Re: Hemilaminectomy Incision Questions
I'm the proud recipient of 5 spine surgeries. 3 lumbar fusions, 1 cervical fusion, and 1 cervical foraminotomy for stenosis.
Each fusion has removed all or part of a disc. My view is that if a disc is damaged enough and will not do well long term with a minimally invasive approach then fusion, to provide stability, is a viable option to provide long term relief.
When I had my cervical fusion the disc above was showing signs of deterioration. I wish I had pushed to add that level to the fusion. Looks like a possible 2nd cervical fusion for me, possibly this year, due to searing pain in biceps not relieved by anything else.
Most recently L3-L4 had to be fused (17 years after L4-S1) fusion. Personally each fusion has provided significant relief and has been worth it. I've been able to get back to hiking, camping, bike riding,traveling (business and pleasure), etc.
So please know that for some of us fusions are the right decision.
Without requesting and reviewing your own surgical report and looking at the release form you signed before surgery, you can't yet know what your surgeon found when he got into the area and if he had anticipated possible fusion (which may be on the release form signed by you prior to surgery). Tests can lead to projected surgery type, but very often the surgeons find more damage or different results when they open up the patient.
With my cervical foraminotomy my surgeon was stunned at the amount of stenosis and amazed I had survived on low level narcotics. With my L4-S1 fusion in 1993 it was planned to be L5-S1 w/hardware but the L5 vertebrae was not sitting right so the surgeon had to alter his plan to result in a stable spine. I respect his decision and result.
I think some people are just stuck with spine problems. There are people I know who have life long heart problems, hip problems, migraines, knee problems, GI (stomach) problems, gout, MS, etc, all of whom may face repeated treatments and surgeries. A problematic spine may require various treatments and surgeries. I'll do whatever it takes to have a better quality of life and thus far spine fusions have done this for me. The recovery is tough but if in the end I am happy, it's all worth it.
Rt thumb fusion '13. R&L thumb arthroplasty '12 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS' 11. Fusions: L5-S1('87), L4-S1('93), C5-C7('06), L3-S1('10), C4-C5('13). C5-C7 foraminotomy '08