spinal fusion surgery--should I go through with it?
I have spinal stenosis L4-L5, spondylolisthesis, a bulging disc and a bone spur. This was diagnosed 1 year and a half ago, Had the leg pain for a year prior. (It took my HMO a year before they finally did an MRI and discovered what the problem was.) Have done cortisone shots, (first one worked but not the 2nd or 3rd) saw chiropracter and tried acupuncture (didn't work) and physical therapy.. I did exercises prescribed by the PT every day, however, during the last month they have become too painful to do. Since I really dislike being on pain meds, I got by on Tylenol for about 8 months but have gone back on pain meds--Tramadol 2x day. . My condition is also worsening according to a recent MRI. Since my overall leg/back pain became unbearable making it difficult to sleep and get through the work day, I decided to go ahead and schedule spinal fusion surgery with a neurosurgeon. I am now having second thoughts since I found out it would be a very invasive surgery that would last for 8 1/2 hours. (Have never had surgery before). The risks associated with this type of surgery are very high and there's no guarantee that my condition would improve enough for me to return to work afterwards or avoid future back surgeries. I don't like the thought of being under anesthesia for that long a period. Are there any noninvasive surgical procedures available for this type of back problem?
I would welcome any thoughts or advice from others who have had this type of problem and / or gonue through spinal fusion surgery. Thanks!