59 years old, relatively good health. I have a grade 2 anteriolithesis at l4 and l5 with no disk in between, bone on bone. Mild scoliosis, and some pars fractures at l4-l5. Orthopedic surgeon, good one, wants to do decompression and interbody fusion on l3-l5 with some bone removal at back to make more room for the "squashed nerve". Rods and screws. Two other spine surgeons agree. Have had this condition for many years, but other than some lower back pain on and off no real problem. Last year in March after some out of the ordinary lifting and carrying I had 6 months of severe pain and wanted surgery desparately in December. Due to some medical issues with my wife, I held off. I take Mobic and six 325mg tylenol a day and an occasional vicodin.
Lately the pain is not as bad unless I overdo it. Still have lower back pain, sciatica, groin pain, and foot pain. But, no where near the 6 months last year. Weak legs and very occasional numbness in one leg at a time.
My delemna is whether or not to now hold off until it gets worse again. Will this type of structural damage I have get worse or have I seen the worst, since the nerve is already pancaked at l4-l5.
I have some other possible surgeries I could do, like the thumb and shoulder. Not sure if the groin pain is related to the back, have not had that xray'd yet.
If I knew it was inevitable, I would do it now at 59 while I have access to good Dr's. Also, my wife's issues may return and we can't afford to both be down at the same time. I can live with the current pain levels although they do wear you down long term.
Looking for anyone with similar spine issues who has had them long term with no increase in severity. This is a tough decision when you have up and down days/weeks. The surgery is serious and I could be no better off, or worse after. I am a good candidate and the Dr's I have seen and would do the surgery are highly rated.
Any thoughts, I know it is ultimately my decision and no one knows for sure how things will progress on any one individual. But other insights and personal stories help.
Last issue, is the Dr I prefer for several reasons is about to leave area, so I am now pressed for time. Not good when making a decision like this.
Here's the deal-you have some nerve damage now. The longer you let this go, the more serious the damage is going to be. You don't want to have permanent nerve damage. That bites. You may have seen the worse, but it isn't going to get any better. It will sit where it is and gradually get worse as time passes.
I put off my fusion twice-my hubby almost had my head. Then I had an EMG done and it showed permanent nerve damage in both legs with it being more serious in one over the other. My surgeon told me that he couldn't buy me any more time...
Personally I would go now while you are still healthy and have a good chance at recovery and can pick your docs. Better to get it over with seeing it is something that you are facing and have been told needs to be done. It's not a walk in the park, but you can handle it.
I agree with you 100%. I have decided to have the surgery. It will be on the 12th, this Monday. Done a lot of research and both me and my wife have had surgeries before, so feel as prepared as possible knowing nothing is certain and can change. Monitored several health boards like this and have gleaned a lot of good info.
Good luck on your surgery. I also need neck surgery & need another fusion on my lower back and have been hesitating. Some days I feel better than others, and that is what makes me hesitate. However, the time is coming that I need to make a decision.