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Old 08-07-2004, 09:53 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Fort Worth
Posts: 20
Deidre513 HB User
Question Hi..Looking for people that have had L4/5 fused..

I would like to hear outcomes, good or bad. I am having this surgery on 8-31-04. I have made peace with my decision, but I'd like to know what your recovery was like, etc.

I have disc herniation, DDD, facet narrowing at the L4/5 level, and also DDD and facet narrowing at L5/S1-I have had every test known to man, ESI's, Rhizotomy, PT (3x), bed rest, was hospitalized for 10 days for pain control last year and I want off this Oxycontin!

I have been given a prediction for about 80% of my pain to be relieved, I have talked to 4 different docs about this and all agree-but i am still a little nervous-I just want my life back. Any and all responses are appreciated. Deidre

 
Old 08-07-2004, 12:14 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Los Angeles
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Jenna'sMom HB User
Re: Hi..Looking for people that have had L4/5 fused..

Deidre,
You've come to the right place to hear fusion outcomes, there are lots of us here,

I had mine 3 weeks ago. Anterior/Posterior interbody fusion with cadaever bone disc replacements with BMP injected into the center of cadaever disc to assist fusion. I have 6 pedical screws attached to two rods, one on each side.

The first couple days after surgery are not fun. They get you up walking around you hospital room the day after surgery. You think it will be impossible, but you do it! After a few days your walking down the halls with or without your walker and the pain has lessened. Definitely more and better drugs in the hospital than when they release you. The first few days you're on that machine where you can push the button to give yourself medication every 20 minutes.....aaahhhh.

I went home on day 6, a little shaky, but very surprised to be feeling as well as I did. Started walking as instructed and got better everday. Last Thursday, I had a little setback from way too much walking. I've been resting since then and the pain is getting a little better today. From now on I will not push myself as hard.

I'm very glad I had the surgery, as it holds out hope for me to go back to being an active mom, girl scout leader, skier, etc without living on vicodin and vioxx. I'm 44, but have the life of a 30 year old so I had to do something to keep me going.

Read the post surgery tips at the top of each thread page, there is a ton of good info there. Couldn't live without my grabber.

Good luck, keep us posted when the time gets closer and after surgery. We'll all be here for moral support and questions.

Take Care,
Julie
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APLIF T4-S1 on july 19, 2004
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Old 08-07-2004, 01:08 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Fort Wayne, IN
Posts: 184
Love2cook HB User
Re: Hi..Looking for people that have had L4/5 fused..

Deidre-

I had a L4-L5 disc that collapsed. My orthopeadic surgeon, who is one of the best surgeons in my area, offered me the Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion w/cages. I am 5 weeks post op and doing great. Before surgery my lower back was in horrible pain, making me unable to stand up straight for long peroids of time. My hips were in constant pain, with numbness and tingling down both legs. I would say I am about 80-90% better. I still have some pain but nothing compared to pre-surgery. I don't think I realized the pain I was in b/c it came on over time and I was learning to live with it. I have four small children and they keep me busy and distracted a lot.

Personally, I feel the fusion with cages was the best for me. My incision is only about 3 inches just left and below my navel. I would do it again in a minute. I am 33 and in otherwise good health. My surgeon said my discs on either side of L4-L5 looked to be in excellent shape which added to the reasons I was a good candidate for this surgery.

My back is still achey a lot, very deep down in. But my dr. says that's part of the healing/fusion, and it will continue to diminish as the fusion gets closer to completion. The pain I feel now is no where near the pain I was in before.

I think it is very important to have peace about your decision. I had one friend who tried to convince me to have a chiropractor attempt to fix my collapsed disc. My husband and I felt the fusion was the best option and it was. I feel like I have a second chance at life with a good, but maybe not perfect, back.

Best of luck to you. Let us know how things go for you!

Elaine
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6/30/04 Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion L4-L5

 
Old 08-07-2004, 06:10 PM   #4
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,139
injured betty HB User
Re: Hi..Looking for people that have had L4/5 fused..

You want to hear from people who have had it for awhile, long timers. You want to talk to people who had it done long enough ago to be able to tell you if it lasted. They suggested it to my husband for his neck as ADR is not availabe in the US as of yet. He is refusing and holding out for the ARD approval. He will have them remove the bone spur meantime.

I asked for the down and dirty on fusion from the Nuerologist and the Ortho. Both of them told us that once you have fusion there is no going back. There is no getting the ADR once it is approved. Had his been the back and not the neck both of them would have gone for the ADR. They explained that once you fuse, the discs above and below the fusion become weak and you will need more surgery, eventually. They also said that it will not relieve the pain to the extent that most doctors want people to believe that it will.

I had back pain. I researched how to cure it without surgery and was successful through dilligence and having the resources to pay for the therapy that I had done. This is not an option for my husband as a bone spur is involved. We only hope that when they cut it out that it doesn't grow back during the time that we are waiting for the FDA to approve the ADR for the neck. Meantime, he is going to rely on alternatives to pain management.

If you can avoid surgery, do so. Once they cut, you are a patient to some doctor for life.

Right now you are on meds. Surgery is not going to be 100% guranteed and you may be back on meds. Take your time and look around at alternatives. See if you are a candidate for ADR. If you are, take out a loan if insurance doesn't pay for it. You only get one back.

 
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