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anterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery. L5/S1 prolapse.

Started by danni on 04/20/2010 8:55pm

hello all. Im 19 and am currently working in the army. I have had a prolapsed disc L5/S1 for just over 2 years now, which is abbutting nerves. I also have mild scoliosis. I have tried physiotherapy, I have tried rest, I have tried strong pain killers (valium, panadiene fort, trammadol). I dont do anything I love anymore, I cant play sports or do any real exercise. I sometimes have trouble walking. I have good days and bad days, but the pain is always there. Nothing I do seems to help. I have discussed anterior fusion with my specialist, I feel Im out of options. The thought of surgery scares me, I want to get it done but something is stopping me from saying yes. Am I too young for surgery, realistically that means I should recover alot better doesnt it?? If I get it done so young, the fusion has to hold for alot longer, (another 60 yrs), will it hold for that long if im careful?? Im having trouble coping, its constantly going through my head, i need to make a decision. Please help.

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Danni,
Please don't wait any longer to have surgery. The longer you wait, the worse your pain will get. I have a degenerated disk (L4-L5), and one that was severely damaged by a MRSA infection (L5-S1). I've been putting up with the progressing pain of it for five years now...I cannot exercise, can barely walk, and I've gained 80 pounds as a result. Fortunately, I have finally found a neurosurgeon who is willing to do a "segmental pedicle screw fixation" and "fusion" surgery. Nasty stuff, and a long recovery to boot...but it's better than spending the rest of my life in pain. I'll be 50 in July...with any luck, I have a good twenty or thirty years ahead of me. You have far more time; don't waste any more of it in pain. I hope that this helps. Kate.

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I would try everything under the sun first before u have surgery!!!! Once ur back has been altered, it will NEVER be the same again!!! Id recommend a chiropractor and physical therapy, decompression therapy, knowledge therapy, acupuncture, etc. Take care:)

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thanks guys. Im getting a 7 week course of acupunture done, then im doing a 2 week, 6 hrs a day pain management clinic. If its not better after that I think I will get the surgery done. Decompression?? iv researched alot and havent seen anything like that, is it available in australia??

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Hi danni, yes it should be. Its done thru a chiropractor's office. I was participated in decompression therapy myself

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Glad we could help Danni...good luck!

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Danni - I agree with most others that have replied. Try everything before you get the fusion. Like you, I am in need of a double lumbar fusion from L4 -S1. I am only 33, and given all the research I have done, surgery (fusion) is absolutely the last option you want to have. You can never go back after. Problem with a Doctor that will promise results based on fusion is that fusion will fix the mechanical problems with your back. That I agree with. However, there is NO guarantee that the fusion will resolve you pain issues. It will also begin to put pressure on the discs above & below the fused areas, ultimately requiring additional surgery. Decompression is not only a chiropractic option (which I got not relief from), but is a type of minimally invasive surgery as well. It is a day procedure. No hospital stay required, and is covered & recommended by most insurance companies. The best analogy I can provide is, like when you break a bone, and a Dr. has to re-break the bone to ensure that it sets correctly for the healing process. Same thing, but it is done to the discs that are injured. This allows for future possible treatments if your pain is not resolved. It is a 50/50 shot, but basically so it the fusion (which again is permanent). There are also epidurals, nerve root blocks, etc. Plenty of "conservative" treatments available that I would try before jumping to fusion. I have done most to no avail unfortunately, so I am now planning to have a spinal cord stimulator implanted in the next 2 weeks. Agree, do not wait too long with whatever you decide, but do be sure you have exhausted all options before you commit to a fusion. Best of luck.

BW

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