Home > Physicians, Piriformis Syndrome, Surgery > Piriformis Syndrome Surgical Release Challenges

Piriformis Syndrome Surgical Release Challenges

I’ve been meaning to write this post for many months, and I’m sorry it took me so long to do so. I want to share some general knowledge I learned from Dr. John Heinrich’s PA Adam. In one of my conversations with Adam I asked him why this surgery was so complicated. Adam replied that one of the reasons was because there wasn’t a surgical cutting tool specifically designed to clear/free the sciatic nerve of fascial adhesions or scar tissue. An ideal cutting tool would be specifically designed to get around the sciatic nerve in a 360 degree fashion. I’m proof that an idealistic cutting tool is not necessary to be cured surgically from Piriformis Syndrome. But, the surgeon’s skills and experience are that much more critical. Please do your homework before making a decision to allow a surgeon to perform this surgery on you. You may be asking yourself how things could possibly get any worse if you don’t have surgery. You are desperate, and I totally get that. My heart goes out to you; you are the reason I created and maintain this blog. But, please know that there are people (people I have communicated with personally) that have not been cured or are worse off as a result of Endoscopic Piriformis Release and Sciatic Nerve Neurolysis. Please note that none of these unfortunate people I have spoken with were treated by Dr. John Heinrich. There is risk and you have to weigh the reward. I felt the risk was acceptable after doing years of research and exhausting all other options. Dr. John Heinrich was the surgeon for the job, and I thank God nearly everyday for his abilities.

Best Regards,


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  1. January 19, 2015 at 8:09 am

    I commented on the ” An Unimaginable Weekend” post asking for help. Are you going to respond and if so where? Anxious to hear from you and other with this awful problem.

    • January 19, 2015 at 1:25 pm

      I will respond as soon as Im able.

      • surveyor1953
        January 19, 2015 at 2:38 pm


        God Bless


  2. Ed Browne
    January 17, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    Almost 2 years of intense buttock pain, failed back surgery, every injection known to man and an electric trial stimulator which was worthless and I made them remove. I went back to my surgeon and told him I was not going away. He has now referred me to an orthopeditic guy who does the release surgery. I’m am tired of being frantic in pain and probably would let a Vet do the surgery. I am a Professional Land Surveyor and I have operated a small firm for 31 years. I can only last about 3-4 hours at work and my quality of life is not good. I feel I know more about piriformis syndrome than most my doctors I talk too. How do I know who to trust. I feel my back surgery was because of a missed diagnosis and strongly feel this procedure is my answer. I have done countless hours of PT and exercise but my hamstring seems locked up and I’m in as much or more pain following exercise. I am at wits end. I’ve tried exercising through it, resting, you name it. It still burns non stop. I’m 61 and want to retire and enjoy the rest of my life without lying on my side. Any surgeons in Ohio you can recommend. Your dr. Heinrich would have to be a cash deal and pretty far away. Suggestions?
    Ed Browne

  3. May 25, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Hi my name is Fran. i have parkinsons disease and believe i have ps. I had a long spell of dyskensia(uncontrolled upper torso control. My back has hurt me 4 years, Recently my pain has bevome unbearable. in 2010, i was in er due to my sciatica nerve. and it took 6 wks. of bed rest. it started 2 bother me again in 2013. i starting going to pain mgmt. the dr. was an anestihioligist.. He let me hurt from oct. 2013 till pres. due to the fact he couldn’t find a drug to help me. After morphine, butrans patch and oxycotin,which none helped my pain, i went back to Percocet, at least i had a little short time of relief.. I also havr a dbs inplanted in by brain. what kind of surgeon wood i need.Oh and my pain mgmt. dr. had ordered pt.@home 4 6 weeks. She did touch touch therapy on my pirformis and myofascia area and i had some relief 4 about 2hrs. after our session. she said that’s what was going on w/me. I’d like ur opinion, thanx fran

  4. Scott Mitchell
    April 6, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Matt are you still active on this blog?

    • April 6, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      Yes I am still active. I dont check it every day though.

      Best Regards,


  5. crystal
    March 26, 2014 at 3:03 am

    Scott: I had what I would consider a successful surgery 15 months ago w Dr. Barbarra in Indianapolis. I’m a 48 year old singe mom of 2 teens. Dr. Barbarro was a great surgeon and did the open incision. I have great relief from the constant sciatica and buttock pain. However I had moderate nerve damage already and positive EMG findings so getting the nerve to “calm down” and heal has been a long process. I still get some sciatica but it is 70 percent better. I was nearly bedridden too before the surgery and lost a lot of money and was unable to work as an attorney for over a year. If you want to email me you can. CsbauerJd@hotmail.com. I did have some post op complications that have not been pleasant which stem from the incision’s location which is up and down from under my leg to the top of the hip and the long length of the incision. Has been very hard to heal and I’ve had numerous infections with a very nasty scar and lots of scar tissue which is what I think continues to cause some of my symptoms. I still take some pain meds but I am back to work and able to function. Good luck.

  6. Scott Mitchell
    March 19, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    MATT,i am a 56 year old male who has been thru hell since a paragliding accident in 2006.If you saw all the surgeries i’ve had,the drugs i am on you might have a stroke just looking at it.I have calked your DOCTORS office and CINDY was so nice,and said someone will call me in a day or so.THANK YOU for your blog .I AM 90% sure that i have the Piriformis Muscle Syndrome. My question to you is would you call me if i leave my number? It seems like you want to help people and in fact you have already helped me .My name is Scott 561 718 2635.,please if you would call me collect or whatever as i would like to “pick” your brain a little bit.If you don’t want to ,i understand completely.Again your blog has been so helpful and you helped me NOT to rush into a surgery with the wrong Doc. I am not a whack,just someone who has not been able to sit for 5years and living basically in bed. Sincerely,Scott Mitchell

    • March 20, 2014 at 8:01 pm

      Scott, thanks for your kind words. I’m sorry to hear you’re basically bedridden. I know the feeling all too well. I invite you to email me directly at piriformissyndromehelp@gmail.com, and then we’ll see if I can answer your questions.

      Best of luck to you,


      • Scott Mitchell
        March 21, 2014 at 9:16 pm

        HEY MATT,how you doing ?sounding good thats for sure.Found a neurologist who’s gonna do PROVOCATIVE EKG done monday….talked withCindy again(i called back),she promised that note was on DR H s desk…i figured i need to know anyway…..i think the only other way to pinpoint is that nervemri ,which i can’t do due to spinal cord stim. is implanted in my back. Now question for you ..is how did this start for you?..Myself i had paragliding accident in 2006…..3fractures of pelvis Lside,fractured sacrum,broken shoulder,compound fracture of elbow,rib,and broken left foot…good recovery but could not due toe raises….hmm wonder why…6 months later can’t sit…oh last part of accident was 18 foot fall landing on left butt side,,set 07 L5 LAMINECTOMY,dura tear,6 weeks later can’t stand…jan -april 08 6 different laser at L4,L5 S1 bilateral…09 now CLEVELAND CLINIC L5 S1 fusion….AND YOU KNOW WHAT?i think it was PS all along….i haven’t been able to sit for 6 long years..ok thats my story and believe it or not ,thats truly shortened…glad i found your site…talk again after test

      • Scott Mitchell
        March 24, 2014 at 1:30 pm

        MATT could you please send me name and phone number of DR who did your provocative test….might just go straight to them.Scottie

      • Scott Mitchell
        March 29, 2014 at 1:44 pm

        HEY MATT, it’s a weekend again and i hope your golfing!.I have been in touch with DR HARDIN…what a nice guy! He responded to my email in less then 18 hours.Sure wish i had responses that quick from my own docs….long story short i am flying up on 16th of april and will have proper emg test done by him…this was all set up late afternoon fri,so don’t have appointment yet with DR. HEINRICH…but hoping when i talk to their office i’ll be able to see him too. IF i can’t get in with him then i’ll have to come back.But to me it is more important to find out if i even have PS..DR. HARDIN seems to think there is a good chance i do just based on my history and pain relief from lidocaine injection.SO GLAD ,because i was getting ready to have BOTOX injected. DR HARDIN said this COULD make condition worse,depending on where BOTOX settled in piriformis muscle in relation to sciatica nerve.When i’m up there i’d like to at least give you a call and say hello,think about it please. Had to fly first class, but was lucky to find tickets and 3 nights at Intercontinental hotel for less then a grand. I know you know the felling,can’t fly coach.BUT first class ,alone with a lot of walking during flight and meds i’ll get there. MATT can’t thank you enough. I TRIED the provocative test with a neurologist down here but he did NOT know what he was doing…was asking me what position i wanted and was looking up test on computer at same time…needless to say was a big waste of tome and taxpayer dollars (Medicare). My psychologist suggested 2 other guys who he told me would be honest,which they were.NEITHER one of them did it ,one suggested CLEVELAND CLINIC. That’s where i had my L5-S1 fusion done. AFTER all that i decided DR HARDIN would be best route for me.Ok MATT,hope you have a great weekend and i will keep you posted

      • Scott Mitchell
        April 6, 2014 at 12:29 pm

        Hey Matt..latest update.I am meeting DR HARDIN 4/10…..DR HEINRICH had no openings till may.His office also told me he may not do any more PMS surgeries this year,something about a shortage of tubing used during operation??? Don’t quite know what that’s all about ,but i hope DR HARDIN will be able to a little more light on that…i could not find anybody in S FL. who had any know how about provocative EMG test,even the Cleveland Clinic. So i bit the bullet and bought first class ticket to Milwaukee.Not looking forward to travel since i can’t sit.But i will take extra meds and get thru it…..couple questions…have you heard about this shortage of equipment or whatever and have you heard of another QUALIFIED surgeon,in TEXAS i think,who does this surgery? OK THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR TIME,Scott Mitchell

      • April 6, 2014 at 5:40 pm


        I havent heard about any tubing shortage. You’re the first to mention it. As for Texas surgeon, I think this may be Hal Martin. Dr. Heinrich was mentored by Dr. Martin with respect to the procedure I had.

      • Scott Mitchell
        April 6, 2014 at 9:23 pm

        OK Thanks Matt,getting tested wen by Dr. Hardin…keep you posted,Really thanks for paving a path which made things easier for me ! sincerely ,Scottie

    • Scott A Morse
      December 3, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      Hi Scott Mitchell I was going through some of these posts and I saw you asked Matt to call you. I would like to ask if you would be willing to call me or if I could call you to pick your brain I have free long distance with my phone or its free for me to call from my cell to anyones cell so either way I can be reached at 612-414-6280 Best Regards Scott Morse and your right there are a lot of scotts going on this blog

  7. laurel
    February 12, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Hi Matt,

    For some reason I can’t find the comments/posts I made in the past. Annette gave me some helpful info, but can’t access it. Any suggestions? The last post I see is from Nov 2013. Thank you so much!

    • March 20, 2014 at 8:06 pm


      I actually have no idea what is causing that issue for you. I recommend that you open a page that is causing you trouble and hold down the shift key and select F5. Hope this helps.

  8. gordon
    November 29, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Hi Matt,
    You mentioned in one of your posts that you were going to develop a list of doctors performing the arthroscopic piriformis release surgery. I live in south Florida and I find impossible to find any in my state. I only know of two your surgeon and dr. Hal Martin in Dallas. Do you know of any more, preferably closer to my home?
    Thanks Gordon

    • November 29, 2013 at 9:02 pm


      I did mention that I wanted to feature a list of surgeons that perform the procedure. I started with a small list of three that I knew of. Shortly after I posted the list of surgeons I was contacted by some patients of one of the physicians I had posted. These patients were extremely upset and disturbed that I was “advertising” a surgeon that had “ruined their life” because they had not been cured (or made worse) by the surgery they had. They further insisted that I was in the wrong to “advertise” physicians that I didn’t have personal experience with.

      I struggled with whether to take down the post of physicians or just leave it. I have the right to freedom of speech, and no one has the right to stifle it. However, I also know that I couldn’t bear the thought of leading someone to a surgeon that could do more harm than good. In the end, I felt that taking the post down (for now) was the right choice. I did leave the name and address of the surgeon that cured me.

      I encourage others to post the name of surgeons that have helped them on my Surgeon Directory page. Furthermore, I will not approve a post that speaks ill of a surgeon for fear of being sued (trust me this has happened to bloggers and patients alike). I know that my blog can offer help to many, many others, and I don’t want to risk the good it can do by distracting my readers from the core of my message by letting the blog become a surgeon rating site. I hope you can understand why I’ve made the choices I have. I feel that they’re all for the greater good.

      • Ed Browne
        January 17, 2015 at 9:18 pm

        How do I find the surgeon referral page? Know or recommend any in Ohio?

      • Ed Browne
        January 17, 2015 at 9:23 pm

        Where’s the surgeon directory page?bany in Ohio?

    • November 29, 2013 at 9:03 pm


      I forgot to tell you that I don’t know of any physicians near your home in Florida. Sorry.

  9. Lina
    November 26, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    can i have estimate for the cost to be free!!!

    • November 28, 2013 at 8:24 am

      Lina, the surgery cost around $20,000, but I only paid $5,000 after insurance coverage benefits. I have United Healthcare.

      • Lyne Rivard
        November 28, 2013 at 2:12 pm

        Thanks so much for your answer, I’m sure you understand how much it’s precious to have your life back. After 4 years, I’ve lost everything of me… I’m not this person, I want to be back…

        I found a place in Belgium… I try to have information about the surgeon. He seems to be a lot, of that kind of surgery and it’s cheap… 2000 euro, around 3000$.

        Please, If you could just look at the website and tell me your opinion, I’d appreciate. http://www.piriformissyndrome.eu/ in the section treatment options, you could see the video..

        He use a provocative EMG and say the standard EMG are always negative. What kind of questions can I ask? I know he did the procedure more than 100 time and have 2 cases with trouble. Rate 95-98% success.

        Thanks a lot for your answer, and if you don’t have time to answer, I understand too… thanks

      • November 28, 2013 at 10:19 pm

        I like the content of the site. However I don’t think it’s practical to get treated by an international physician when there are alternatives located here in the U.S.. Youre going to need follow-up visits at two weeks, 6 weeks and possibly more. What if you have complications? If you have Piriformis Syndrome you’re not going to fair well sitting on a plane for extended periods.

      • Lyne Rivard
        November 29, 2013 at 11:25 am

        Thanks your points are important. I’m from Canada, and no one do this procedure here. I have to go in USA , Belgium, maybe Thailand? I have to find a doctor here for the following.

        The Belgium’s guy told me I could take the plane 4 days after, with comfort ? I doubt. , But it could be done. You’re right, I’ve to consider complications!!!

        I have the choice to do nothing and live with, or take a chance??? And I know I cannot live with! I try to consider pros and cons and think about all possibilities.

        Thanks for your comments, I appreciate.

  10. Sara
    August 15, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    I have piriformis syndrome and had the surgery but I did not and still do not feel better. The pain directly in my butt is better but since I suffered over a year before anything was done to release my muscle I now have problems with my SI joint! It’s been over 2 years since my injury and still having to deal with this is excruciating! But because I live in such a small town there are not many options or doctors that have dealt with this so it’s all trial and error for us! :(

    • Scott A Morse
      December 3, 2014 at 4:54 pm

      Hi Sara, i read your post and my heart goes out to you. Have any doctor you have talked to discuss pedundal nerve there are quite a few symptoms the same but instead of pain down your leg it sweeps toward the sphincter and penis/vaginal area, This might be something to check out I just did a google search and went from there. I hope you well.
      Scott Morse

  11. Val
    July 23, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    You give me such hope that I am going to have a full recovery. Saw Dr Heinrich yesterday for my 7 week. I am slowly improving but definetly have those good and bad days. Told him I was stretching and walking. Was hoping he would say pt but said maybe we would hold off a bit so we don’t push it. I read your posts and feel like that is a big part of recovery. He did how ever write me a referral for pt for when I feel like I want to get started and to see him in another 6 weeks.
    So I made a call to Beth today and we talked about starting in the next couple weeks. It is a bit of a drive but like you said, she really seemed to know a lot on the subject. I am super excited to get started.
    So very encouraged by your posts!!!! Thank you

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