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Surgery?? I'm really nervous!!

Started by backstabber on 03/16/2011 8:30pm

Hi everyone, I'm so glad to read everyones postings, there are a lot that are inspiring and some that make me a bit MORE nervous about the surgery I am considering. Thanks to those of you who take the time to read my post, I sincerely appreciate the feedback.
I will post some of the MRI report from a few weeks ago:
"At L3-4, tiny bulging disc;
At L4-5 grade 1 listhesis, disc bulge with annular tear, nearly contacts both S1 roots, severe facet arthropathy, moderate stenosis, rt and lft foraminal narrowing;
At L5-S1 disc desiccation w/bulging disc w/annular tear w/bulging disc ventrally where indents the epidural fat. Bulging disc nearly contacts both S1 roots and is similiar to the L4-5 level;
The right S1 root is slightly more posteriorly which could indicate some slight mass effect and would correlate with the right S1 radiculopathy".
I can only interpret this into one word: pain. Other than that, from the professionals help breaking it down I need the MAST TLIF surgery. Because I had a heart attack in 2009, it has taken my cardiologist this long to clear me for nerve blocks and/or surgery. I had a nerve block and I ended up with an incredible headache, nausea and vomiting. The headache kept me mostly in bed for 10 days!!! Then the relief was only for about a week. I will never do that again!! This is my third round of PT and my social, family and financial life absolutely suck. The PT is not really helping me to the point I need it to, but the Phys. Therapist keeps trying to sway me to stay in treatment and not go under the knife.
My question is....... is surgery (MAST TLIF is the recommendation from the first surgeon that I saw) likely to
improve my life to the point of being able to work FT and enjoy outings, do some traveling and get to social functions? Does the MAST TLIF correlate with my MRI findings to those of you who can interpret it? For those of you who have had this surgery, was it successful and do you have a full life? I am seeing another surgeon for a second opinion tomorrow and I will post the results of the visit.
Again, thanks to all who are reading this, I really appreciate your feedback!!!!! Blessings~Christine

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6 Responses


Hi, I have had the surgery on l4-l5, l5-s1. They did it form the front then rolled me over and did it from te back. The Dr. said they have too because it is such a wieght bearing area. It did wonders for my lower back and my lower back is fine now. or at least it doesn't hurt near as much. I think you will have to have it no matter what cause its impinging on your nerves. I also have 4 fusions in my neck that didnt seem to do anything execpt keep the pain from increasing but it didnt go sown. I now have a pain pump instead of the Narcotics and seem to be getting my life back. If you ever get to a point where you are considering a pain pump or stimulator, go for the pump. the stimulator makes everyone itch like crazy. I also have Morpine in the pump. It delivers about 1/300 of the amount needed to do the smae pain relief if you took it orally. So you can function without being all discombobulated. Hope some of this helps.


My heart goes out to you because I know what pain you are going threw. My sciatic nerve was pinched by my L4 while I was working as a mechanic. I ended up in the hospital for two weeks just for pain management. It was six months before my fusion of S1-L4-L5 . I ended up with rods , screws and brackets. It worked for me and now I am a manageable two / three out of ten in pain, a three you can almost forget about. I can do almost anything I want as long as I am willing to pay for it later [in minor pain]
It is important that you don't give up. Have the surgery. One thing that my GP Doctor told me was to only have a Spinal Neurosurgeon do the operation. This was the best advice I ever got ! These Doctors have specialized education in the nerves and the spine.
I feel you are strugling with your pain and the decision whether to have the surgery or not. I know what I would do knowing what I know now , but I am not an expert, just a guy that has been in such pain that I know what it is to finially think about giving up, but found the strength and didn't . Unlike you my disc between S1 and L4 was blown out along with the L4-L5 disc. There was no saving or repairing the disc's,and the Vertebre were worn, the only fix for me was stablilization , rods and brackets. I was walking the next morning after surgery , the first time in six months with no sciatic pain. It has been three years since my surgery and it still feels good ,no real pain . Only comlaint is it didn't improve my Golf game. I hope you find this helpful . Thanks and good luck. Dan


im no doctor but i have been fused and for that i am sorry and wish i could have been able to deal with the pain but that is not the case here i was on percocets for the past 6 yrs for which i have never been out of pain unless i really took 10 10/325s 8 times a day ya if i wanna forget about life well i would not submit to a urine test and refused any narcotic that made u talk to your self or to others u don't even know what your saying any ways back to the urine test i refused because i self pained relief because i couldn't sleep before 3am and never could wake out of pain i became a user of marijuana and after 6yrs of the same doctor and no second opinion he finally sent me to pain management and holy i have had to quit smoking pot and put on methadone and all kids of meds to put out a elephant well that's what it felt like taking a dump anyways well i could go on and on but on the brighter side some on the other side say its been great just remember they say they can get rid of the problem but maybe not the pain lol sorry i bored u all reading boo ho for me right u are so right i was warned but as usual a 30yrold at the time u couldn't tell me anything unless it had dollars in front of the sentence peace out and good luck get 4 8 6 or however many opinions u can or are allowed buy the government I'm sorry i mean medical insurance companies allow u to get wish i could really go back in time or have enough money to patten a prosthetic spine no don't take my idea and run it smarter than that not to protect my invention imagine that


I feel funny replying Backstabber, you seem nice and the word just doesn't seem to fit you. Just wanted to say good luck on the Surgery. I don't think PT can keep your problem from getting worse and seems like it could actually end up messing you up worse, If you do get the surgery let us know how your doing and remember you have people on here to talk too who are going through the same things such as pain, family problems, social issues, you name it you can talk to someone here when your family doesnt understand. If someone has never gone through chronic pain and the effect pain has on you over years, they have no idea what your going through. so don't be a stranger and let us know how your doing.


Thanks to you guys/gals who responded to my post! I really didn't think anyone would and so after a few days I gave up.... However, I'm glad to report that I had the surgery on 3/29 and he did a TLIF (not minimally invasive) L4-5 and laminectomy (where they clean out the arthritic facet joints). He replaced a disc with part synthtic and part grafted bone from my spine. He said I was very unstable and had a lot of crap just sort of floating around in my back. Connected on both sides of my L4-5 facet joints is one 2 inch rod with bolts at either end. Gross! And I do mean for the first week, everytime I thought about them doing that to my back, my stomach would turn and I did vomit several times even a week after the surgery.

Anyway, it was excrutiatingly painful and one week out I was still having a rough time but now, two weeks out there is light ahead! I am walking stronger and take very few pain meds (yeah!!!). I'll keep everyone posted as to my progress and hopefully someone can take something from it. Thanks for the empathy from all of you, the pain is horrible and I think no one should give up! Do not give up! Accept what you have to but don't stop trying! Thats all for today! Peace!! :)


Hi everyone,
I just wanted to update since my surgery. It was 8 months ago and I probably have 75% of my life back. Since I'm only 48 even that is a struggle for me, but I know I should be grateful. I tried working full time but got fired for too many abscences. My back is extremely sensitive and if I do one wrong move I pay for it for 3 days minimum. I've given in and moved all my pots and pans to counter top leve and rarely use the oven cause bending down puts me out of commission. I loved going to PT and am going to return as soon as I pay off the 20% that I still owe them (my insurance is an 80/20 plan).
Recently, about a month ago I did something to my back and I have extreme pain and muscle spasms shooting up my spine from the center of my back and into my neck and shoulders. I have so many medical bills and really don't want to add to it, but I guess I'm going to have to go back to my surgeon and have him do some pic's. Oy.
The good thing is I am no longer on the morphine but do take the hydrocodone or tramadol 4 - 5 time per week, ususally in the eve's after I've done my day's "work". I feel like the new symptoms are something fixable. I also know that I need to lose weight and am struggling with that as well. It's funny how we can know what the right thing to do is but still not do it.....???? Why is that?????????????
I'll let you know what my surgeon says about my new symptoms. I'm wondering if the rods and screws have knocked out some of my other discs already. That would really be awful. My suspision is that it's just muscle spasms. Thanks for listening to me rant!!!