growing up, sleeping on newspapers. I spent the last 12 years focusing on my dance career that finally landed me in LA. I competed at World Championships. It took me 3 years
to obtain a U.S Artist Visa and right before my procedure with Dr. Brown I had finally booked my first tour in Japan with a Major Artist, I was also one of 5 people considered
for a main role in a major Netflix movie that just came out and I was supposed to perform at the Latin Billboard Music awards but removed myself from the gig because of injury.
Dr. Brown knew all of this.
Before going in to Dr. Brown, I had had only one procedure to remove a part of my illioinguinal nerve, accessed through the external oblique aponeurosis on the right. They left a solid small local
mesh (not perforated) there in the opening of the external oblique aponeurosis that closed/healed over it. The rest of my abdominal muscles (internal oblique, transverse,rectus etc) were not touched whatsoever. They thought
I had pain due to entrapped illioginal nerve and that anything else would heal over time. The first surgery lasted 40 minutes total. Right away I knew that it wasn’t my issue
because the next day my pain was still there and my gait was still a little off on the right side.
I went on to dance for 2 years after that surgery – in that condition hoping I would heal naturally. For the most part I had almost no pain during high-intensity exercise but high chronic pain at rest/after to the point where
it became difficult to have quality of life.
Before Dr. Brown:
– I had chronic pain between the scar and my pubic bone/pubic symphisis.
– It was tender to the touch, both the tissues and the bone.
– I had pain while walking and I had restriction on the right side while walking.
– I had a little bit of testicle pain on and off on the right side but none of the left.
– I had pain while urinating/holding my urine when my bladder was full.
This made me suspect I had a pelvic floor injury but everyone including Dr. Brown dismissed it.
I still had a normal core/6 pack that I could flex/control normally ( I took time-stamped pictures and videos throughout the past two years up to the surgery showing this)
I had great tension and control of my abdominal wall in general except this one small area near the previous scar that I had written about on here but eventually that activated as well.
I had a weird tightness/something wasn’t happy in my tissues in my bottom right abdominal wall all the way to the bone but I still felt like myself. Just injured.
AT NO POINT did I have a full hernia on either side, no bulge either – just some localized swelling.
4 MRIs and 3 ultrasounds also found nothing but a 2 CM left external oblique tear and fatty tissue herniating under my spermatic cord below the previous surgery scar
on the right side during valsalva but resolving completely at rest. I had brought up that It felt as if the attachments of some muscles were injured (between what felt like the rectus and obliques) but
they said it showed nothing on imaging and I just trusted that doctors knew what to look for.
When I went in to Dr. Brown and before surgery –
I specifically asked the following questions:
I asked – I have pain while urinating and similar pelvic symptoms that started at the same time as I got injured – are you be able to pinpoint the cause during the procedure you do?
He said – yes I should be able to find out why once I’m in there. This made me believe that he does see/evaluate the pelvic floor somehow. Every other sports hernia surgeon does (Muschawek, Meyers, etc). He did not.
– I said: I did not think the mesh was the culprit because whatever pain/dysfunction I felt was there before my first operation and was lower down. I did however get worse after the first operation. Whether it be mechanically because of the mesh + injury or just overtime my actual injury got worse. So my entire approach was for him to go in, remove the mesh that served no purpose and correct the external oblique tear on the left, and what they had to miss on the right since I was still in pain.
In his own words – he said the left side would take 6 weeks to recover on our first consultation in July 2019 because its just an external oblique tear and right side could take up to 3 months to recover because I had been operated on previously. This seemed reasonable.
– I said – I have several pain in the space between the previous scar and the pubic bone/pubic symphisis.
His answer: It’s probably referred pain from the mesh. I asked even all the way to the bone? Even the bone hurts when I touch it. He said yes. At this point im thinking – he would know if it was
attachments to the bone, he seems way too calm and confident in his response – who am I to question it repeatedly.
– I asked – will you be cutting and doing extensive work in there if you see that things aren’t injured.
– He answered: No If there isn’t something to fix I won’t cut. I’ll do the minimum.
– I asked – this is my job and I need to be able to function at the highest athletic level. Are your procedures shifting a bunch of tissues around just for the sake of pain or is it going to help me function like I did before because if not I need to consider alternative options. Its not just about the pain. I am expecting to be able to fully activate my abdominal muscles.
He answered: Yes the goal here is to get you back to how it functioned before you got injured.
Now in my head, I’m thinking how is that possible when I’m reading up various techniques and it says they’re sewing up different abdominal layers together that aren’t mean to be sewn together. How does that work mechanically
when you try to flex your abs or do advance motions that engage your core and body in different planes. I know the body can adapt to a lot but this is the equivalent of sewing two of your quad muscles together. You still have them but you would develop several issues with using your quads, balance issues and other issues.
I understand however that I am not a doctor and that maybe my common sense and knowledge of the kinetic chain and the way muscles work might not apply here – after all he’s been doing this for 29 years right? He’s seen plenty of athletes
right? I did plenty of research and I’m usually a control freak but at some point you have to be able to trust your doctor and let go.
I trusted his word when he said that I would be able to function like before.
I trusted, based on posts on here and other forums/facebook groups – that he was well-versed in various techniques and that he would do the strict minimum in terms of tissue trauma knowing I was an athlete.
Needless to say I was suprised when I read the OP report a few weeks later – feeling absolutely off with EXTENSIVE procedures done inside of me.
– My spermatic cord was ”free’d” on both sides.
– My inguinal canal was shifted up on both sides.
– ON BOTH SIDES – he cut into all 3 abdominal layers and they were sewn up together.
– My right inguinal ligament was cut into and again ”free’d” – whatever that means even though his manual evaluation of my groin indicated no inguinal ligament pain/injury.
– He actually extended my previous scar on the UPPER side…I couldn’t
believe it because if there was one thing I was clear on, through talking, through pictures sent and annotations – was that my pain was between my scar and my pubic bone. Why did he do a procedure that required him to extend my previous scar by about 1/3 of its original length on the upper side – away from my pain?
Now see – I wouldn’t mind any of that if its part of a normal procedure and I don’t have problems after.
I know people who were shot in the groin and went back to normal function, surely me, a 29 years old athlete who doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink, eats organic and healthy, does yoga, has minimal body fat percentage, should be able
to recover fairly normally to what sounded like a straight-forward procedure right?
Except I do have problems. About 10 of them that weren’t there before.
I just hit the 7 months mark. I do several hours of movement work/physical therapy a day because its the only thing keeping me from going insane.
Issues I now have:
– I have issues activating my abs all across the board. I cannot fully flex core (6pack) anymore (first time in my life). I completely lost the structural integrity of my abdominal wall. If you saw a picture of me before and after you wouldn’t believe the difference.
– I have issues with breathing – on both sides. When you inhale, your abdominal wall expands, there is a natural tension between its attachments at the ribs and the pubic bone. I won’t go into details
but its insanely stuck, choppy, you can tell it’s messed up. All the way up to my ribs. On both sides. Every single breath is painful and uncomfortable. I didn’t have any of this prior. The discomfort of this alone is worse than the pain I had before the surgery.
– I CONSTANTLY feel random slimy/cold/weird feeling on both sides – what I assume to be the spermatic cord. I’ve never felt that in my life before and its awfully uncomfortable.
– I cannot walk properly at all – its horrible. Mechanically its just awful. I was a dancer for 12 years, a 5-star restaurant dining room runner/waiter for a couple years also. Being able to walk
smoothly and properly has been an absolute priority for me and now its gone.
– Naturally, because of how messed up my gait and walking now is – I have developped hip issues, knee issues as well.
– I have testicle pain in both testicles every day. Not the whole day, but throughout.
The worst part? My original pain and dysfunction is still there and its worse. This didn’t fix anything it just created 10 new issues. I could beautifully activate my left side of my abdominal wall before – no issues at all. I simply had some pain at the external oblique aponeurosis that was getting annoying and decided to get it fixed before it evolves. I walked out with WORSE pain and discomfort/tightness across the entire wall.
After months of research – apparently my original injury on the right side was to the aponeurotic plate and where my rectus meets the obliques attachments. Also an area that Dr. Brown doesn’t evaluate or treat even though every other sports hernia specialist does.
How can you be a sports hernia specialist and not focus on the one area that presents the most abnormalities in this injury? I understand him grabbing the sportshernia.com website is a marketing practice but
where’s the integrity? It’s like being a house builder but you don’t do foundation or roof work. This isn’t acceptable. This is 100% my fault I should’ve known to go to Meyers or Zoland.
See there are two factors to consider in injury and rehabilitation. One is pain. The other is function. You cannot just attempt to treat pain. Pain is the signal. Pain is your body telling you something is wrong.
Usually when there is pain – there is dysfunction. The goal is to re-establish function. Not changing function. This is why I expressed that I did not want him to touch any nerves and he agreed to that. I thought that was the only thing I had to look out for that could severely mess me up for life. Boy was I wrong.
If you remove pain but the function remains or it creates new dysfunction, then you don’t have a successful treatment. If your treatment fixes something but the person now has 3 new side effects, then you do not
have a successful treatment. Even if I just had this slimy, gross, uncomfortable feeling of spermatic cord on both sides and everything else works. This isn’t acceptable. This wasn’t told to me upfront. It’s not a small
thing. It’s extremely uncomfortable.
Dr. Brown claims he does ”reconstruction” of abdominal wall tears but what he really does it REMODELLING of your abdominal wall. He changes the way you are configured. This severely impairs your kinetic chain and the way
your muscles interact. All the way from the pubic symphysis to the ribs. I know Surgeons are notorious for not acknowledging how your whole body is connected, like the way your arch/big toe in your foot impacts your glute activation
and strength on that side and so on, but this is another level. We are not cars and these are not car parts. The body is connected and dysfunction in one area affects the rest of the body sometimes immediately, sometimes over time through compensation. If you don’t understand this you have no
business in being a doctor with athletes.
Even if my original complaint/pain was gone. There is no way in HELL this procedure and its outcomes are acceptable. MAYBE if you’re 60, a very sedentary person that had a medieval mesh that was perforating your organs inside of you or you have a bulging hernia the size of a tennis ball,
then this outcome is somewhat acceptable for you. But no way is this acceptable for a young person that is by all accounts healthy, active, and has their whole lives ahead of them.
I’m used to pain, feeling sore, uncomfortable. I spent 12 years in 8-10 hours a day rehearsals,
13 hours a day dance conventions on weekends. The way I feel now after his procedure – I feel impaired. I feel disabled. I would give my left foot to reverse and go back to how I was before Dr. Brown botched me.
He didn’t warn me that I would feel my spermatic cord at all times. That I would have this dense feeling in my groin on both sides. That it would affect my ability to activate my abs, to breathe, to walk normally. That I would have permanent chronic pain and discomfort in both testicles. I would have said NO to any of those.I feel 1000% MORE uncomfortable and dysfunctional than when I had the stupid mesh in my right oblique.
I do not see myself living much longer like this. Quite frankly the only reason I haven’t off’ed myself yet is because I know how much more it will hurt my parents that have sacrificed everything for me to get to where I was.
I’ve read of some other people who have had similar experiences on other forums where they had to go to Meyers and he had to undo what Dr. Brown did – but I always thought ”they must’ve been an exception, theres no way this man
who claims more years of practice than my entire life, who proudly runs sportshernia.com, who gives interviews to news channels about sports hernias for athletes doesn’t know what he’s doing”. Suddenly I’m that ”exception”.
So maybe eventually I will go to Dr. Meyers once Covid allows me to travel, and maybe I’ll have someone go slice me up again while furthering my financial debt. But why? Why was all of this necessary? So much more trauma is going to be done to my tissues for absolutely no reason.
But I haven’t slept more than 3-4 hours a night the past few months because all I can think of is:
How did I end up here – this messed up? Just a year ago when I had a week where things clicked back into function and pain almost dissapeared, I could visualize a future where I’m healed, where I continue to chase
my dreams and where I have a stable life and relationship. How did I end up 10k $ poorer, on the verge of suicide, impaired?
Seriously – do yourselves a favor – if you have a Sports Hernia. Go to Dr. Meyers and Dr. Zoland. Avoid Dr. Brown. I would’ve gladly given him the fee it cost me to get it done just for him to be up front and let me know I would be impaired for the rest of my life with 10 chronic side effects. Avoid at all costs.
Good luck everyone. I won’t be commenting back and forth here I just want people who come here for information to be able to read this fully – relate to it in whichever way they can – and possibly save them from this nightmare. A lot of these doctors on this specific forum are fishing for clients for their business. They will not lose sleep after they leave you with 15 side effects and dysfunctions. Do not let them fool you.
Ask questions. Be annoying. They should be able to explain from A to Z the entire procedure, why they’re doing each step, and what the potential side effects of each steps are. If they refuse, seem annoyed, or give you short or vague answers – find someone else. This is your health, your life. Lifelong side effects. That’s what matters. Not their pockets and definitely not their egos.
10/15/2020 at 7:14 pm #28084JamesDoncasterParticipant
@peterc First, I want to say that I am very very sorry to hear about your current situation. I do think it is important for patients to hear story’s like yours so that they can make educated decisions about their health.
I want to be clear that none of what I say in any way invalidates your experience. But, I had a very positive experience with Dr. Brown; he fixed an inguinal hernia I had on my left side and I had no problems with his repair at all. Futhermore, I found Dr. Brown to be the most caring surgeon I have ever encountered. He called me and spoke with me at length before I visited him in California. He offered to take me from the surgery center to my hotel after the operation because I was from out of town and had no relative there to help. And he followed up with me every day for at least a week after my operation.
I have spoken with at least two other patients that had experiences similar to mine.
As I previously mentioned @peterc, I am not trying to invalidate your experience at all. I’m just trying to provide other prospective patients with some additional information.
10/20/2020 at 8:26 pm #28112AnonymousInactive
I also had a very bad experience with Dr Brown, he injected my groin where I had prior surgery with mesh with steroid saying it can make the mesh soft, which is not true, and it didn’t help. The injections were deep, invasive; caused significant bruising and bleeding, and without any sort of ultrasound guidance which further exacerbated my nerve injury and likely caused permanent damage. Be careful with any sort of advertised mesh treatment and removal. Talk to patents and get many opinions. I live in regret having sought his supposed mesh pain treatment, had I avoided the injections I would have eventually healed. I also believe he was leading me down to a mesh removal surgery, which I later found out is extremely invasive with poor outcomes especially with neurectomies.
10/21/2020 at 7:46 am #28113ajm222Participant
So, Anonymous, are you still suffering with pain and discomfort at this time? How long ago was your original surgery?
As for removal, while it is definitely a riskier surgery, in experienced hands the outcomes are actually often good. Most folks I’ve reached out to were glad they had theirs removed and are better than they were. In some cases basically cured. There are definitely exceptions for sure. But I think the estimates are 80% are 80% better after removal. And I think the percentages go up depending upon your surgeon’s experience as well as the details of your original surgery and how it’s removed (i.e. robotic removal of a robotically placed mesh would have a better chance of improvement compared to a open removal of an openly placed mesh for example – because it’s the open mesh where some amount of nerve cutting is usually required).
10/21/2020 at 11:49 am #28117JamesDoncasterParticipant
One thing I would like to point out is that, in the case of PeterC and Anonymous, the problems started with a mesh operation. I too had a mesh operation (prior to seeing Dr Brown). The mesh caused me quite a bit of pain and suffering and I eventually had it removed. So, FWIW, mesh seems to be the common element of our bad experiences.
I would like to add that I am a bit surprised to hear that Anonymous believed Dr Brown was pushing him to have mesh removed. My experience with Dr Brown was quite different. He actually suggested that I wait at least a year prior to having my mesh removed. I never once felt as though he was pushing me to get any sort of operation. Based on my interactions with him, I do believe that Dr Brown, like most surgeons, has his patients best interests in mind. But, of course, every surgery has risks. And, even a flawless operation can have bad results (as I know from my experience with mesh).
10/26/2020 at 10:32 pm #28144dogParticipant
Dr Brown ..Did excellent work for me ! so sorry Peter
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