I had a laminectomy 5 years ago then a fusion of L3-4-5 2 1/2 years ago. Now my surgeon tells me my disc is hernated badly above on L-2 and will have to have another fusion done on Jan. 11 and they will take out the old hardware and add more. Just wondering about the recovery time with the 2nd fusion. Worse or about the same? Thanks
I don't think there is any way to predict, as there are so many variables. Did you have a difficult time with the first fusion? Was it done from the back side?
My second fusion was a similar deal to what you are having and I found it less painful...and I had one level done the first time, and then it was added on above and below for the 2nd fusion. Since the screws were not compatible, my surgeon had to remove hardware, and then insert new screws and connect the whole thing with new rods.
My recovery has been very slow, for a number of reasons, but it has not been painful. The surgery itself was so much easier than the first time -- (at least for me--the surgeon had several unexpected surprises) -- I felt quite well the next day. I was in the hospital 3 nights, and released on the morning of the 4th day.
My surgeon was very, very conservative with my rehab, as we all considered this my last chance to resolve my pain issues, and none of us wanted me to do anything that might cause any nerve pain.
In a way, recovery should be at least as long as the first time because you will find that you now have a large, immovable area in the middle of your back that cannot and must not bend or twist. This immovable area will put additional stress on the adjacent disc segment where they meet, so you will need to be additionally careful, especially while everything is healing.
I guess the reason I said it was easier the second time is because I was pain-free for the first time in over five years. I could stand and walk again without pain, which is something that never occurred after my first fusion.
One reason why I think it was easier is because, after going in over the same incision for 3 times, I think there was less sensation than there was after the first surgery.
In any case, I don't think it will be any worse. When are you having surgery?
What do you mean by recovery time? How long before going back to work? How long before fusion normally fuses? How long before you start feeling better?
Did you have a MRI,myelogram,pictures taken?.......... How does he know you need another fusion?
I would get a second and possibly a 3rd opinion before I would have someone perform another fusion on me. Even if you are comfortable with this surgeon, please don't take this procedure lightly.
I have had 6 back surgeries in my life and each one was somewhat different. My 1st fusion, it was 14 months before I started feeling alot better. This last fusion I had was a 2-level fusion and even though I'm having problems now, I was feeling better from that in 6 weeks time. So each one has can be different. Do you smoke? Smoking can effect the fusion process.
Your age can make a difference. Is your surgeon a qualified spine specialist or nuerosurgeon? If he is just a orthropedic surgeon, I would feel more comfortable with a spine specialist that does these all the time.
So, as you can see there is alot of factors that factor in with your recovery.
Give more info and we can possibly give you more answers.
There is many board members on here that can tell you there stories and give you more insight. Good Luck in your future. Hope you become as pain-free as you can.
My doc is a neuro surgeon and the chief of surgery for the University of Washington and the chair of the college neurosurgeons. He is well respected all over the us. I am 62 and feel like I heal easily most of the time. I am taking 4 weeks from work. I had an mri with contrast and he felt the second fusion was the only way it would heal.