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Old 08-27-2004, 10:09 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: N. of Seattle Washington
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Wiley519 HB User
Question Hi! I'm new & really need some advice or similar experiences.

[COLOR=DarkOliveGreen] [FONT=Comic Sans MS] Hello All...my name is Vicki, I'm 33 yrs old & i've been reading thru the board & found a lot of good information, but would really appreciate it if maybe some of you could assure me about a back fusion & discectomy. Here is my story...i'm open to all situations/opinions/experiences...i'm desperate for any information.

On Sept 11, 1998 (that was my first problem...the date!) I worked for a paratransit company that transported disabled & elderly (another strange coincidence) & while stepping off my bus I landed in a hole that I didn't see because of the over-grown grass...anyway, I hyper-extended my knee & felt pain in my hamstring...long story short...i've had 4 knee surgeries on my right knee & one on my left (it wore out fast from compensation & lots of time on crutches & limping.) I had knee surgeries in 98, 99, 00, 01 & 03...each time I was on crutches for about 4-10 weeks. Not much time to heal from one to the next. Well, now my knees are shot...I have osteoarthritis & condromalacia grade 3 & i can't kneel or squat - I bend to do everything. Needless to say...my back gave up on me too.

I have spondololythesis (bilateral pars interarticularis) & I had a bulging disc (L5-S1) for quite awhile until a neurosurgeon put me in a home traction device - it herniated my disc quickly & greatly!! In the mean time, I have been in PT/Pool Therapy/Massage Therapy since the injury of my knee...at first for knees and now the back. After the herniation, I started bouncing around from one Dr to the next trying to figure out what to do...i have tried all the conservative stuff (except Acupuncture...i think that's next) and finally had a heart-to-heart talk with my Physiatrist yesterday.

He says that the L5 & S1 nerves are pinched, I have pain in my back, hip, butt & leg...with numbness & heaviness in my leg often. I have anterior displacement of the L5 and the huge herniation. He says there is no way around surgery...he wants to do a nerve block on both nerves within the next couple weeks until I see a new neurosurgeon about surgery - one he is referring me to. The first injection didn't do a darn thing!

I personally don't know 1 person that has had a successful back surgery no matter what type of surgery it was. One doc even told me that it would make me worse...it would get rid of the leg pain, but not the back pain. I am so miserable & don't care what they do anymore, but since I have so many problems with my knees, I'm worried about cascading problems with my back because I will always have to bend more than the average Joe. I don't know what to do...can somebody please let me know how their fusion went? My house looks like a convalesent home with foam wedges, heating pads, ice-packs, TENS units, ace wraps, Sombra, pills, canes, reachers...blah, blah, blah. I'm set for my senior years!!! LOL

I have also heard from a couple Dr's about "caging" for the fusion...do they still take bone from the hip when they do this? I can't just have a discectomy because of the bilateral fractures in L5...HELPPPPPPP!!!!! Has anybody had the caging?

Thanks for letting me ramble on like a crazy woman & do hope you can help me or give me some sort of advice. Endless nights of staying up because of the pain, the weeks i'm in bed on my back because I can't walk with the "flare-ups" and all the pain meds...have about sent me over the edge! I see there are many like me & I feel for all of you (and also read your posts at 2 in the morning...<giggle>.) Take care & God Bless.[/FONT][/COLOR]
__________________
~Vicki~

Last edited by Wiley519; 08-27-2004 at 10:16 PM.

 
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Old 08-28-2004, 04:32 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: ohio
Posts: 330
ltedeschi HB User
Re: Hi! I'm new & really need some advice or similar experiences.

So sorry to hear of all of these health problems.You have a major concern with having a fusion You will not be able to bend for quite awhile and then you are not to do it often until it is completely healed. We could be talking a year.I would be very careful with this.It is a realy had surgery and if you keep bending you wont get a fusion and wil still have great pain.
I do wish you luck
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Good Health to all
Lisa

 
Old 08-28-2004, 05:19 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 269
BobiM HB User
Re: Hi! I'm new & really need some advice or similar experiences.

[QUOTE=

I have spondololythesis (bilateral pars interarticularis) & I had a bulging disc (L5-S1) for quite awhile until a neurosurgeon put me in a home traction device - it herniated my disc quickly & greatly!! In the mean time, I have been in PT/Pool Therapy/Massage Therapy since ......

He says that the L5 & S1 nerves are pinched, I have pain in my back, hip, butt & leg...with numbness & heaviness in my leg often. I have anterior displacement of the L5 and the huge herniation. He says there is no way around surgery...he wants to do a nerve block on both nerves within the next couple weeks until I see a new neurosurgeon about surgery - one he is referring me to. The first injection didn't do a darn thing!

I personally don't know 1 person that has had a successful back surgery no matter what type of surgery it was. One doc even told me that it would make me worse...it would get rid of the leg pain, but not the back pain. I am so miserable & don't care what they do anymore, but since I have so many problems with my knees, I'm worried about cascading problems with my back because I will always have to bend more than the average Joe. I don't know what to do...can somebody please let me know how their fusion went? My house looks like a convalesent home with foam wedges, heating pads, ice-packs, TENS units, ace wraps, Sombra, pills, canes, reachers...blah, blah, blah. I'm set for my senior years!!! LOL

I have also heard from a couple Dr's about "caging" for the fusion...do they still take bone from the hip when they do this? I can't just have a discectomy because of the bilateral fractures in L5...HELPPPPPPP!!!!! Has anybody had the caging?

Thanks for letting me ramble on like a crazy woman & do hope you can help me or give me some sort of advice. Endless nights of staying up because of the pain, the weeks i'm in bed on my back because I can't walk with the "flare-ups" and all the pain meds...have about sent me over the edge! I see there are many like me & I feel for all of you (and also read your posts at 2 in the morning...<giggle>.) Take care & God Bless.[/FONT][/COLOR][/QUOTE]



My son is going to have fusion surgery for Grade III spondylolisthesis in Nov. He is your age with the same symptoms and has had 5 consults in NYC and Philly. They all say the same thing - surgery with bone graft from iliac crest. From everything I've heard and everything doctors have told him it seems that spondylolisthesis usually has a decent outcome., but who ever knows until it's over with.

If you have an anterior/posaterior approach they can use a cadaver bone and BMP (Bone Morphogenetic Protein). They are more likely to use this approach on women than on men because there may be soe sexual problems in males albeit a small percentage. The FDA hasn't approved BMP for a posterior approach yet.

My son will be having the posterior approach with a bone graft.

Coincidentally the doctor my son has selected just had the same surgery himself for spondylolisthesis. He is doing fine 3 months out. He also had the bone graft himself.

One doctor out of 5 said they didn't need to do a bone graft and would use bone that was removed from his spine and mix it with Bone Matrix and he said it should do as well. This neurosurgeon has an excellent reputation too, but my son seemed to bond with the one who had the same problem as he.

I am worried about the outcome too but it has to be done since he can't live like this. His will be a two level fusion and they will use caging. I saw the cage and it looked nothing like I had pictured. It was just this little thing that fits between the disks (at least I think that's where it goes but may be wrong).

Oh, before I forget, my friend had this surgery and said it was the best thing she ever did.

Bobi

 
Old 08-28-2004, 06:42 AM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: N. of Seattle Washington
Posts: 3
Wiley519 HB User
Re: Hi! I'm new & really need some advice or similar experiences.

Thank you Bobi & Lisa for your help...the bending is a real concern, also a valid problem I am going to encounter no matter what I do, so thank you for the mention of problems with the fusion...I will be discussing this with the neurosurgeon. Thanks again ladies...i really appreiciate it!!!
__________________
~Vicki~

 
Old 08-28-2004, 09:00 AM   #5
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 249
Jenna'sMom HB User
Re: Hi! I'm new & really need some advice or similar experiences.

Wiley,
Sorry to hear you're going through so many problems. Knee and back problems in combination are hard. I completely tore my ACL in Feb. but decided to wait on fixing it until after my back surgery.

There is a thread called "good fusion outcomes wanted", you should go read through that. There have been alot of success stories. I'm one of them. I don't know how you're knee problems will affect your outcome. I have been squatting alot to avoid bending. But I am only 6 weeks post op. They grabbers that are very useful for reaching things on the floor, I used that alot in the beginning.

Good luck,
Julie
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Julie

APLIF T4-S1 on july 19, 2004
Harrington rod T5 - T12 1982

 
Old 08-28-2004, 12:51 PM   #6
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 35
healmyback HB User
Re: Hi! I'm new & really need some advice or similar experiences.

You may want to hold out until Artificial Disc Replacement comes out. Fusion may be great relief but it affects other discs above and below and as you age. it will more likely hurt your other discs if not careful, where ADR does not. But just search more before jumping the gun. My dad had knee prob and surgery and Cortizone shot took care of his knee that has been bothering him for a long time. Although who know if it will come back. Good luck

 
Old 08-29-2004, 12:22 PM   #7
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,134
flyonthewall HB User
Re: Hi! I'm new & really need some advice or similar experiences.

I had a posterior 4-level fusion with BMP. At 6 weeks I was told it was fusing and I was told I could drive. I'm still not supposed to be bending---if you can't squat I don't know what you can do. I have those grabbers in every room so they are handy. I'm going to be weaned off the brace at three months.
fly

 
Old 08-29-2004, 01:17 PM   #8
Senior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 269
BobiM HB User
Re: Hi! I'm new & really need some advice or similar experiences.

[QUOTE=flyonthewall]I had a posterior 4-level fusion with BMP. At 6 weeks I was told it was fusing and I was told I could drive. I'm still not supposed to be bending---if you can't squat I don't know what you can do. I have those grabbers in every room so they are handy. I'm going to be weaned off the brace at three months.
fly[/QUOTE]


Please keep us posted as to how you're doing. Did you have that done in the USA? How are you feeling now?

Bobi

 
Old 08-30-2004, 04:08 AM   #9
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,134
flyonthewall HB User
Re: Hi! I'm new & really need some advice or similar experiences.

I had my surgery in NE Pennsylvania. Stenosis was causing a big problem with my legs so I had a lamenectomy. At the same time, because my spine was so unstable I was fused from L3-S1. Back pain wasn't an issue. I wasn't on any pain meds before surgery or after I came home.
fly

 
Old 08-30-2004, 04:11 AM   #10
Senior Member
(female)
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 269
BobiM HB User
Re: Hi! I'm new & really need some advice or similar experiences.

That's where I live. Can you tell me who did your surgery? I'm interested since they used the BMP with a posterior approach and am interested in this.

Bobi

 
Old 08-30-2004, 04:19 AM   #11
Senior Veteran
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,134
flyonthewall HB User
Re: Hi! I'm new & really need some advice or similar experiences.

I'm not allowed to post a name but it was in Columbia County.
fly

 
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