I've already had one back surgery and he was going to take out the disc at L 4/5 but just cleaned it up and got bone spurs off the nerves. Felt too good and two years later cut down a tree and screwed it up again piling it up and now wants to do a fusion. Anyone think the Cage does better or just cadaver bone or my own. I have no real pain unless I walk then the left side of lower back gets to burning after 5 minutes and if I ignore that the right leg goes numb. I've gained weight since I used to walk 3 miles a day but only 10 pounds. Should I put it off as long as possible since no more damage should be done or get it over with? First of many questions to come. Thanks!
They wanted to fuse 4-5 and 5-1 all together for me. Over 6 months I have done it all, and done about 3185.5 hours of internet research. Most of the problems in the back are caused originally by bad disks. (Nerve root damage, facet joint problems, etc. Fix the disk, fix the problems???? Right now I am looking into drx 9000 disk decompression system. Its supposed to create a vacuum where the disks are messed up and they suck fluid and stuff back in to themselves. My first treatment is next Monday. As a back up plan, I am still scheduled for surgery in Bremen, Germany with a 2 level artificial disk replacement. (Maverick disks.) MAKE SURE before you fuse!!! Good luck.
PS- I am a long time reader, first time poster on this forum.... Its the best one!!!! Thanks to all!
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Hi and welcome to the boards..you too paul. Just wanted to let you know that I had lvl 2 fusion L4-L5, L5-S1 in November. My ortho surgeon used cages and synthetic bone graft. At my last appt which was my 3 month follow up I already had a good amount of bone growth.
Thought I would mention the synthetic bone since you only mentioned your own and cadaver. Don't know if that is something your dr uses or not, have been told not all do.
Mine doesn't use the cage system just the regular old fusion. I've read lots of good things about the bone growth with the synthetic and cage system and only one DR does in it COlorado Springs and would hate to go to Denver. I'm going to try and get another opinion before I let my guy who I think is good cut on me a 2nd time. Good info on these boards. Thanks for input.
Hi there. Welcome to this board. You are in good company... lots of us on here unfortunately with back issues.
My one level fusion was done with the cages, the infuse BMP, and ALSO my own bone as well. What was done, is that when they removed the bone from the spine to do the surgery, they ground that up and put that into the cages along with the infuse BMP, to provide an even greater success for fusion.
Don't know if it made a difference or not, but I was solidly fused at 7 months post op.
If you want a particular type of back sugery, you will just need to find the doctor that performs that type of surgery. I was adament that no bone was being taken from my hip and also was interested in ADR instead of fusion. That is how I found my last surgeon, by checking out who did what and so on. It pays to do as much homework as possible and obtain several opinions to make the best decision for yourself.
Let us know what you decide. Take care. Tammy
"believe in the beauty of your dreams"- E. Roosevelt
L5/S1 bulging @ 18, now 46; still there (but no pain)
Fusion at L4/L5 Apr -2006
Solidly Fused Nov-2006
A Success, but still improving!
I had a fusion done 5 weeks ago. My surgeon originally told me I would have a cage but once he got in he realized that it was to risky to put one in because of the narrow opening thru the side of the vertebrae. Structurally it was not safe.
He also told me he would probably use a combination of hip/pelvis bone, remanants from the surgery and cadever bone. He did not need any bone --- he had plenty of remanants from the surgery.
Sorry it has taken so long for me to get back to you. I wrote another thread "Surgery April 11th EEKK!!". My fusion surgery will be on April 11. I have had some great advise from great people.
A couple of them mentioned disc replacement, I have 3 really bad ones. I am very nervous, but at the same time, I want something done. I'll keep posting about it.
hey bro, take it from me i have a 5 level fusion L2 thru S1 plus my Si joint in the pelvic. Fusions dont have a great success rate.My back is actually worse.Everyone is differnt so if you must you must.But i know people other than myself who regret it as well,think about it, your not promised to have the pain go away even by your Doctor if he said the pain will be gone leave his office now because no doctor can promise that, but I can promise you something , your going to lose mobilty big time I have had a total of 5 back surgeries and im only 33, when you go to the bathroom it will be hard to clean yourself because you cant twist like you used to, getting dressed,those are a few things i promise will change but your pain even the Doctor cant promise you relief,back surgery does to things ,it can releive a pinched nerve example herniated disc and 2 it can bring back structure integrity to the spine aka fusion.
If you have any questions any you can write me. Oh yeah I dont think your doc. mentioned this maybe he did but another huge problem with spinal fusions is the discs above your fusion or below will sooner or later be comprimised either by a bulging disc or degeneration, because theyll have more strain on them wich will in time cause more back pain and it can become a never endin g cycle.My diagnose is what they call failed back surgery syndrome, they cant do anything but fill you with pain killers and they dont even do the job.What ever you do I pray its a success.
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Fortunately, some of the older members of this board still check in occasionally to say how well they're doing. Fusions fail about 3% of the time. Those are the ones we hear about most, of course. Like women who are in labor for 36 hours and have back contractions and push for 10 hours, etc. Those are the stories you hear. You don't hear about the 30 minute labor with two little pushes and out comes the smiling baby. Same thing with fusions. A lot of people not only fuse well, but they have a great reduction in pain and are able to get their lives back. What's to talk about?!
Duffy, please don't be scared off from your surgery. There are a lot of success stories. Chances are you'll be one of them. The statistics are in your favor!
Max, I do hope you get some relief. It sounds like you've had a really horrendous experience. There are some other people here on the board with failed fusions, so I hope you'll feel like someone understands your pain and that you'll get some encouragement.
I am in the same boat as Maxcool. I am a young guy (32), have horrible discs from L2 through S1, and have been offered a 3 level laminectomy and fusion at L5-S1 with screws and hardware. I am in constant pain which gets HORRIBLE with activity. I have not been able to work for the last 8 months and have been told I will probably not ever work again. My surgeon has told me the possibility of no pain relief and further disc problems adjacent to the fusion. I have severe spinal stenosis and advanced multi level DDD, and a grade 1 spondy at L5-S1. I had a microdiscectomy at L5-S1 in '05 to correct a crushed and knarled sciatic nerve, which tore my dura sheath and resulted in a spinal fluid leak. The pain I was in before that surgery compared to what I'm in now is different. I have been struggling with the decision whether or not to do the operation. After all, no matter what I'll prolly never work again, and I'll always be in pain. The question is, which way will result in the most pain?
Troy have you have a few opinions on that? My fear, and I am not a doctor, but if they do one level fusion and two or three level laminectomy above it, that you might eventually end up with fusion in those as from what I know that can cause instability. I don't know just wondering how many opinions youve had.
I read alot of your replies and I am not discouraged or scared to the point where I don't want to have this fusion done. My surgeon did say that only a percentage of the pain goes away.
I got on the net last night and read up alot about ADR's and how fusion is done. My doctor I hope will use synthetic bone blueatlas like you. He hasn't said too much about that. I feel for you Max and yea pain pills don't really work that good, once you build up immune to them. The one option for anyone by not having surgery is to wait several years as we get older and our bodies tend to break down anyway with age (i.e.-spine, other bones ).
Now my boyfriend is saying for me to wait and I'm like what are you talking about?, you don't go thru what I am going thru everyday, and he knows better I THINK.
Not too long now, they still haven't set up my toilet thingy and my walker, better call them and bug them about it. You all take care.
Thanks for being here for me, I really appreciate it alot, you don't know how much.
"There is a silence born of love which expresses everything"-Kahil Kabran
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You and I have 99% the same going on. I haven't had a microdicectomy yet. Is that type of surgery similar to fusion? There is a thread out about "how much pain after post-op" on the board, you might want to read some of the testimonials on that subject.
Even tho we know we are in so much pain, we are alive breathing and being with our loved ones and that in itself is comfort. I hope you get relief and all will be ok
I'm back in Colorado and am going to get a second opinion even though my guy is a VP of the Rocky Mtn ortho board and did okay for me the first time the fusion part still gets me even though I hear good and bad and know it doesn't work for all. Know a man who had one in his 70's same L4-5 and started bowling again 6 months later. I just want to walk without pain and numbness for more than 5 minutes. Drove 1600 miles back here and did fine. Thanks for input.