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Some answer for you about spondylolsis and L5 fusion and what you will go threw. Hope this helps to answer some questions.

Started by rayg2011 on 02/20/2012 11:20am

I HOPE THIS HELPS YOU IN SOME WAY>>>>well for the past few days i have been looking threw allot of peoples pages on here.
so many questions.i can realy only talk about my disabillity.And what i went threw as well as what i had done to make the quality of life for myself better.when i started back in 2008 with very bad pain in my lower back.i never would have thought i would be at this point in my life.i was told i had spondylolisthesis of my L5/S1.i had no idea what the doctor was talking about. so i went strate to my family doctor to find out what this was. turns out he knew i had it since i was 23. even after he explained it to me i still didn't know what he was saying. i needed to see it. so i got home and went on line. this was the first site i came to. i looked at the videos. as many xrays as i could find. i went to youtube as well. also found many good videos on this disability. so i went back to my doctor and demanded pain treatment. as always the soma he gave wasn't working. so after new xrays at the beginning of 2011 i went and demanded pain meds from the family doc. he said he would have to refer me to a pain clinic. so i found people in person that had back pain and other issues. they told me to get as much history on my lower back. i went to every hospital and gathered all the paper work as well as all my xrays on a disc. this is important people. get all xrays and MRI on a disc before you leave. so i got to see the pain clinic doctor. gave my full history of back pain and all the meds i ever took for it. then this also is important. i asked the doctor for options on pain treatment as well as for me final option surgery. i knew the only way i would get close to living a normal life as i could was to repair the break. at this time i was not able to do every day things. i spent allot of time in bed.
so after being given pain pills and antiflamatories things started to look up. like all medication over time your body gets use to it. and the pain comes back. so he upped the meds and added new ones. so finaly it started to work. i was back to a active life. my pain doctor then helped me with the means to begin to pay for all this. he got me papers from the local hospital that provided lower income people with what is called charity care. because the local hospital was linked to all that i would need. it payed for 99.8% of all my bills. i'm told all hospitals have this. mean while my pain doctor set me up with a day to see the surgan. also i'm portant . i made a list of questions for him to answer. keep in mind i already seen this mans work and i knew he was good. research people it is very important. i asked all the questions everyone would ask. note what perscent come out worste then when they went in. 2% he siad. as he explained i do like about 100 of these serguries a year. and out of that year 2% still have pain. and he explained reasons for this. also should i get the hardware removed after. he explained you will have to endor the same down time and you also will be at high risk of infection. but yes i can if you wish. but its better to leave it in because it will help keep everything stable and strong. so after a long talk with him. we set a date for the surgery and he gave me a brace because i couldn't afford one at the time. you have to trust your doctor! so moveing on i went into this knowing almost as much as a doctor would about all of this. this is why i tell every one find out as much as you can about your disability. so i ended up being told from my surgan i had purtruding disc of the L1 and L2 also disc dateriation of the L2 and L3 and L4 and L5 with spondylolisthesis of my L5/S1 with arthritis. i had all the problems like most people did. i had severe lower back pain, sciatica pain, problems with urinating and bowl movements. shocking legs and feet on fire.so now the day of surgery. it normauly takes between two to three hours for this surgery. mine took three and a half. he found that he couldn't just do the L5 fusion. because the L4 would be very unstable. so after permission from a family member he stableized my L4 to my L5 wich was fused to my pelvis. so a total of six screws and to rods that were about 4 and a half inches long to fix me right. why do they use titanium for this and not stainless steel. stainless steel in its self is stronger then titanium because it can give a little. titianium is a brittal metal. but they can not xray or do a MRI on stainless steal because it makes the picture fuzzy.as i siad again RESEACH....so i came to in the hospital after the surgery was over . no i did not have severe pain. only pain i had was the incision. it should have been a cut of about two and a half inches but do to my back being so bad and he had to stable the L4 i was cut about eight inches open. keep in mind if its just a L5 fusion you will have a very small cut. i was up and walking on my own a hour after the surgery. make sure you ask for a enema because you do not want bowned up from all the medication in your system. day two i was walking the halls and did my test of walking up and down of 15 steps. i was able to leave the hospital on day three. now three days after i was home i stopped all meds because i was so pist because it caused me to become compackted. do not do this...i went threw a week and a half of with draws. after i was clean of all medications i found that i didn't need all of the pain pills. remember do not stop your meds until you talk to your doctor. i didn't and just after haveing surgery i went threw withdraws. not a good idea. ok the fun part six months of doing nothing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! after your home you have to wear a brace for one month. if all is good it comes off. if not two months. no lifting. this is the law after this surgery.after about two months have past if your up to it you can drive. note short trips you will get very sore. three and the fourth month you will do alot of exercises to help stenthen the muscles in your back that have been weak all these years. you will be sore and back muscles will be tight. this will go away as time goes on. sixth month i only have very little tightness of the lower back muscles. this to will go away in time. yes i can feel the hardware under my skin. it takes time to get used to. soon you don't pay it that much mind.its like its not there. because mine was so severe i have to take meds for nerve damage. this helps allot with sciatiac troubles as well as spazems. i take two medicans a day. i feel wonderful now. NO MORE PAIN. keep in mind my life now has to change. no more hard labor jobs.you will need all the help from anyone you can get if you are going to do this. money is a big problem. haveing a partner to help you is a good thing. i hope this helps people understand what you have to do as well as i window of what you will go threw. there is allot more i wanted to add but this will help guide you in the right direction. thank you everyone for your help. and god bless you all as i will pray for you all in pain.

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5 Responses


if you have any questions feel free to ask.
may take me a few days to reply my mom is very sick.
thank you.
god bless all.


Ray l liked your artical and yes It did give me an idea on what to expect but you didn't mention how it effected your mobility, I'm 58 and live alone so not much help from anyone. and my doctor wants to fuse the 5 discs as I mentioned, my mobility now is not good but I could probably learn to live with it with the conventional treatment I'm currently doing If I thought surgery would make my mobility worse. I heard of people who had 2 discs fused and they can't even tie their shoes now. I'm new to this sight so I'm quite excited about reading other peoples experenceses Thanx


Yes I didn't mention mobility.
What I had done is like two were fused.
My L4 L5 and pelvis are all linked together with rods an screws.
Yes at first I had a hard time reaching my feet.
But during your recovery period the surgan has you do stretching exercises.
I now have no problem setting on the floor and lacing my shoes.
Yes you loose some lower body mobility.
But for me not enough to make me think anything different.
If I would have known I had this I would have had this done years ago.
I think the only thing I didn't put allot of thought into was.
That after I got home I had to rely on the help of my girlfriend.
Can't drive after so she had to get my meds.
And just not being able to do anything for months.
The healing prosses to me is the most important.
Be posative and determind that you are going to be and get well.
It's a big dission to make.
Living alone you may be able to get a home health care nurse.
But you will need help for a few months.
Hope this helps you.
My prayers are with.


this is just a small amount of info.
so ask question people.
here to help.