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    Old 04-01-2008, 07:52 PM   #1
    jaydar
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    Out of all of you,after having lumbar fusion

    Was it worth it?I mean after giving recovery a good amount of time,are you experiencing improved quality of life?Or would you had rather just let things be?

     
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    Old 04-01-2008, 08:33 PM   #2
    laf761
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    Thumbs up Re: Out of all of you,after having lumbar fusion

    ABSOLUTELY.............wish I'd done it sooner.....It's only been 8 weeks and I feel it's already an 80% improvement...would certainly do it again..The first 2-3 weeks are difficult but nothing you can't hand...Dr's will manage you pain and today there are great drugs....I really didn't need many meds after 4 weeks....I'm already walking 30 minutes a day.

    I couldn't even stand 1-2 minutes before............Sitting is a problem right after surgery but it's better after week 5-6..

    Good luck...

     
    Old 04-01-2008, 09:03 PM   #3
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    Re: Out of all of you,after having lumbar fusion

    In a few short weeks, I celebrate my two year post op anniversary. Yippee! WORTH EVERY BIT OF TIME SINCE THE SURGERY TO THIS POINT. I have quality of life now. I lost over 3 years of quality before the surgery. I would do it all over again!!
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    Solidly Fused Nov-2006
    A Success, but still improving!

     
    Old 04-01-2008, 10:21 PM   #4
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    Re: Out of all of you,after having lumbar fusion

    Nope, it was not worth it. I am NOT experiencing an improved quality of life. I would have rather let things be .

    I would not recommend fusion surgery to anyone. I am over a year post-op and am in much more pain now than before surgery...as a result of my decision to have surgery, I will have to live with chronic pain and be on pain meds for the rest of my life. I am a "failed fusion syndrome" statistic .

    Surgery is no guarantee...it is a big gamble...anyone considering surgery really needs to heavily weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.

    Scrappin'

     
    Old 04-01-2008, 10:34 PM   #5
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    Re: Out of all of you,after having lumbar fusion

    Well I had fusion 26 yrs ago. Complications of infection and bleeding almost killed me. Slow painful recovery of 1 yr then improvement for 6 years. Six years after surgery chronic sciatica came back with limping and some walking difficulty. Now after 26 yrs I have been disabled for the last three to the extent that I have to use a scooter and walker. I am now under the care of pain management and even with medication I still suffer on a daily basis. Several levels above the fusion are herniated as often is the case because of the load transfer placed on the levels adjacent to the fusion.

    Fusion should never be taken lightly. It is the long term not the short term improvement that is important. In my case I suffered with my back for 16 yrs prior to surgery and only had surgery when I was bedridden most of the time. It is a serious step and it should never be taken unless absolutely necessary.

    Back in the old days when I first had a back attack that landed me in the hospital surgeries where never done unless serious permanent nerve involvement. I wonder now if they are done just too frequently. Failed back syndrome is a very real consequence of fusion surgery.
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    Old 04-02-2008, 06:32 AM   #6
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    Re: Out of all of you,after having lumbar fusion

    I had an ALIF in June 07, and I am in worse pain now than ever. I am on lots of meds and still have no relief from pain. I can't do anything, drive, clean, cook, sit for more than 15 minutes, walk with a walker, I can no longer enjoy the things I used to love doing.

    So I guess you can say my fusion was a failed one, my lawyer says I am totally disabled now. I wish I would have never had the surgery, I could have dealt with the pain that I had pre-surgery, now I have no life.

    My doctor does not know why I am still in so much pain, he now says I'm in the 25% that never get better....he never told me that before...his exact words before surgery were "Marie I'm going to fix you" and I thought WOW I'm going to be better again...NOT

    Marie

     
    Old 04-02-2008, 06:48 AM   #7
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    Re: Out of all of you,after having lumbar fusion

    Personally, I think asking this question on a back board you are going to receive more negative responses then positive responses. Think about it -- someone who is recovered from surgery, are they going to be posting on a back board ??? Probably not. People who stick on a back problem board are generally people who continue to have problems. Just my 2 cents.

    I have had 2 fusions: my first fusion went without a problem and I lived a normal life for over 20 years. Now my second fusion has been a disaster and I continue to experience problems. Would I do it again? Absolutely, the pain I was in before surgery was not the way I wanted to live my life and was worth the chance to get better. It worked the first time. Unfortunately, my second fusion didn't work. Tis life and life must go on.

     
    Old 04-02-2008, 07:08 AM   #8
    scrappinmaniac
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    Re: Out of all of you,after having lumbar fusion

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pooby View Post
    Failed back syndrome is a very real consequence of fusion surgery.
    I have no way of verifying this information, but my former pain mgmt doctor told me that 70% of all fusion surgeries aren't successful and these patients end up being "failed fusion syndrome" statistics and are eventually booted to pain mgmt doctors by their surgeons. I think surgeons should be required to be upfront with patients in pre-op consultations about the risks of failed fusion syndrome...in pre-op consultations surgeons are giving patients the best case scenarios only, which is very bias and unfair to the patient.

     
    Old 04-02-2008, 07:36 AM   #9
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    Re: Out of all of you,after having lumbar fusion

    In the beginning I didn't want to participate in this post; I don't like to discourage anybody of making his/her decision. But than I saw Diet's post and agreed with her: this is a board for people who have problems too, so I will share with you my story.

    After my first fusion in '06, the first 3-4 month I was improving every day, I was so happy I had surgery done to improve my life.
    My surgeon told me (locally in NJ) I will be back to work in 6-8 weeks and when my husband asked him what is the % of sucsess with this type surgery, he answered 95%. I was so happy.

    Well, after 3-4 month I started to experience more pain, more problems. The foot I was told will improve due to nerve damage during surgery finally started to drop. More weakness, more pain, more problems. 8 month of PT did nothing to improve my situation.

    To make matter worse, due to "domino effect" which happens after fusions my upper levels herniated causing so much pain that I couldn't stand, walk or seat anymore.

    I had to have another fusion in 12/07. I leave now under PM DR care, my meds are stronger and higher in doses since your body adjusts and stop working. I "inherited" the worse condition possible after either surgery (when blood goes in a sack) or Myelogram or steroid shots - all this can cause Arachnoidities, which is not curable nor treatable.

    Would I go for surgery again? Even though my surgery is the result of a car accident, I am not sure if I would ever agree on surgery now, I would wait and see what happens. As someone mentioned here results of fusion surgeries is a long term, not a short one. Nobody goes for such a major invasion to be fixed for a year or so, you want to feel good for life and sometimes it's just doesn't happens.

    I have to say that when I went for my second fusion to *** in NYC, my Dr told me straitgt forward that I will never leave a pain free life, that each next surgery weakens your spine and the sucess rate is falling with each surgery, that more scar tissue is growing causing more pain and that a very high risk with fusions that upper/lower levels may collapse eventually.
    He told me that first fusion surgery usually opens the door for more surgeries and problems in a future and that everyone has to give it a really good thought before agrees on having fusion. He told me that sucsess rate on all fusions are very low; I asked him than why they still do it. He said that when people agree on surgery, Dr and patient both hope to get in that low % of sucsess. So did I.

    I am pretty sure that people who had a very good outcome and leave a good quality life, they are not on this board, they are out and about.
    So please forgive us for being honest; after all we are here to share, is in it?

    Best of luck to you, keep up with good work!

     
    Old 04-02-2008, 07:41 AM   #10
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    Re: Out of all of you,after having lumbar fusion

    As Pepper and Moldova pointed out, people with successful outcomes and no complications aren't hanging around here anymore. They've moved on and have gotten their lives back. Most fusion surgeries are successful.

    My back issues are unusual, and pain-free wasn't even on the radar. I'm very glad I had a second fusion, even though I sill have pain and will be on pain meds forever. It has kept me out of a wheelchair, where I was quickly heading, and although I have lost a lot, I've also been able to keep a lot that I would have lost had it not been for the surgery. I would do it again in a heartbeat! For me, it was definitely the right decision.

    Emily

     
    Old 04-02-2008, 08:05 AM   #11
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    Re: Out of all of you,after having lumbar fusion

    have no fear those who are out supposively enjoying life and think they are forever cured will be back.its so true the more surgery on back the worse it becomes.we are not designed to have surgery period,even heart is only temporary fixed.when my hubby had open heart they guranteed he be med free,yeah sure,he on more meds now than before the surgery.Its only a job for someone to do surgery,its their livelihood,bread and butter,big time.Just too bad no easier method to treat these back problems.ridiculous.Think of all the anesthesia,surely that effects a person after awhile,the drugs damage the organs.maybe it keeps from wheel chairs,but who to say a stroke wouldn't put you in one after all these tramatic surgeries.Guess if one is destined to be in a chair you will anyway.believe me I wish all you people would be better and pain free.I have pain,but getting by.thankfully for the neurontin.its these darn feet that give me the most trouble.

     
    Old 04-02-2008, 10:50 AM   #12
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    Re: Out of all of you,after having lumbar fusion

    Well, the glass is half empty or half full. A lot depends on how you look at things. Yes, I had to have a second fusion, but 30 years in between the two is pretty good, I'd say!

    I'd just hate to see anyone scared away from a needed surgery because of this board. This same topic has been posted before, and I think it depends on who is frequenting the board at the time what kind of answers you're going to get. In the past, the replies have been overwhelmingly positive. This is the first time I've seen so many negatives!

    Not that the negatives should be discounted! Most definitely not! Every person who posted is speaking from their own experience, and that's not to be dismissed. But please just take everything on this board with a grain of salt. We don't know you, and we aren't doctors. We're just sharing our own experiences. Huge decisions like this are best made in consultation with a medical expert, preferably with several. That said, this board is a great place to get information, encouragement, and support. It was a Godsend to me! But what's good for me might not be the best choice for you, even if we had identical diagnoses.

    Once a back patient, always a back patient has a lot of truth to it, but if you're always conscious of your need to be extra careful of your back, you can go a loooong time before needing any further treatment.

    My two cents worth...
    Emily

     
    Old 04-02-2008, 11:03 AM   #13
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    Re: Out of all of you,after having lumbar fusion

    Its more than likely too soon for me to say whether or not, positevely that I am glad or wish I never had the ALIF. I am almost four months post op, no fusion yet. But I was told I could still fuse.
    What I have learned: Fusion surgery is MAJOR, even more so than I ever realized going in, the recovery time is long and you have to patient.
    There are no gurantee's, a fact that all surgeons need to make clear ahead of time, my surgeon gave me odds in the upper 90% that I would fuse and it would help my pain, now he is saying 70's..big difference. He never told me about the nerves in my legs being affected for months afterwards. I think this information needs to be a prerequiste for anyone thinking of undergoing a fusion, but thats just my two cents worth!

    Lori
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    Old 04-02-2008, 11:37 AM   #14
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    Re: Out of all of you,after having lumbar fusion

    If I could turn back the clock, I would have more injections or whatnot prior to deciding on the surgery because and only because, I am worse now than before the surgery. That happens to some, not to all and there is no magic looking glass to see which category you will fall into. One of my best friends had the surgery too and she is back to living a full life with zero changes to her lifestyle. Because of the nature of my failure, I am very limited in what I can do and I am always searching for a cure. Do lots and lots of research, try all exercises and other things prior to and if your quality of life it really bad, then that should give you your answer. Do ALOT of research on the physician doing the surgery. I think that is the most important thing of all. Not where you are having it or even where your surgeon works, check out the doc himself.

    Good luck!

     
    Old 04-02-2008, 03:28 PM   #15
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    Re: Out of all of you,after having lumbar fusion

    My daughter had her two level fusion at the age of 16. In June she is approaching three years post op. This surgery made a world of difference in her life. She is back enjoying a life of a 19 year old. She is back to skiing (snow and water), bowls, plays tennis.... She is living the life of a college kid now. Her dr was very up front with us. He is hoping she will get twenty good years out of this surgery but that only puts her in her thirties. As one of the drs we saw said that a fix is a fix. I'm sure hoping for that, but am very realistic. My daughter doesn't regret this surgery at all. cas

     
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