I had another appointment with Dr. Donahue yesterday and I'm doing great. I find a lot of my visits are spent asking about some of the things I read on this board, and Dr. Donahue is great at addressing the loads of misinformation being passed around.
Scar tissue and adhesions are not preventable. Our bodies are programmed to heal themselves and they do so by producing scar tissue. Some people are predisposed to making more scar tissue than others (those that produce keloids, for example), but there's no way to stop it. He said he has never had to reoperate on someone who developed so much scar tissue that it hurt the positive effects of surgery. Doing too much after surgery is worrisome because you could overstretch nerves or otherwise damage them, but scar tissue does NOT cause problems. I will continue to do gentle range of motion stretches as I heal over the course of the next year or so.
The idea that you can simply pick a surgeon and ask him/her to operate on you is also sort of horrifying to me. Anyone who gives you a sales pitch, or is ready to operate on you regardless of whether or not they think surgery will actually help, is someone you should run away from. Dr. Donahue will not operate unless he is quite sure that surgery will benefit a patient. There are no guarantees, of course, but his vast experience has given him a pretty good idea of who will and will not be a good candidate for surgery. Also, there are lots of things that can't be seen on various imaging techniques. Apparently it takes getting into that area surgically to actually see certain problems.
A doctor's credentials actually DO matter. You want a surgeon who has a high success rate and who does a lot of these surgeries.
Another thing that I find worrisome is that for the over 30 years I suffered from TOS, a lot of my pain was the result of nerve impingement from my c-spine over the damaged rib. My scapula hurting was the result of nerve pain elsewhere, as were many other symptoms. I had a doctor at MIT give me shots in my scapula and neck because that's where the pain was. It was NOT where the pain was coming from and was a horrible idea.
Ok, off my ergonomic soap box for now!
Sending good thoughts for less or no pain to all of you.