Avoid Back Surgery by having Bariatric Surgery Instead?
I am a 42 year old woman with severe DDD in both my cervical and my lumbar spine. I have had a C4-5 ACDF in November of 2006 and now have re-herniated above and below my fusion. I also have a 9mm extruded posterior-lateral disk herniation at L 4-5 and a smaller central disk protrusion at L5-S1. i am in chronic pain with constant cervicogenic headaches, neck and shoulder pain from my neck issues, and then from my lower back problems I have chronic pain from the small of my back down into my buttocks, then radiating into my right hip and down my right leg. Twice in the last week I have fallen when my right leg abruptly gave out on me.
My neurosurgeon is hesitant to extend my cervical fusion, or to go ahead with a lumbar fusion at this time as I have another condition called Joint Hyper-mobility Disorder. Evidently this condition makes my joints too soft and flexible. The neurosurgeon says that therefore joints adjacent to any fusion sites will not be able to handle the additional stress the fusion creates upon them and are prone to herniating themselves, much like what has happened in the last year to my neck. He wants me to hold out as long as possible as he believes artificial disk technology is emerging and once it has matured a step or two further it might be the best answer in my situation.
All of this has gotten me to thinking. I'm quite a plump woman. At 5'4" I weigh 220 pounds and have a BMI of about 37. I tend to carry my excess weight on the upper half of my body. I have large breasts, large upper arms, and a large double chin all pulling on my damaged neck. I also have a large abdomen, pulling at my lower back. As my back problems have exacerbated my ability to be active has decreased significantly and right now I can only walk for a few minutes at a time. I have been thinking that losing as much as I can of my excess weight would remove allot of the stress and strain on my neck and back. And since exercise is difficult for me with my back issues I've been giving gastric bypass surgery some serious consideration.
I'm wondering, have any of you tried significant weight loss as a means to improve your back health? Has anyone else resorted to bariatric surgery? Did it make a difference? Would you do it again?
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type 3
Severe DDD with multiple herniations and areas of stenosis, 16 affected disks!
C4-5 ACDF 2006
C3-6 ACDF 2013
Chronic Myofaschial Pain Syndrome