Hi! New here, it is nice to read all these posts of people who have what I have. I have been out of work for a year due to Spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease,stenosis, blah, blah, blah!
I have gained 30 pounds from inactivity, I have recieved 2 sets of shots, one of which was last week and I am feeling "it" again. The doctor says I will eventually probably need this 2 part surgery, in which he uses only bone to fuse, no metal. I am confused, and in pain. I want the surgery if I can have an active life again without pain, I am 48 years old, and very energenitic, well I still am in my head, I would love to hear some stories on people with this experience. Thank you so much...Pam
I'm sure your story will be familiar one here! I can identify!
Your doctor should order some MRI scans to locate the exact problem and then discuss if surgery can help.
The procedures vary and I guess each doctor has their own preference for what works best. I'll be having an ALIF - anterior lumbar intrabody fusion - but there are other variations on this. ALIF seems to be done for L5/S1 easy access.
I feel more comfortable with the whole idea of surgery after reading all I can about the procedure and then reading about other people's experience.
I would be seeking the guidance of a neurosurgeon specialist doctor if I were you. I'm not sure how different country's systems work but try to find the best dr in your area who has experience of doing the surgery you need. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Like- my first question was "does it work?".
All the best, Mary
The Following User Says Thank You to spinaloz For This Useful Post: pamiross (04-18-2012)
Welcome to the board. I wonder if you could tell us a bit more about your back issue -- like where you have the most pain, what makes it better or worse, at what level (s) are the "problems?"
I assume you are talking about some sort of fusion procedure that is done without the use of hardware. With spondylolisthesis, if surgery is necessary, it is to stabilize the spine, and the only way to do that is to fuse the vertebrae into a solid "bone block."
The Following User Says Thank You to teteri66 For This Useful Post: pamiross (04-18-2012)
Thank you. My problems lie in L3, L4, and L5. The MRI shows mild stenosis. I'm so active and this changed my life overnight. The pain mostly is my lower left side, and sometimes runs down my leg. I cannot get a job right now because I cannot be in any position for more than a couple minutes.
Yes, he wants to do a spinal fusion with lamenectamy? Something like that! With just bone, and no metal or caging. I just never heard of this way. Thank you so much for replying to me.
Okay, here is the latest MRI results, some of which I dont know what it means.
Mild bulging annulus and bilateral L2-L3 facet hypertrophic changes are noted. Similarly, mild bulging annulus and facet hypertrophic changes are seen at L3-L4 and also L4-L5 levels with minimal L4-L5 stenosis. Moderate bilateral L4-L5 facet hypertrophic changes are seen with the presence of fluid within the facets as a result of inflammation.
A laminectomy is a procedure that is almost always, or at least, often done at the same time as a fusion to make more room for the nerves. If a patient has central canal stenosis, it is done to make more room for the nerves, to decompress them. It is sometimes called an "open decompression."
The lamina is the little bony "wing" that you can feel as you run your finger along the backbone when rubbing someone's back. It completes the vertebral arch at each segment of the spine (a segment consists of two vertebrae with the disc in between -- like an oreo cookie).
Your surgeon is proposing a fusion procedure that was common prior to the use of hardware. Bone graft is laid in along either side and when it all grows together, you end up with one block of bone. I would imagine you would need to wear a back brace while it is healing since you would not have hardware supporting you.
Frankly the MRI report you posted doesn't look to me like a report that would indicate a fusion was impending! You have some MILD disc bulging at several levels, and what we would call "arthritis" in the facet joints at the three levels. Often surgery isn't considered until the problems reach the level of moderate to severe.
If you could take off those 30 additional pounds, you might find that your pain is lessened quite a bit. I know it is tough when it hurts to move. The steroid shots can pack on the pounds. I know I was always ravenous when I was having them or taking oral steroids.
Which part of the report do you not understand? Maybe I can help....
Thank you, you have explained most of which I didn't understand. I dont know why I am in so much pain because I know the MRI was not severe. I have given birth 3 times without an epidural, I thought I was tough but I feel like a cissy now!
I do not want to wait until I'm too old to have surgery, If eventually I am going to need it, I would like to do it while I still have health insurance.
I am going to try to work off the 30 lbs. Do you know how long the side effects (gaining weight) from the steroid shots lasts? I am frustrated that these shots haven't helped much. Thank you so much for your feedback!