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5 level lumbar fusion

Started by burry77 on 04/01/2011 11:33pm

Has anyone else had, or know anyone who has had, 5 level lumbar fusion? I had this surgery on Jan 5, 2011. This was my second surgery. I originally hurt my back lifting at work. Tried all other options, including pain meds, anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, and epidural injections. First surgery was only a diskectomy on L4-L5. The pain after the fusion was awful. I was in the hospital for 6 days. The pain for the first month was pretty bad. Simple things were very tough to do. At about 2 months post-op I started feeling better. But I still have a long way to go. Cannot drive for too long either. Standing still is also not too good. Walking does not feel too bad. Still very stiff though. My surgeon said 5 level fusions are very rare. So I am just wondering if anyone has any knowledge of this surgery. Thanks.

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My surgeon told me that he wouldn't do a 5 level fusion as it would never fuse. This was back in 92 so maybe things have changed now. I was fused from L4 to S1 then. I know need to have the rest of Lumbar level done.
I wish you the best and keep us posted on how your doing.

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I am very interested in how you are doing as I have to decide if I want to have more surgery from L-2 to S1. I had a fusion with hardware on L4-L5 level almost 2 years ago and am now in more pain than ever.
They want to do a laminectomy, and fuse from L-2 down to S-1 with rods, screws, etc. I am scared to do this if it will not help so am looking on this site to find others in the same situation.

It's a big decision because if i do this, I will have to quit my job driving school bus because I will not be able to pass the CDL physical (they now make you lift a crate weighing 50 lbs!) I have driven for 10 years and really love me job.

Thanks for any advice!
Brenda

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Hey guys. I just wanted to add that i was in surgery for 13 hours. Not trying to scare you but it was very long. My doc said i set a record for time on the operating table and levels fused for his practice. Not the kind of record i was looking for. Going back a little, my original surgery was only the diskectomy for L4-L5. But i also had minor herniations of L1-L2 and L5-S1. But he gave me the choice to try to fix the worst disk instead of fusion right off the bat. I hoped that would work so that is what i did. After the diskectomy, i thought i was healing well. I started therapy 8 weeks after surgery. The doc believes i got worse at the other herniations because of the therapy, something we did not foresee. As of right now, I just hit 3 months post- op today. My fusion was from Recovery is very slow. I drive a bit when i am feeling okay, but not too much. I have intermittent left leg numbness like I did before both surgeries. Changing positions in bed is still difficult, which is tough because i cannot stay on either side for too long or flat on my back. I am also still stiff in the morning, but usually after walking around a bit, I seem to loosen up pretty well. I just have to pay attention to where and how I am walking, always looking at the ground.I am also wearing a bone stimulator for 4 hours a day. This contraption helps the bone matter grow and fuse. It is comfortable, but do not lay on your back while wearing it, as that will cause a good amount of pain when you go to move around. My next appt. is on april 19 for Xrays to check and see if the vertebrae are fusing properly. And after that, I might start therapy. Also you must try very hard not to sneeze or cough hard, as this will cause a bunch of pain from the sudden movements. As far as instrumentation, I have pedicule screws along with rods and cages with the bone matter. Probably enough metal to build a Harley!LOL! My incision is about 12-14 inches long, but it healed well. I can feel the rods and screws with my hand. Really weird. As far as if you should have this surgery, that is a decision up to u and your doc. Would I do it over again? Yes. Before the fusion, I was basically immobile. I could not walk 10 feet without my leg giving out. The pain before the surgery was much worse than i had after the fusion. As far as lifting, don't plan on doing squats or dead lifts for the rest of your life! I am being terminated from my Job as a lineman for the phone company on May 11, 2011 because I will have been out of work for one year. But that I knew before doing the surgery. I also have my CDL, and don't know if I will be able to get my medical card renewed. My doc told me I have to look for a line of work with minimal physical exertion. My body is broken and beaten, but my spirit is alive and kicking. You must stay positive and have alot of patience if you have this surgery. It is a slow process, but so far it is worth the surgery. Do not try to rush your healing, because your body has a funny way of telling you to slow down: pain! Walk as much as you can. I started out going from the bed to the recliner, then doing circles in front of the house, to walking up the street. Remember you have to be able to make it back home!!! Sorry about the length, but I wanted to give as much info as possible. Good luck. I will check back soon to see how you guys are doing. God bless!

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I had surgery for scoliosis in September, 2010. I am 57 years old. My fusions are from T10 to L5. I have been back at work full time since January. I have no pain, I work out 5 days a week at the gym, and I feel great. I am thankful every day for my wonderful surgeon. Big fusions like this are not real common, but they are around.

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i had a 5 level lumbar posterior fixation, or better known as PLIF. it took those idiots 5 no, 6 tries to do what should have been done in maybe 2 or 3 tries. the first was l5-s1 back in 2000 for a disc that was gone, the 3 disc's above were none to good, discograms, cat scans, mri's, x-rays. MY big mistake back then was when the surgeon said 3 level fusion, BAK, and i asked for another opinion, not realizing that the other Dr. would say he didn't think, key word here, after seeing him 15 minutes and looking at my x-ray in the ceiling light, if i did all the right things i might be okay. then after 5 years of pain DDD, i found a Dr. who said he would do a posterior fixation at L4-L5, i also told him how bad the reports of the other disc's were ect. he didn't believe me and proceded to hack away at me 4 more times & after each time the above disc would colapse, i even begged to have the extra ones fused, then at the 4th surgery inside 13 months they had to remove 2 screws because they were loose, this was also another of MY diagnosis. Blown disc's, remove screws at L4 and placed screws in at L3, so now i'm fused from L3 to S1, with NO screws at L4 and all the ligament and disc and lamina removed and not to mention the foramanotomy. After 20 more months of instability and more loose screws and even more scoliosis i found a practice in Germany, who had to totally redo and reconstruct my previous mess and also take care of the severe stenosis at L2-L3, they also videoed some of the surgery for my viewing. the bottom line here is that the hacks here were poo pooing all of my situation and the worse they made. i've been slowly recovering for 42 months and just recently started on aggressive physical therapy both at my home and at outside the home. now that the tenderness of the muscles with palpation has subsided. i have used ALL forms of therapy to recover, and none of it was instituted by our lousey medical institution. I've undergone muscle atrophy, ligament laxity and severe si joint hypermobility which has been getting treatment for 36 months with prolo therapy,. So now i am solid fused from L2-- to --S1, the muscle damage has been severe to say the least, and the ability to recover was hampered by incomplete and at poor surgery outcomes, my spine is now straight and i'm able to tolerate more and more throughout the day, BUT i'm unable to get up and walk as the back and core muscles are still so weak they can't hold me upright .
now if it weren't for all the cat's, x-rays and mri's you wouldn't beleive it, and if i had it to do all over again i'd be getting the Germans to do ADR or at least have them or someone trained in there disapline, to do minmally invasive treatment.......this particular clinic hadn't seen this bad of post-op back surgery before and said to me that it was just a bad job

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Hi all. Update on my condition. I have started aqua therapy two weeks ago. It is good to finally be moving around a bit, instead of just walking. Anyway, I have developed the leg pain and numbness again. From left buttock to my toes. I have done some searching, and found out that the scar tissue takes about 12 weeks to form. I go to see my neurosurgeon on may 16. Saw my ortho surgeon on April 19, and he said the scar tissue could be forming around and pinching a nerve, but to start the therapy and see if the stretching and movements will help. X rays showed that the bone is fusing very well, and healing nicely, which is good. Has anyone else had this issue with the leg pain returning? And if so, what was prognosis or solution? The pain is worse when I am laying down, and I am having a very hard time getting any sleep. I cannot find a comfortable position to lay in. Any movement causes moderate to serious pain. Thanks

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Hi, update again. 5 months post op. Still having left leg pain due to the scar tissue on my L5 nerve root. I am hoping this will go away, but am not sure if it will. I met a guy at church who has had multiple surgeries, including fusion, he has a ton of scar tissue, causing him awful pain. he has a morphine pump implanted in his back to deal with the pain. I am praying that my scar tissue problem does not get any worse.

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Hello everyone, I was a firefighter paramedic for 30 yrs and broke my back in a fire in dec 2009. I had a 5 level fusion that took 10 hrs. Ive had constant pain since the surgery and just found out I have a broken screw down near l5 s1 and l1 and l2 broke loose and are compressed. As soon as I was hurt I lost all feeling on my left leg just above the knee on down and would have several falls a day. I'm sure they will have to go back in and fix things again, it will be my fourth back surgery. Its no fun and I wish everyone the best of luck with there injurys. Keep in touch

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hi burry I had L1 thru L4 fused and rods screws the works I am not going to juice it up, It was painful. and It took about a year for my healing. I went from the hospital to rehab center. was there 21 days then home they also fixed my back, I had broke it when I was 19 about 41years ago.I got this surgery about two year s ago. and now my L5 and S1 cushons are gone.and when I saw the mris they should have been done also. so they act like they dont want to go back in there again. so I m not sure what to do. what they did before really has helped. take care. one issue I had while healing was not bending. I get down on hands and knees. over stretching is also painful. get yourself a grabber and give your spine a big break. bye.

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When I was 17 I was diagnosed with kyphosis 150 degree curve of my upper thoracic spine which my lower lumbar compensated for by pushing itself foward. I had a fusion from T3-L2. After about a year the pain was gone and I healed I was back to living a normal life doing pretty much what everyone else could. I am 25 now and about two years ago I had an accident crushing my L3 vertebrae at the time I was told by the ER Dr I would heal just fine go home and rest. Well two years went by as time went on pain grew and with that came misdiagnosis I must just have muscles spasms or my gallbladder was bad; well after having that removed and getting no relief I found a specialist. Because of my older fusion those two years of weight bearing down on the fracture caused multiple problems I had to leave my job because I could even sit at a desk. I just recently was refused from L1-L5 and I'm about 5 weeks post op all I can say is don't do it without serious thought and talk with you're dr about side effects. Before the surgery it was just disabling pain and a few issues walking now I can hardly walk I can't bend the pain is 50 times worse at all times I can't sleep more then 2 hours at a time without waking in excruciating pain. I wish you all the best of luck and hopefully my side effects will fade and my opinion will fade but as of now I would never suggest a 5 level lumbar fusion to anyone.

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