Re: Fusion or Not
I frankly would be suspicious of that one doctor's estimation of what you can do after fusion. In your original post you indicate that both segments are affected and they are not really sure which is causing the majority of your pain.
There is always the possibility that you will have one disc taken care of and the other will be sufficiently painful that it will negate the results of the one level surgery.
Also I don't see how fusing just one level will remove the weight restrictions. That runs contrary to everything I was told by the various surgeons I consulted with. If anything, fusing the one level will just cause additional stress on the adjoining levels.
I too was reluctant to have more than than bare minimum done when I was first confronted with the need for surgery. I thought they could always go back in and do more, but they couldn't "undo" the multiple fusion....At the time, I didn't realize the various negatives of "going in" more than once. Had I known then what I know now, I would have had the multi-level fusion to begin with and saved myself the additional years of expense, testing, and pain...let alone my insurance carrier almost succeeding in refusing to pay for additional surgery.
Some of the dangers of multiple surgeries in the same area are the formation of additional scar tissue, risk of infection, both in the OR and afterward. Once the body has an implant, the risk of infection increases, and the very real but rarely mentioned risk of the development of arachnoiditis...a rather unknown condition that we would all want to avoid at all costs.
This is a big decision for anyone faced with it. There are no guarantees and none of us has a crystal ball to know how the surgery will turn out and how our lives will be without it. I wish you well as you grapple with all the issues.