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Old 10-15-2004, 09:51 AM   #1
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Terri43 HB User
Question Back from neuro appt.

Well I just got home from my neuro appt and he said I need to have a anterior cervical fusion with BMP and a anterior,posterior interbody lumbar fusion with cages. He is going to tell me on monday when He is going to do the surgery. He said he will do the back first and a week later he can do the neck.If anyone can give me any idea how long the recovery time is on these two surgerys..thanks ahead of time for any help.

Last edited by Terri43; 10-15-2004 at 02:18 PM.

 
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Old 10-15-2004, 04:09 PM   #2
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Re: Back from neuro appt.

The neck, there are a lot of factors. Do you want to be pain free? That might never happen. At the best, there is an 80% chance of fusion but they should know in eight to six weeks if you are starting to fuse. It takes anywhere from eight months to two and a half years to fuse, if you are going to fuse.

If you don't smoke, aren't around smoke, never smoked, are in good physical condition, they use cadaver bone paste mixed with your bone paste, and the carbon cages, your chances are good. The carbon cages make your fusion X-rays easier to read.

If you follow the doctor's instructions, exactly, and you get a good surgeon, then your chances are good.

All I know about is the neck.

 
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Old 10-16-2004, 06:25 AM   #3
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Re: Back from neuro appt.

Terri,
I had a 3 level (L4-S1) anterior/posterior fusion with cadeaver bone (I smoked for 25 years, quit 4 years ago) screws and rods. I am 3 months post-op and doing fabulous! I have none of the pre-surgery pain, I went back to work a month ago, and started back to the gym last week. I had a thoracic fusion from T5-T12 23 years ago and that's still holding up well.

I did have a little setback at 2.5 weeks that landed me in bed for 4 days. I way overdid it with the mileage I was covering in one walk (1.5 miles). Shorter more frequent walks are the way to go. More than anything else, a positive attitude is the best way to recover.

I'm really not sure how your cervical fusion will impact things, that's a good discussion to have with your doctor. Write down all your questions, make a copy, and give it to your doc. He should be willing to go through and answer them for you.

Healthboards can be a great place for support, but there are also alot of people here who are having problems with their recoveries. The success stories like myself tend to move on with their lives after recovery and don't visit here very often. Try to take the negativity with a grain of salt

I wish you much success with your surgery.
Julie
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Old 10-16-2004, 08:08 PM   #4
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Re: Back from neuro appt.

[COLOR=DarkOrange]Jenna's mom,[/COLOR]
Just curious, when they did the two week return visit x-ray, were you fusing yet? Is there bone growth?

[COLOR=RoyalBlue]Terry:[/COLOR]

There is a much shorter recovery time for the neck than the back. My husband is not recovered but he is pain free and returning to work this monday. No fusion yet, but it has been only two weeks. They told him that he would not know if bone was going to grow for at least four months. But, with the plates and screws, he is able to return to work, light duty.

good luck,

 
Old 10-17-2004, 06:53 AM   #5
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Re: Back from neuro appt.

Betty,
First of all I didn't see me doctor at 2 weeks. I saw him at 4 weeks. The doctor didn't say if it had started to fuse or not, just that everything looked good. At my visit last week he said everything looked pretty solid, I imagine at 4 weeks some level of fusion was happening. I have actually been given my doc's blessing to go back to normal life. I don't need to come back and see him unless there's a problem. Hope that helps.
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APLIF T4-S1 on july 19, 2004
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Old 10-17-2004, 03:05 PM   #6
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Re: Back from neuro appt.

Thanks everyone, I work as a CNA in a nursing home and want to get back to work as soon as possible. I know I might not be able to do the same work but there are other jobs in the nursing home. Just trying to get an idea when I might be able to get back to doing any kind of work that isn't sitting at a desk, I'm not a desk type person. but need to get back to work and be around other people. it's been 4 months out of work so far. and hoping that W/C approves the surgery sooner than it approved the neurosurgeon. The doctor said that is my only option.

 
Old 10-17-2004, 04:51 PM   #7
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Re: Back from neuro appt.

I am a CNA too, and I can tell you my dr told me I CANNOT do that work anylonger. So, better sit with your doc and discuss this stuff. If he says you should not go back, I would mind him, but if you choose to return as a CNA just keep in mind what you will be doing to your back everytime you bend to make a bed, change and clean someone, transfer a patient, bathe a patient, get them dressed, up from bed and back, not to mention the amount of time you spend on your feet. A nursing home is where I re-injured myself and now I have not only the bulge that I had removed two years ago, but one at the level above, a spur, a tear, a bulge in the neck, spondylosis, arthritis, and a pinched nerve. I have not been to work (not the nursing home, had to quit that one) since everything got bad in July. I have a good idea they will use me elsewhere, but if they don't, I will have to look elsewhere for a job. Maybe unit clerk, work at a vet clinic, something. Next year I hope to go to LPN school, though I will be limited as to where I can work, it is better to have that and do what I love, than to have nothing at all.
I wish you the best and hope you have a good recovery.

 
Old 10-17-2004, 08:28 PM   #8
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Wink Re: Back from neuro appt.

I am 8 wks. and am returning to work (lt. duty and shorten hrs.) tomorrow. I saw my surgeon at 6 wks. and he said it wouldn't do any good to do an xray yet, because there wouldn't be any signs of fusion yet. He said at 3mo. I wouldn't be fused but that he would be able to see if fusion had begun. Good luck,

Lorie
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Old 10-17-2004, 10:56 PM   #9
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Re: Back from neuro appt.

terri, I don't know if I asked or not, but what were you diagnosed with???? I am trying to figure out if I am going to have surgery or not. I know I probably will, but I just really don't know about some of it.

 
Old 10-17-2004, 11:13 PM   #10
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Re: Back from neuro appt.

[QUOTE=Jenna'sMom]Betty,
First of all I didn't see me doctor at 2 weeks. I saw him at 4 weeks. The doctor didn't say if it had started to fuse or not, just that everything looked good. At my visit last week he said everything looked pretty solid, I imagine at 4 weeks some level of fusion was happening. I have actually been given my doc's blessing to go back to normal life. I don't need to come back and see him unless there's a problem. Hope that helps.[/QUOTE]


I was just curious because there are so many different stories. My husband was supposed to wait for another couple of weeks to see his doc but it didn't fit into their shedule.

You don't have to go back to see if it is fusing? Ever? We were given horror stories about bone stimulators and such if fusion doesn't happen.

How will you know if you fuse or not? This is what stumps me. We were told that they use the carbon cages so that it is easier to X-ray and look for fusion. How come we have to keep going back?


 
Old 10-18-2004, 07:30 AM   #11
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Re: Back from neuro appt.

Betty,
Initial fusion usually occurs at about 3 months from what I've been told. My fusion looked good to my doc (who is one of the best in LA) I believe him. Since I have a history of fusing well, and have been exposed to too many xrays in my life, he chose not to do anymore. I don't think I would be able to do everything that I'm doing if it wasn't pretty solid already.

Every doctor approaches things in a slightly different manner, because of numerous factors; his/her education, age, and most importantly, his/her patient. Every patient is different, so every approach to recovery needs to be.

I hope your husband heals quickly. Good luck
Julie
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Old 10-18-2004, 11:39 AM   #12
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Re: Back from neuro appt.

Mel this is what my MRI shows.

Ok to start off i'm under workmans comp. this is my MRI results.Findings-@ C3-4 there is a diffuse somewhat irregular bulging disk that is eccentric to the left. the disk extends back and impinges upon the anterior aspect of the cord. AP diameter is 8 mm at this level. C4-5 there is a diffuse bulging disk symmetrical, with AP diameter of the cord 8 mm.@ C5-6 there is diffuse bulging disk that is eccentric to the right. there is bilateral nerve root foraminal narrowing, but worse on right than on left. the AP diameter of the canal is 9mm.

there is diffusely bulging disks @ L3-4 and small central disk hernation at L2-3.

 
Old 10-18-2004, 11:55 AM   #13
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Re: Back from neuro appt.

sounds similar in ways to mine- I have a bulge at my C5-6 with a pinched nerve, loss of lordosis, and spondylosis. I have DDD in both L4-5 and L5-S1, each has a bulge and at L5-S1 there is a spur and a tear. I had a microdiscectomy to remove a bulge in 2002 at that level and it only took one year of work for that disc to go from healthy to poor. The one above was already shrinking when I had that surgery, and now the one below is. The first doc I saw, who wouldn't surgically touch me with a ten foot pole said I can't lift anymore. NOW, I don't know what that would mean after a fusion though. I know when you fuse, you run the risk of injuring the discs above and below the fusion site, and that is something to keep in mind. You don't want to end up with the whole lumbar spine fused. I just want ya to think about it, but you do what you feel you need to do. I am just trying to help others avoid the mistake I made. After my first surgery, I was told to be very careful, and that returning to work as a nurse asst would be risking reinjury. But, I was so hard headed. I felt I couldn't live life if I wasn't doing nursing work. So, jumped into a nursing home to get my CNA and within a couple months couldn't stand up straight when I would leave work. As soon as I graduated I quit, I told them if I stayed, I would end up in the hospital. Now, a year later, still working as a CNA but in an enviroment where I didn't have to lift as much and had therapists to help. But, being hard headed, I didn't trust other CNAs to help right or lift right so I would take over transfering the patient and have the other CNA stand by. They just hadn't been trained correctly on how to lift and transfer rehab patients. So, now even though this job didn't require much, the job last year was the one that I feel hurt me, and the repetitive work of bending and lifting for the past eight months just was the breaking point. Many CNAs wear a back brace, I never did. So, that may be something to look into . Good luck to you!

 
Old 10-18-2004, 11:57 AM   #14
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Re: Back from neuro appt.

sounds similar in ways to mine- I have a bulge at my C5-6 with a pinched nerve, loss of lordosis, and spondylosis. I have DDD in both L4-5 and L5-S1, each has a bulge and at L5-S1 there is a spur and a tear. I had a microdiscectomy to remove a bulge in 2002 at that level and it only took one year of work for that disc to go from healthy to poor. The one above was already shrinking when I had that surgery, and now the one below is. The first doc I saw, who wouldn't surgically touch me with a ten foot pole said I can't lift anymore. NOW, I don't know what that would mean after a fusion though. I know when you fuse, you run the risk of injuring the discs above and below the fusion site, and that is something to keep in mind. You don't want to end up with the whole lumbar spine fused. I just want ya to think about it, but you do what you feel you need to do. I am just trying to help others avoid the mistake I made. After my first surgery, I was told to be very careful, and that returning to work as a nurse asst would be risking reinjury. But, I was so hard headed. I felt I couldn't live life if I wasn't doing nursing work. So, jumped into a nursing home to get my CNA and within a couple months couldn't stand up straight when I would leave work. As soon as I graduated I quit, I told them if I stayed, I would end up in the hospital. Now, a year later, still working as a CNA but in an enviroment where I didn't have to lift as much and had therapists to help. But, being hard headed, I didn't trust other CNAs to help right or lift right so I would take over transfering the patient and have the other CNA stand by. They just hadn't been trained correctly on how to lift and transfer rehab patients. So, now even though this job didn't require much, the job last year was the one that I feel hurt me, and the repetitive work of bending and lifting for the past eight months just was the breaking point. Many CNAs wear a back brace, I never did. So, that may be something to look into . Good luck to you!-melissa

 
Old 10-18-2004, 12:05 PM   #15
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Re: Back from neuro appt.

I work as a Restorative CNA. helping people learn to walk and eat and ROM exercises when they finish in PT. The person I was helping transfer was suposed to be a hoyer lift but didn't want to be lifted that way so she was transfered with 2 people. I always wore a back support while working. and I had worked with this person but on that day her legs gave out. I didn't want her to fall to the floor, she was about 300lbs and had knee replacments.

 
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