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To have surgery or not?

Started by PLH1654 on 02/28/2012 7:59am

After several months of tests and alternative treatments for DDD the neurosergon I'm seeing wants to fuse L1 thru L5 he said my other option is to learn to live with it using my brace,traction and meds. My question is if I op for the latter can and will this disease get worse with time?

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Every one in time ends up with DDD.
I also have it but only in a few discs.
I'm 40 and I know people younger that have it.
The thing of it is,,, is you are asking if multiple fusions will resolve the DDD.
Yes and no.
Can you get it in your neck.
Yes.
But more important.
Multiple fusions is a very risky thing.
Allot of topics on here about multiple fusions people are saying there surgeries didn't take.
That's allot for the body to go threw.
Just the L5 fusion it's self is very difficult to fuse.
Allot of reasons why they fail.
ultimately you have to deside risk versus more complications.
If the fusions fail you will be worst off.
You will be bed ridden for a very long time.
Consult with a surgan to see if there are other opptions.
Or if they can do two at a time over a few years.
Best advice I can give is research the ups an downs of multiple fusions.
Research other options.
I hope you find a good solution that best suites you.
My prayers are with you.
Ray.

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I answered you about the mobility question you had.
Check it out. It should show up as new on you postings.
Also if you look threw the cummunity advice columns.
You can find where I posted for help for the first time.
You can read threw two pages of my progress there.
For give the writing I was on allot of pain meds in the beginning.
Hope I'm able to help as many as I can.
I know when I first got on here it's was one one bad story after another.
Scared me allot.
But nurse nancy is one on here that hers was very successful too.
It all comes down to your dission.
As it was said to me.
You'll know when you had enough.
I did it to improve the quality of my life.
And I'm glad I did.
But remember.
There are risks and there is that 2% chance you can come out even worse.
My advice find a good doctor. Try an talk to someone he or she worked on.
But most of all you have to feel good about your surgan.
As in you trust him.
If you dont trust your doctor find one you do.
Do as much research as you can.
My prayers are with you.
Oh one more thing.
Phisical theripy can cause more pain and trouble for you.
It may work for some.
But I went three times and I couldn't go back.
So I hope the best for you.
Ray.

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Approx 8 months ago, I had undergone a very successful TLIF operation at L5/SI level. 3 years ago, I was diagnosed with Isthmic Spondylolisthesis Grade 1 at the L5/S1 vertebral level. I experienced daily mechanical pain for which I am sure that you can also attest to. I was told by a chiropractor that it was more than likely that my spondylolisthesis would not deteriorate any further and that conservative treatment ( I.e. physiotherapy, chiropractory, and topical formulas) would suffice.

However, 8 months after being diagnosed, my pain levels had substantially increased and I was having intermittent flair up's which involved multiple disc bulges (this is the domino affect from a destabilized spine - spondylolisthesis was the stressor). Despite continued efforts to mitigate my evolving daily pain, conservative treatment was not helping and I was then starting to experience neurologic issues which involved intense sharp stabbing and burning neuropathic pain down my right leg (sciatic nerve irritation).

After persistent pain and obvious neural problems which were associated with the isthmic spondylolisthesis domino affect, I had undertaken extensive research for a prospective neurosurgeon before my first consultation in February, 2011. Upon my consultation with my neurosurgeon, he arranged an MRI for me and the results confirmed significant further deterioration involving Neuroforaminal stenosis (nerve impingement from narrowed foramina nerve canal) at L5/S1 level; disc bulge with annular tear and facet joint degeneration at L3/L4; and disc degeneration, broad based disc herniation, and facet joint degeneration at L4/L5 level. Upon seeing the evidence, my neurosurgeon arranged for me to have a Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumber Interbody Fusion (TLIF) with hardware at L5/S1 level.

Furthermore, I had my surgery on the 11th July 2011; and I am now at 8 months post surgery. I must say that, I am feeling absolutely wonderful and my pain levels are 95% better than they were before surgery! Without surgery intervention, the reality is that I would have continued having long term crippling pain not to mention more serious neurologic deficits (I.e. loss of muscle function; incontinence; decreased leg sensations; leg weakness; abnormal reflexes; paralysis; and further deterioration of my lumber spine area) Therefore, not being able to work and maintain any quality of life.

If coupled with a suitably experienced/qualified spinal surgeon, the TLIF procedure has a low incidence of complications and in fact, many clinical studies and surveys indicate that the majority of TLIF patient's report substantial pain reduction as well a successful fusion rate (i.e. 90%>).

As with any surgery, you need to weigh up the risks verses the benefits (in my case, the benefits clearly outweighed the risks). When considering spinal surgery, you also need to make sure that you select a suitably qualified and experienced orthopedic or neurosurgeon who has demonstrated expertise in successfully performing spinal surgery procedures as such careful selection will heavily influence the surgery outcome. Yes, there can be potential issues that may arise from surgery implications, though, having an experienced and well recognized surgeon can mitigate such risks.

PS: There are certainly many positive outcomes to having surgery!...undertake thorough research about your spinal issues and be very selective about which professionals you engage.

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I cannot agree more with the previous poster who cautioned everyone about being careful which doctor is chosen. I am part of a scoliosis support group in Florida and we have heard many positive as well as negative stories and the difference usually is a result of what doctor is chosen ! There are very experienced, knowledgeable doctors in spine surgery and there are those surgeons who THINK they can fix you, but are not trained in specific areas needed before they do the surgery. I know of three people in this area who went to a doctor here who SAID he could help them, but he was not careful about making sure they were fused in a way that the result had them standing straight. Thus they ended up actually bending forward at a complete right angle ! at the hips they are forced to walk with their face looking at the ground ! The result is very painful. I feel so sorry for these 3 patients who were duped by a misleading surgeon. In this same city are doctors who could have operated on them successfully ! So be very careful and talk to previous patients ! Any reputable spine surgeon should be able to give you a list of happy patients. Go to one who has done the surgery you need MANY times !

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I cannot agree more with the previous poster who cautioned everyone about being careful which doctor is chosen. I am part of a scoliosis support group in Florida and we have heard many positive as well as negative stories and the difference usually is a result of what doctor is chosen ! There are very experienced, knowledgeable doctors in spine surgery and there are those surgeons who THINK they can fix you, but are not trained in specific areas needed before they do the surgery. I know of three people in this area who went to a doctor here who SAID he could help them, but he was not careful about making sure they were fused in a way that the result had them standing straight. Thus they ended up actually bending forward at a complete right angle ! at the hips they are forced to walk with their face looking at the ground ! The result is very painful. I feel so sorry for these 3 patients who were duped by a misleading surgeon. In this same city are doctors who could have operated on them successfully ! So be very careful and talk to previous patients ! Any reputable spine surgeon should be able to give you a list of happy patients. Go to one who has done the surgery you need MANY times !

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