My dr. told me this (regarding T6-7 fusion) that if the pain is midline, the success rate is 50/50. If the pain is more off center, success rate is 80%. I'm hoping I'm too soon out to know what my success is. I had the extreme lateral approach.
My s1/s2 fusion without hardware at 17 was a 100% successful. I was told then that I would never run again. Well I proved them wrong and led a pain free life until 3 years ago. I am 42 soon to be 43. I was also told that I would probably need another fusion in my lifetime and well that turned out to be true.
The results are still out on my L5/S1 fusion - I am almost 5 weeks out. I will say that it appears to be successful at this point. I have no back pain; however, I still have some leg pain. My doctor told me not to expect 100% success rate because that rarely happens with fusions. He told me I could probably expect a 75% success rate and he anticipated that I would have some permanent nerve damage due to the length of time I experienced sciatica pain.
My current surgeon said that I could expect further surgery down the road such as laminectomy or spinal fusion due to the domino fusion affect and the spinal stenosis I have.
Jack - if I understand what you are asking.....my doctor was simply saying that the fusion was not a 100% cure all and that fusions as a rule are not a 100% cure all. You are more than likely to still have problems after a fusion; however, you should receive a substantial reduction in the pain after a fusion.
I had a l4-s1 fusion or partial fusion with rods and my Dr first told me I would have 50-50 percent chance of being pain free and to get used to the idea of always being on pain meds. When I went for my appointment to discuss the surgery and set the date he told my husband I had a 70-30 percent chance of being pain free. I think they don't expect a fusion to 100 percent take away the pain. Sometimes it is real confusing.
Same story here. I'm looking at L5-S1 fusion. There are two different stats I'm interested in. Successful fusion and amount of pain one year out. The two apparently don't go hand in hand and seems to depend on the surgeons subjective opinion. A neurosurgeon told me I had a 25% chance of the pain being worse. Of the other 75%, I could expect a little improvement to a lot of improvement but 0% chance I would ever be off opioids. A orthopedic surgeon said I could reasonably expect an 80% improvement in pain and maybe more. He felt the residual pain would not require narcotics but he said expect another surgery in the future for L4-5 and/or L3-4.
I had L-4 -S1 fused a year ago with the TLIF approach. I am 85% better, until I flare up. The success rate is based upon what condition you are having a fusion for. Mine was spondy and most of my pain was mechanical. When that was fixed my pain was nearly stopped. My understanding is that fusion for degenerative disk, is not as successful and being fused may even degenerate you more rappidly.
L4-S1 TLIF FEB 06
TRYING TO MAKE IT THROUGH RECOVERY
I believe blue atlas is right from all that I have read...the actual fusion is 97 percent sucess rate. The other percentage is the chances of being pain free no problems right???? My doc said I'd have a 70 percent chance of eliminating all the pain and nerves etc.
Most of the patients posting on here have had fusions done within the last couple of years. My fusion done 25 yrs ago is very solid "a successful fusion". But the outcome of fusions really isn't apparent in the first few years.
In my case after one year of very slow recovery due to complications. I got five years of dramatic improvement. Then at the 6 year mark the sciatica pain came back on a daily basis. I couldn't walk that far without a chronic limp. Nighttime sciatica pain came in 2 month bouts and then calmed down for a few months. This went on for many years till two years ago I started having severe nerve pain. I am one of the patients who has levels adjacent to the fusion that have deteriorated. Surgeons pretty much don't want to touch you as there has been a domino effect in the spine. Pain management is the only route left.
At the time of my fusion I had suffered with severe back attacks for 16 years, back then they wouldn't operate when you were young. I was bedridden most of the time. Recovery times were longer and the surgical techniques were different. With that being said the adjacent levels to the fusion are more heavilly stressed and over time the likelihood of further problems is a reality.
Would I have the fusion again? Yes as I was pretty much incapacitated most of the time and I had no semblance of a normal life. After 16 years of problems I did get some relief. I believe that most fusion patients get about 6years of improvement before the other levels start to go.
Hopefully artificial disc replacement will replace fusions sometime down the road when they are perfected.