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Been fused on the front side and now dr. wants to do the back side

Started by mike68 on 12/04/2010 6:47pm

I had L3 L4 L5 fused from the front side in 11/09. I am in more pain after the surgery than before. I have lost my job in lawenforcement and now on ssd. I was very active but not anymore due to pain. Im on pain meds constantly. My lower back and right leg hurts all the time, sometimes both legs. I have tried injections and therapy, nothing works. I cant stay in bed at night for more than 1 or 2 hours. I end up in a recliner the rest of the night sometimes I sleep sometimes all I can do is watch tv all night because there is no way to get comfortable. My wife has been by my side through it all, I know Im blessed there.
Now my Dr. wants to fuse me from the back side because the front fusion has not fused. He says that it will stablize my spine so it is not pinching those nerves. Has anyone out there had both sides fused?
Im scared to have surgery again. The first one made me worse so what will the second do. The Dr. told me going through the back side will be worse than when he went through the front. Thats not what I want to hear. I want relief but like I said Im scared of the out come.
I am also becoming very depressed and I am on medication for that. I dont know if its working or not. Im sure you all know what I mean. Sometimes I dont want to continue to live this way but I have 2 great kids in college and a wonderfull wife so thats what I live for.

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4 Responses


I would suggest getting at least 2 other opinions from spine surgeons who have completed spine fellowship programs (just ask or look up their credentials). If they all say you need surgery, pick the one who suggests the procedure that sounds like the best idea. Go back to the other surgeons and tell them what the other surgeons suggested and why what they are suggesting is better. Maybe they will all suggest the same thing (that would be rare though). Also, you might call around to physical therapists in your area who treat people after spine surgery and ask them who are the better surgeons in your area (I am a physical therapist and I certainly know which surgeons in Atlanta do respectable work). The benefit of going in from the back is that the surgeon can see the nerves so there is a benefit. The front approach is better if it works and there are indications for doing it one way or another. I see some people that have surgery from the back on one day and then they follow up with the front the second day (or vice versa--my point is that some people are operated on from the front and the back at the same time). I also see plenty of people with excellent results from surgery. Of course, they aren't spending their time writing posts on spineuniverse--they are out living relatively pain free. It appears that the people who post here are the unsuccessful ones!


Hey Herb, Thankyou for the reply and advice. I will probably do that, I have actually been trying to get in with other Dr.s but my wife is a state employee and her insurence is going to change for the worse starting 2011. I am on her ins. now because I dont qualify for medicare yet. At this point I cant get any other Dr.s to accept the ins.. I have thought about coming to Atlanta because I have 2 step sisters there that have researched some Dr.s for me there. But I live in southern Missouri and just dont want to go that far away, but I may have to to find relief.
I'm venting now, but my beautiful wife is sleeping in right now which is what we used to do together on the weekends that I would be off work. I have been up since before daylight due to pain which is my norm now. Then we would get up and do fun active things together the rest of the day. I want that back bad, I know from this sight that I'm not alone there, and I'm blessed that she is staying by my side so far.
I am supposed to have surgery Jan. 7 but I may put it off to find more oppinions. My wife says I have to go with my gut feeling on this and she will be behind me all the way. But as many others on this sight I have run in to road blocks and just dont know what to do.
Thanks again


I really appreciate your situation--I see so many people forced in to hasty decisions because of the sad state of our insurance system. Please take the time to write your US house representative and your US senators and tell them the awful predicament our system of health care has forced on you. In your situation it really doesn't save any insurance company any money to exclude at a minimum at least an opinion about your surgery from several outside sources. Have you called your insurance company and asked them for suggestions about where to go for a second opinion--you might suggest to them that maybe a couple other opinions might save them 10s of thousands of dollars! Maybe there is someone that has an alternative solution (doubtful, but you really never know).
On another note, if you were to come to Atlanta, I know surgeons at Emory, two independent neurosurgeons, one at Northside hospital and one at Piedmont and an orthopedic surgeon in Alpharetta (suburb north of Atlanta) who are all excellent surgeons and would give you excellent advice. You could even call and ask how much they would charge just for an opinion--hopefully you could work out a cash deal if your insurance wont pay for it (I am thinking $400 for a visit). It might be worth $1200 to go see several people and pay that off at $100 or even $50/month--I know these are terrible decisions for someone out of work but your insurance company might be convinced to kick in some money. The doctor in Alpharetta has pioneered some innovative surgical techniques for both an anterior approach and posterior approach. The way he does the posterior approach is far less invasive than other types of fusions--he uses a piece of metal to separate your spinous processes--the neat thing is that he says this is reversible, if it doesn't help, he can just take it out and you are the same as you were. I have not seen anyone that has had this surgery. I also do not get any referrals directly from any of the surgeons I am suggested (except the surgeon at Emory occasionally sends people to me). I have a rather large clientele and people self refer to me after surgeries at the recommendations of family members or friends so I end up seeing these folks.

Best of luck with this process.


Hey Herb, Thankyou so much for the advice (not sure i spelled that right) they say cops are bad spellers, and my wife would agree. But anyway it was good . I dont know what I'm going to do at this point. Probly have the surgery, I have been talking to some of the people that my Dr. did similar surgerys on , his nurse ask them if they would talk with me and share their experiences with me. Some said it helped some said it did'nt. I may take the chance and pray that it helps, I need to try for some relief, and to hopefully get off of these pain meds full time.
Let me know what you think. Thanks again Mike
I have also been checking into that insurence problem and so far have done no good.