For all you fusion-ites... I've a question that I've asked 2 others in other posts, but figured it'd be best to start a new thread so I can get everyones ideas.
You know how they say that if your have a fusion then there is more pressure and so on... on discs above and below? How did you determine that you were willing to chance it? I'm more scared that if I decide to go ahead & have the fusion that I'll be back in a few years having another & so on. What are the odds? What can be done? I am more terrifed of that then anything else... Any suggestions and ideas are greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance!
It depends how bad you hurt. I've never had constant pain but, between the spinal stenosis and the spondylolisthesis, I could hardly walk. My OSS wanted to book me a year ago but I insisted on waiting until the warm weather. I had a laminectomy and was fused posterior from L3-S1 with BMP on sponges. For today I feel like I won the lottery. I'll worry about tomorrow when it gets here.
If you go to spine.org you'll be able to find a local OSS.
Last edited by flyonthewall; 01-23-2005 at 10:53 AM.
I could barely walk or function before my fusion. I had a severe drop foot, and I didn't want to spend the rest of my life in pain. For me, it was worth the risk of future problems with other discs to have my fusion and get my life back. For me, it was either suffer for the rest of my life or have the surgery. So I chose the surgery, and I'm glad I did. My surgeon was also worried about permanent nerve damage if we waited any longer. If you are careful with lifting, bending, twisting, etc. after your fusion you will reduce the risk of damaging the "good" discs.
If you have chronic sciatic pain down the leg - I'd seriously consider the surgery. You can suffer nerve damage if that goes on too long...
I had mine done 16 years ago - and have not had a problem with any adjacent disks (and I was told back then that I had a 'bulging' disc right above the one I had done)...
I jog, swim, golf.... Only thing I really notice is I can't turn around and look as far over my shoulder (when entering the highway or changing lanes) as much as I used to before the surgery. Other than that, I'm pain free and back to a normal life.
Keep your weight in check - and you shouldn't have to worry about other discs...
I had my fsuion done 6 weeks ago tommorow, and to be honest, by the time came to consider fusion (about 6 months after my back started causing problems) I was willing to do anything. The doctor was worried that NOT doing the surgery would allow the nerves to become permanently damanged, and I didn't think I could handle much more. Once they (my dr and the pain dr) ruled out the liklyhood of fixing my back w/out surgery, I didn't see much sense in waiting. If I am in a position in the future where I need to make a choice about the disks above or below, I will follow my doctor's advice, and make whatever choice is best at the time. I may regret then having done the fusion, but I didn't really see an option in my situation (hopefully by then there may be better choices out there) .
Mr Bob, THANK YOU. You are the first "Long Term" fusionite I have heard from and I really appreciate hearing about your success. It gives me alot of hope!
StMishl Failed Bk Fusion, facet joint/hip issues & RA -Wish I could Jump like him!
I don't even know where to begin to express my thanks and gratitude to all of you who have responded to me. As you all know it is a trying experience in my life and unfortunately the people close to me seem to be more concerned with the 'what if's' then anything. I can't begin to explain my pain to them, nor to anyone else. I seem to question myself, that the back pain I experience is 'normal' unfortunalely deep inside I know that that's not the case.
Fortunately I've all of you, who'll support me know matter what my decision will be. It really scares me to death... but the more I think about it the more I say what the hell, if the fusion doesn't work I'll be in the same amount of pain that I'm in now.......
I don't mean to be a downer, but I'm now 4 months post-op PLIF and have not had much relief from the surgery. But I would do it all over again to get out of this pain. From most people on here, my results are not common. It seems to work for more people than it doesn't. Also, with my 1st fusion, I did get relief for 3 years before the fall I had, so I too can say that it works.
If my neuro told me right now, we need to go in and redo it again, I would be ready. Scared, terrified, and doubting, but if it meant I had a chance I would take it. I can tell you also that after my 1st fusion, after the 3 years, the discs above it are still holding up very well.
So if your quality of life is affected to the point that it's interfering with your normal activities then you may need the surgery. In all my 3 back surgeries, I knew when it was time for surgery. The pain will let you know.
Only you can make the decision. Not your family, friends, or us, your online friends. Just don't 2nd guess your decision, no matter what you decide.
I had my second surgery to remove hardware and redo partially failed fusion on one of the tow levels i had fused in03. I can't begin to tell you how terrified I was, never having any surgeries before this. I would do it again in a heart beat. I could barely walk and was in constant pain for years, I have gotten all the leg and hip pain releived by the first fusion, this last surgery seems to have cleared the back pain that was from some loose hardware. So for me it was well worth the risk. Good luck with what ever you decide and God Bless.
well, I knew there was the risk of the l3-4 going bad, but didn't have to worry about a lower or second one b/c there aren't any more. I guess I thought it was a risk I will willing to take to feel good for as long as I could. Part of me also thought, if it did go bad, then I might consider ADR at that time since I would hope it would be out long enough to know as much about it as possible. So, that is my mind set. Also, I have to make sure I remind myself not to put me into a position to hurt that disc.
Thank you once again - everyone who responded with their storys!
I know that this is a decision that needs to be made by me & me alone, however I'm always 2nd guessing myself. There are days that I'm in intolerable pain, but I can function, I have to function, my daughter needs to be taken care of. Then there are days that I feel, OK. There is not a day that goes by that I don't have some type of pain.. just more & less. I will wait for now, & see how pt continues to go. This is a decision that'll change my life forever - I don't want to be hasty.... Thanks again!
I wasnt going to respond to your post because I am a bad fusion story. But I decided to tell you that on this board you dont find alot of successful fusion outcomes because people that feel better don't find a reason to come back to the boards.
Only you can make that decision, friends and family have no idea what you're feeling.And they will never know. But I truly believe if the success rate was so low with fusion, why would they keep doing them and so often.
You could have the fusion and your life could be changed forever for better or worse.
Does anyone out there know the statistics to Fusion outcomes?
I am very pleased that you responded to me! I want to know good and bad outcomes! I know about the pros and cons, the risks and so on, but I need to hear from real people who have done this. Good or bad, either way you all are real, and it seems better to hear from the actual person then read the statistics (sp?). Can you tell me why your fusion failed?
I think you might be my long lost twin.
My Dad is the one who is making my head spin with these 'what if's' - don't get me wrong, whatever my decision he'll back me, however, his points are valid, & unfortunately there are no answers to his questions......which is frustrating, to me especially!