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Posted in: Back pain, Chronic pain, and Surgery.

Contemplating spinal fusion

Started by 1762298528@facebook on 11/20/2012 3:54pm

Has anyone had spinal fusion surgery? I have an unstable spine and I am trying to decide if I want spinal fusion surgery:(((

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Hi Sharon,
I had 3 level lumbar fusion with 6 screws and3 rods done a month ago. When my surgeon told me I needed fusion to stabilize my spine it made sense. I am 57 years old and figured I had better do this now and try to prevent a worse case scenario later in life. I had low back pain and sciatica pain and numbness in both hips and numbness down to my toe on right side. Doc explained surgery is no guarantee to get rid of pain but is for stabilization. I'm not gonna lie, painful after surgery but medications will control most of that the first solid week. After that it is still controlled for me taking the maximum dose on the meds. It will be months of limited movement depending on what part of spine you are considering. Let me know the details and someone can be more specific for you.

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yes, I had my L-5/S-1 Anterior fusion and it has helped me so very much..I too did not want to be fused but i had no other options as I have tried everything...because i am fused at the very end of the lumbar region that i dont feel any difference except to say the pain is gone...Now i also had to have my facets fused both left and right and that was the main reason for my pain...I completely blew out my disc, nerves were pinched, you name it and now all of those pains are GONE...i also chose not to have a disc replacement as this procedure is proving to have many problems...I can still bend all the way down, many of the things i used to do, i still can...so please keep thinking about and feel free to talk with your surgeon, he is there for you...i had a spine and ortho doc do my surgery and he was so great to me and to help take my pain away...good luck with your decision ....lizabeth mace

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I had this kind of surgery in early 1983. All seemed to go well but the surgery had to be redone a few months latter. This was due to problems with the rods that were put in. The second operation was completely successful. However the benefits did not last for ever. I had 20 years of benefit out of it. But now at the age of 66 my condition has deteriorated again. So far I have not been able to persuade a surgeon to do similar surgery on my again. Still 20 years benefit were to me worth it and I will definitely have such surgery again if I can get a surgeon to do the job that is.

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I just turned 40. 13 wks ago I had one artificial disc and level L3,L4,L5, S1 fused. So far I am thinking what have I done. I am still in same pain. I had a 360 surgery. 15 in incision through stomach and 2 5 in incisions in back. I did have a prior back surgery in 07. I am very young to have a fusion. Only reason I did it was because with the artificial disc on top of fusion is suppose to keep my back from degenerating at next level. The recovery is just not what I was told to expect. Still not back at work. The bone has not fused yet, so I am still unable to clean,bend,lift. I had no choice because my back was so unstable, I really wanted all artificial disc put in but unless you have 80 grand forget it. I could only afford one. Insurance did not cover it. I would really think twice about fusion if you are in 40's or 50's. If in 60-70's then do it. I lost ALOT of mobility. I will never be the same. Maybe this is still too soon to tell. I did have a fall that didn't help. After fusion my legs were paralyzed. Pretty common. They mess with lots of nerves when they go through stomach. Intense nerve pain after fusion for about 7 wks. Lyrica helped but made me loopy and slurred speech. ok, i know I am babbling. :/ Good luck with your decision. Most of all get a GOOD dr. If you are in Texas I can give you some good dr name.

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I am of the same mind as Fred, I would do the surgery again. I just wouldn't have gone back to work doing the same thing. (Only bad things can happen.)

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i totally agree with upanddown, i'm very happy with my surgery, and i will not be returning to my old job as this is what caused my surgery to happen. only bad things could happen is right...i didnt have rods put in but i was fused from l/5-s/1 anterior, and then 2 years later, had both sides of the facet joints fused as well as this was the root of of my pain. had to go into the back for this one and this particular surgery was way more painful then the first one as cutting the back muscles were very painful and alot longer to heal from. but the pain is alot better, better everyday and my spine surgeon was a god-send. good luck to sharon if your going through the surgery. I did have a spine and ortho surgeon do my surgery, might want to think about that...take care and good luck to you...lizabeth mace♥

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I am 7 weeks post op...I had a diskectomy..laminectomy and a fusion at L3-4....Unfortunately the surgeon said i really need the whole lower lumbar but but he said I can't do that..so he fixed the main problem.what happens is the levels above the fusion are unstable and eventually they will collapse ..so he said...something like that....I was unstable at that level as i also had spondololisthesis...at l4 and i didn't ask him if he di anything for that..but i'm guessing he had too..i will ask on Friday when I go...now it all depends on you and what kind of pain your having...i know it takes time to heal...so i am still wating for any results...I am still having nerve issues,..and alot of burning and electric pain...but the doc said it takes time...I hope...so depending on your problem and how much pain you are in..

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I am in the same situation, facing a 4 level decompression and fusion with rods and plates, Lower Lumbar.
I am just finding out now about Artificial Disk Replacement, through this website.
Now I am not a specialist, but to me, THIS is right up my alley, and I believe my Ortho should have had a discussion with me about this.

Have you considered ADR?

Nobody told me about it, I learned about it just tonight, and I am facing surgery date very soon.

I am definitely going to investigate this option.

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patrick, i too talked to my spine surgeon about disc replacement. he has been in this business for quite a few years now and he has performed disc replacements and has since changed his fews on this procedure. the artificial disc slips and has many complications. please check with your doctor about this issues and many more with regards to surgery. I too strongly considered it but with the help of my doc decided against it. its more problems in the long run than i'm willing to take. i did have one level fused L/5-S/1 anterior and have been pleased with my results. no further problems with the levels above but my facet joints were also very bad and had them fused as well..this was the root of my problems. so i'm fused all the way around, u could say and am healing everyday...so please, please check with your doctor....my doctor is a spine surgeon and ortho surgeon as well...take care ...liz mace

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If you do not mind, Sharon Kay Eck can you explain in more detail why you/they are considering a Spinal Fushion Surgery. I am 354 years old now and I have lived with back pain all of my life. I believe the Lord made me this way at Birth for my purpose in life to share with others and learn from others. I was born with scoliosis(curvature),a spinal fushion rod implanted (T4-L2) surgery when I was 15 yr old to stop my spine from curving. I think you should consider the surgery once you spek in more detail with your surgeon and possilby a neurosurgeon can consult about your partivulart spinal problems. My Spinal fushion sugery was performed to stop my spine from curvng so it does not cause any problems with my major organs. I could have had breathing issues if the spine curved towards my rips or lungs, it also was completed to help my alignment. How many older people have you seen be slumped ove and there bodies leaning in a particular direction. It is just scary?

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Hi Everyone, Just remember a open back fusion is a Hard painful surgery.I think it takes about one year to recover.Presurgery I was told I had a 33% chance for a fusion to help pain.I met a man from workmans Comp he said 1 out of 10 go back to work after a fusion. I had my surgery thinking it was going to help my pain(Not at all).It did stablise my spine.I can sit in a chair now for a long time,I`m gald to see so many on here that r pain free..

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I had a fusion with instrumentation 2 yrs ago st L5-S1. It did take over a yr for it to fuse completely and my original symptoms did go away. I had a fall which didnt hurry my recovery. Like the post before me u MUST do ur research and find a great surgeon as well as his support staff. I will tell u that u cant hurry this recovery. There r steps and phases to recovery but i eventually had to go on disability but my case is extreme, 4 level neck fusion and a torn meniscus in my knee in an 12 month period that complicated my recovery. Always stay mobile after surgery but dont overdo it! Ur back will rebel against u and kore prpblems could arise. I went thru 5 surgical consultstions before i found my surgeon and he is wonderful. Hope some of this helps. Doodle217

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wow doodle! We have same story! week 7 of my recovery I was doing something I was not suppose to and tore my meniscus.( tried to do laundry and squatted down and got stuck) So since couldn't do crutches. Made my pain worse in back. Then 3 weeks ago fell and broke my tailbone, so now that is making a problem. I am suppose to go to work again on Jan. 3rd. Not so sure I can still do my job. Main thing for everyone who has surgery is LISTEN to doctor and when they say no lifting,bending,twisting,sitting for more than 10 mins. DO IT. I am now like week 16 and I hurt more than I originally did. Had the 360 surgery so it is a very long recovery. My bones are not fusing yet. No bone growth yet. So guess what???? 4 months post op and still no lifting,bending,twisting etc. My doctor was a top surgeon and well know around the world, but he totally sugar coated my surgery and as soon as done he starts telling me how awful recovery was. I would have waited. I don't work in summers so it would have been better, now I am being threatened at my job that I am going to be fired unless I return,so ready or not here I come. I had 3 levels fused and one artificial disc on top of fusion to stop the next level from crumbling. Physical therapy still 4 times a week. 2 hours at a time. Therapist says it will be a long time before I feel the relief this surgery might offer. I thought it would be instant relief. Dumb I know. Ok well good luck everyone! Do lots of research! Doctors aren't always honest about recovery because if they told you how awful it is no one would do it.

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I am about 8 weeks post op right now...still in pain.maybe not as much maybe..but bad enough...not sure if it helped..doc said i am still healing..i know and i hope so...Still having leg pain and back spasms...and stiff as a board....I just hope that i wont regret the decision i made to have the surgery..

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I had spinal fusion surgery almost two months ago. My original problem was severe pain and cramping in my right leg. After my surgery (3 days in hospital), I found that my pain was transferred to my left leg - lots of numbness in my feet and muscle pain from my buttocks to the toes. The doctor put me on Lortabs that help a little with the pain. The surgery took nearly 4 hours and the scar is 8 inches on my back. I am now scheduled for a doctor's appointment in two weeks and I will have another MRI to about the new pain. The nerves may be pinched or are still healing. Sleeping is a drag because the cramping pain is tough to take. The doctor may have to go back in and correct any nerve or other problems. The fusion surgery is fine if you can put up with new pain and the fact that the fusion surgery is not the total answer. I previously had also a microscopic lumbar discectomy in June 2011 and it was easy. My original problem was severe pain and cramping in my right leg. So far, I still have pain but in my other leg. If you can stand the "iffy" part of the surgery (not getting rid of the pain in total), then go ahead. Recovery may be a long time. I still don't know what is in store for me.

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