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Spinal Fusion

Jul 11, 2014 8:08 PM

Have you had a fusion done yet.

Jul 11, 2014 8:10 PM

I have L4-5 and will be having L2-3 done in a few months. does it ever end the pain?

Jul 12, 2014 5:59 AM

my personal experience is that it helped me go from a 8/10 to a 1-3/10 daily. I had an L5/S1 fusion a year ago. But results can vary

Jul 12, 2014 3:18 PM

I'm hypermobile. I had L5/S1 microdiscectomy over a year ago (feb2013). it helped for the first 6 months but now it's back to the same pain levels. sorry to put a dampener on things :/

Jul 12, 2014 5:44 PM

I had a fusion 13 years ago it helped for a short time, then made things worse.
Once they stablise what they think is causing the problem if the discs above and below take on more strain and will deteriorate.
I've since been told by another Dr that they fused the wrong level anyway for my pain and now I have nothing but pain.
Please do yourself a favour and get a second or even third opinion.

Jul 13, 2014 6:43 AM

I agree with the above. I settled on my third opinion as my surgeon. I also chose to have them go in thru the belly. that approach typically has better results

Jul 13, 2014 4:43 PM

really? I never heard of doing that?!

Jul 15, 2014 6:47 AM

it's called an ALIF. Anterior Lumbar Interior Fixation. The reason fir it is it has a higher efficacy rate given they do not have to cut through the back muscles which are already weekend in general from the injury to begin with. Rehab tends to be more effective with this approach. My Surgeon said he has like a 95% success rate vs 75% with the regular approach. Thats y I made sure to egg several opinions. the only disadvantage is of course having a. couple inch long incision on yr abdomen which in and of itself is a separate "site" other than yr back that has to heal. I git great results. I had a full discectimy at l5/s1 and a cage with a fusion done. Before surgery I couldn't sit longer than 5 min without 8/10 pain daily. Now I just took an 8 hr road trip by myself with 2/10 pain!

Jul 15, 2014 3:52 PM

wow! that's amazing! I may look into to it for any future discectomies. I have a degenerative spine at the top and the bottom so I guess it will happen again at some point! lol

Jul 16, 2014 11:41 AM

In my situation no it doesn't end the pain, it increases the chance if adjacent segment degeneration, but it also depends on the time between injury and surgery, if both sides are being fused, if so both with titanium, or a bone graft on one side and titanium on the other? The amount of time you have for rehab, the disc that is damaged and wether it is a vertical or horizontal injury. You can always have surgery next week, next year etc but once its done there is no taking it back so ask every question you can think of no matter how dumb you think you sound, for example, you blokes out there, how many of you have an injury at or below L5 S1? Did your dr tell you it can cause fertility problem and surgery can lower your sperm count, or women you dont get off lightly either, longer PMS, painful periods and difficulty caring to term in some cases. I used my husband as the Guage when I got hurt, the army did to him all the things ive just told you to avoid and on top of that they had him back ti full duties 6 weeks after surgery. Within 12 months the disc above the fusion collapsed and they operated again, this time putting titanium on both sides, a longer break before returning to work and when he did the first 3 months were light duties and PT own pace, by then though it was to late, he'd only agreed to the surgery because it was that or discharge. He was discharge d at 25 full TPI with his gold card, at that time the youngest veteran in Australia to have a gold card for medical. The head of the Australian orthopedic association in 1998, Dr Peter Gabriel said in his legal evaluation that if all of the following preferably had been done there would have been statistically a more significant outcome but even one would have raised the chance if success.
1. Surgery as soon as the need was identified.
2. Longer post op recovery, light duties, no pt on inital return to work
3. Fusion of both sides with same substance.
4.significant post op rehabilitation and access to aids and appliances.

To date because department of defense got the first surgery wrong he has had over 30 mqjor surgeries, 25 general anathestics, with the moat recent surgery being only two weeks ago.

seeing all this and knowing that is how I could go scares the hell out of me, and believe me I am in pain, I have jumped on every pain remedy bandwagon out there but to methe statistics just aren't worth it, not until it becomea so bad that noth7ng else will help, for me its an option, but an absolute last one.
though I have been considering a day priceedure where the use a stimuli pen to kill the nerves that are missfiring, its about $378 a needle, most people need 4 to 6 needles and 5hen if it works you could be pain free for anywhere from 6 months to 4 years. With all the money spent seeing Dr and filing script even from a financial view its worth trying. I was also trying to fibd out more about growing my own kava plant and or seeing if I was able to get into a conefish venom trial, or treatment plan using conefish venom, has anyone tried these? Would really kove feed back about them, and URLS to clinical trial results, respectable media reports etc that my dr cant just brush it away.
thabks for listening I hope some of this was helpful to those considering surgery, the difficulty is in the nature of humans, horse trainer monty roberts had the same injury as one if my partners, but had surgery right away, longer recovery, proper physical therapy and hes back out there rounding up brumbies, sleeping rough, breaking them in and touring whilst my partner can barely walk, can't ride anymore etc etc...

it's like art
subjective
my email address for anyone who might want to get in touch with me is talahorse@gmail.com

Jul 17, 2014 5:00 PM

to Talamasca.... I do agree that any surgery, but especially spinal surgeries, may not only have risks but may make someone worse. That being said... I worked as a physical therapist assistant in orthopedics for over 10 years and the MOST important thing I learned is that EVERY persons body reacts to surgery in its own unique way. For some they were given their life back. As have I, been given reprieve from my L5/S1 disc tear symptoms. What I am saying is that there is no reason to scare anyone out of having surgery. it ABSOLUTLy may be the right choice for someone, after they have carefully weighed the pros and cons.

Jul 18, 2014 12:28 AM

Jash, completely agree but once you have done it, if you don't like the results there is no going back. As a soldier my partner had very little say in what was done and by whom, in his case it amounted to assault and from my point of view for my treatment only, its not worth at the age I am to roll that die. I get the impression that you think I am against surgery, im not and if you reread my post you will even see a case from someone else who my partner spent quite alot of time talking to after they'd both had their operations. The same levels and same technique used, the defining differnces are in sime cases obvious, different surgeons, longer recovery times (army made my parter go back to full duties 6 weeks later, full pt everything) the big difference in success though seems to be the time between inury and operation, and the physical load placed on the body in between.

Jul 18, 2014 12:28 AM

Jash, completely agree but once you have done it, if you don't like the results there is no going back. As a soldier my partner had very little say in what was done and by whom, in his case it amounted to assault and from my point of view for my treatment only, its not worth at the age I am to roll that die. I get the impression that you think I am against surgery, im not and if you reread my post you will even see a case from someone else who my partner spent quite alot of time talking to after they'd both had their operations. The same levels and same technique used, the defining differnces are in sime cases obvious, different surgeons, longer recovery times (army made my parter go back to full duties 6 weeks later, full pt everything) the big difference in success though seems to be the time between inury and operation, and the physical load placed on the body in between.

Jul 18, 2014 11:49 AM

it did sound like you were against surgery but I guess I didn't read closely enough so I do apologize. I just know that there can be wonderful results like I had and want people to know that side of things as well. again I apologize.

Jul 20, 2014 11:09 PM

I had a fusion from l4-s1 a year and a half ago. mine was due to a break of the L4 and L5 with ruptures of the corresponding discs. My pain levels pre-op were 8-9/10 and since rehab complete 4-6/10 on a daily basis. the best thing for me was that it all but eliminated the sciatica pain. the procedure they used on me involved both front and back incisions, stabilizing both sides with titanium rods/screws and replacing both discs with a titanium disc and bone graft combination. I am much more stable but have much greater reduction in rotation than I had expected. I do not regret the surgery being that the prognosis was paralysis from just above the waist down.

my recomendation is get multiple opinions then have any surgery done at a hospital designed for spinal surgery. It made all the difference for me. Also, remember that ice is your friend. I got off narcotics three days post op and never looked back. I use a lot of ice packs but my mind has been clear.

good luck to you

Oct 21, 2015 10:31 PM

I'm still recovering from my cervical spine fusion surgeries that I had a month ago. Had 4 herniated discs from c-4 thru c-7 and I it hasn't been easy. I still hurt and I'm still stiff most of the time. Hoping to feel somewhat normal again.

Oct 22, 2015 6:30 AM

Dmll55, I agree with others, that getting a second or even third opinion would be wise. Make a list of questions you want to ask.

C6-7 were fused in 1992. C4-6 were fused with a titanium plate and screws added in 1995. I've done very well until 2010, when I started having headaches and back pain, arm & leg issues with sciatica. I've had several years of testing and I now have C2-3 collapsing onto C4, T11-12 collapsing and turn, L2-3 & L4-S2 collapsing and bulging, along with sacroiliac (SI) joint issues. They say I need surgery to relieve pressure in the neck but they can't do it because of previous fusions. They'd have to enter at a point where it could paralyze my swallowing and speaking ability. They won't even discuss my thoracic and below. I have OA and now osteopenia (pre osteoporosis), meaning my bones would their twice as long to heal, and I have a greater risk of fractures all over my body. I started taking calcium with D3, though my PCP said I don't need anything. I've been told by so many docs, "There's nothing we can do to help you (surgically), and you need a pain specialist.". So I'm going back to a pain doc for more Band-Aids.

I wish you well! And you'll be in my prayers. (((Hugs))) for the stress. 🙏🌼

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