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Spinal fusions

Started by dixi34 on 09/30/2010 7:41am

Is there anyone out there with positive results from spinal fusion? Most all of these discussions make it sound like going from "bad to worse". I am trying to find people who have had good results, and get some idea of the limitations I would experience afterwards. Also maybe some tips about things that you did that you think contributed to the success of your surgery. If you are out there, would like to hear from you. Thanks - Dixi

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Dixi,
So far so good! I had my surgery (fusion w/ Harrington Rod T-6 through L-4) at 16 yrs. of age in 1983. I was a competitive gymnast so my muscles were in top shape. I am 45 now. Yes, I would do it all over again. I was able to have 2 children with no problems at all (even had an epidural with my first). I am finding that my "hump" is becoming uncomfortable over the past few years (and the more I read through this forum, the more pains appear~ completely psychosomatic )!! What exactly would you like to know?

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Thanks for the information. My problem is I am 66 and have had three back surgeries, the last two being for spinal stenosis in the lunbar region. All of my spine is a problem. I am concerned about the amount of pain from the fusion and whether the end result will reduce the amount of pain I am having now. I understand I will not be pain free. Also worried about being able to move somewhat normally. My husband is 81, we live in a large house and I help out with my four grandsons. I think the last surgery not being as successful as we thought it would be, may be due to having to do too much too early. Now I am hearing that it will take one year or possibly more to heal from this surgery. Yikes - puts me in quite a pickle. Thanks for your response. Your youth helped you out as well as being in supurb condition I am sure. Did you get injured in gymnastics? Very happy to hear you could have a great life with kids also. Wonderful! Hope that you continue to do well and have only small pain. Will see the Neurosurgeon this coming Monday and see what my options are. Thanks again. - Dixi

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The folks who have had successful fusions aren't reading or posting here anymore, Dixi ;-) I've had two surgeries and I did feel much better with a lot less pain after each one, but I developed other issues that had me back for more. I'm about to schedule my third lumbar fusion because the vertebrae level above my last fused level has started to slip rather dramatically. (Never do anything unless you can do it dramatically, I always say.) I think the biggest thing a patient can do for success is find the best surgeon you can for yourself. Ask questions. Interview him/her like you would a prospective job applicant because that's actually what you're doing. And don't beat yourself up if you don't have the initial results you expected. Good luck to you!

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Well, I still consider myself a "success" story. Dixi, It was a nasty gymnastics accident that prompted a detailed look at my spine where they found an "S" curved scoliosis . My fusion stops at L-4, so I'm not sure how much help I could be with information. Back then I was in a body cast (removable with an Alan wrench) for 9 months. A few things that may help are, If you fly, see how long you should wait (I had to wait 2 months). If you find it impossible to wipe yourself, try getting into a squat position (worked for me) God bless the nurse that taught me that! Have lots of pillows around. I had them behind my back at night, between my legs and a couple to rest my other arm on. I was told that vacuuming was the worst thing one could do with any type of spine surgery. I also drove a sports car, so pushing in the clutch was difficult to say the least. Granted this was back in 83, so I'm sure alot has changed. If I ever find myself in the position of having back surgery again, I will talk to my original surgeon (who's retired) and find out who trained under him and go from there.
Good luck and please keep us posted on how things are going!
God Bless

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Hi Dixi,
Unfortunately, I don't think you will find any positive results on a blog like this, because only the unhappy look for these blogs! I am 37. I had the harrington rods installed at age 15 to correct kyphosis. I took about a year to get comfortable with it. And I lived for about 18 years with minimal discomfort. The last few years I have developed neck and lower back pain. 6 weeks ago I could not get out of bed. Went in to hospital via ambulance and a shot of dilated. The MRI showed a herniated L2. Got a steroid shot in the disc area and was about 50% better. Then they found blood clots in my leg and lungs. 16 days later I got home and was moving around with a walker. 6 weeks later now and today I worked for 4 hours and I am in quite a bit of pain. Thank God for oxycodone. I have talked to 2 surgeons and both think I will not get better without some sort of surgery. But I have to wait for the clots to dissolve, which should be less than 6 months.

So back to you! I am sure the advancement of spinal fusion has been great. But in 1988, no way!

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