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  • L4-5, L-5-S1 laminectomy w/ spinal fusion

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    Old 06-23-2004, 07:44 AM   #1
    mlachowicz
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    L4-5, L-5-S1 laminectomy w/ spinal fusion

    Hi Everyone,
    I am brand new to this site and was wondering if anyone can give me some advice.
    I am in the process of planning surgery for the above discs, and am terrified. I have terrible pain in my lower back and down both legs. Not only do I have herniations but they are degenerative. The Dr. advised that I do both the laminectomy as well as a caged fusion, as the discs are so weak. I am a mother of a 13 month old and am having an incrediably hard time picking her up!

    If anyone is out there who had this surgery proformed please advise! I am looking for any type of advice I can get.

    Thank you

     
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    Old 06-23-2004, 08:47 AM   #2
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    Re: L4-5, L-5-S1 laminectomy w/ spinal fusion

    I have no advice, but my husband already has a microdiskectomy at L4-5, and is getting at fusion at L4-5 and possibly L5-S1 in December. He's always in pain, so hopefully this will help.

     
    Old 06-23-2004, 05:09 PM   #3
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    Re: L4-5, L-5-S1 laminectomy w/ spinal fusion

    Welcome to the boards, although I'm sorry to hear about the troubles you're having.

    Have you tried any non-invasive methods to deal with the back pain yet?

     
    Old 06-23-2004, 05:27 PM   #4
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    Re: L4-5, L-5-S1 laminectomy w/ spinal fusion

    Have you gotten 2nd opinions on the necessity of this surgery? I, too, have degenerative disc disease involving the same discs for 15 years. I was actually pregnant with my first daughter at the time. My neurologist said that surgery shouldn't be done unless I were to loose control of bowel/bladder function. I am on disability and live a pretty normal life but take care to not do things that will worsten my condition. I am in tolerable pain that I can handle but have developed osteoarthritis of my knees and ankles over the years as well. When my back chronically goes out usually 3-4 times/year I take celebrex and use hot packs & a TENS unit and I cannot do anything for about 3-4 days. My lifestyle has completely changed...I know what will make my back worse (go out) and I make sure to not do these things. I get alot of help from my husband & daughters to do the things I cannot.

    I have heard that the surgery can cause even more problems & that it shouldn't be done unless absolutely necessary. I was 27 when I was first diagnosed. They did Physical Therapy with hydroculator packs and TENS unit treatments which I do at home as needed. Please be sure to have a second opinion...and like the other post said, you should seriously consider non-invasive treatments before jumping into surgery...Goody

     
    Old 06-23-2004, 08:53 PM   #5
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    Wink Re: L4-5, L-5-S1 laminectomy w/ spinal fusion

    mlachowicz, I have the exact same Dx. as you do. 1st, goody2shews is correct. Surgery should always be last option. P/t, TENS, Apuatics, should all come 1st. My Ortho. agrees w/that and says he will only consider surgery, after all the above have been tried and also, your daily living is being compromised greatly. I am haveing the same surgery in 4 wks. Both the Lami. and the 2-level fusion. Without it, I can not grocery shop, mop, laundry, put the dishes away, walk more than 20 min, sit for mor than 20 min. or stand in one spot for more than 5 min. I work a 4 hr. day and then come home and lie down. (Even with that limited life style, I have herniated a disc and now have sciatica and canal stenosis), so there are times that Surgery is your best option...but only as a last option. If you have done everything else and it's getting worse,talk to your surgeon, ask a lot of questions, and prepare yourself in advance. There are Many success stories (there are a couple of different threads with wonderful outcomes).

    Good luck and God Bless,

    Lorie
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    Last edited by lfoster21; 06-23-2004 at 08:54 PM.

     
    Old 06-23-2004, 09:44 PM   #6
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    Talking Re: L4-5, L-5-S1 laminectomy w/ spinal fusion

    Hi all:

    I just had spinal fusion of L4/5-L5/S1, I also had a grade 2 spondy. My operation was on June 7th. I feel great. I am very relieved to have had it done. Feet and legs haven't felt this good in almost two years. The back feels great. I am wearing a TLSO brace for the next 6 months, but this is not much to complain about when my pain levels are now about 2 rather than 8 out of 10. I highly recommend this sugery and feel it has improved my quality of life already. Get all your facts, ask lots of questions and be prepared. The first days after surgery are really tough, but they will be outweighed by the good ones shortly there after. I felt immediate relief as soon as I awoke. I do have to warn you, it is tough, but it can only get better. Good luck, think positive and get all your facts. If you have any questions, ask on here or email me. I would be glad to help if I can.
    Shelley

     
    Old 06-24-2004, 04:46 AM   #7
    Monas
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    Re: L4-5, L-5-S1 laminectomy w/ spinal fusion

    Hi there,

    i had a laminectomy with cage and rods fusion on L5-S1 in late january.
    so i guess i know what your about to go through.
    firstly i'm sure you have been through all the non invasive techniques. is this the first surgeon you have seen regarding this?

    i am 5 months post op and would be more than happy to answer any questions you might have about the hospital stay, rehab, arrivnig home, or whatever may be on your mind. dont be afraid to ask, cos this is where i learnt everything i wanted to know b4 my op!

    MOnas

     
    Old 06-24-2004, 04:54 AM   #8
    mlachowicz
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    Re: L4-5, L-5-S1 laminectomy w/ spinal fusion

    Hi Everyone

    Thank you so much for all your responses, it is very nice to know that there are people out there who understand how terrible back pain is!

    I have undergone physical therepy, hot and cold packs, traction, otc med's, as well as prescribed meds. I even had an epidural shot... needless to say, I am still in pain.
    I am unable to take a car trip longer then 20-30 minitues. I even have a very hard time picking my daughter up out of her crib and highchair.
    My back pain has definetly made my daily life harder then it has to be. I wake up 7 days a week in pain. I do not get a break... Grant it, somes days it is a 5 or a 6, other days a 9 or a 10. I feel as though I am on fire.....

    At any rate, I am leaning more towards the surgery at this point. (Please feel free to give me advice) Now I am confused about having just the laminectomy or having the fusion.

    My surgeon advised that if he goes in and trims the herniations there is a 50-50 chance of my symptoms subsiding. He also advised that not only is this surgery much safer but he told me that there is a possibility of my discs herniating again becasue they are degenerative. If that was to happen he said he would have to go back in and do the fusion anyhow.

    So here's my diliema, do I say go ahead and do the major operation, since I think it is silly to have to go back under the kninfe again, or do I go ahead with the easier operation and hope for the best?

    Please help!!!
    Sorry this is SO long!
    ~mlachowicz~

     
    Old 06-24-2004, 05:11 AM   #9
    mlachowicz
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    Re: L4-5, L-5-S1 laminectomy w/ spinal fusion

    Monas:
    Thank you for your confidence!
    It is quite scary, but like I said, it makes it easier knowing there are others out there who understand!
    I have gone to see others... One surgeon I went to said he did not recommend it, because I was too young (I am 25). He could not offer me any reasons to back his negativity up, but to me he seemed more annoyed that I was coiming to him 2nd. After 8 weeks of PT my theripist, who came highly recommeded asked me if I was still opposed to surgery. When I questioned him he told me flat out that he had tried everything to help me.... he thought that surgery would also be my best option.
    My daughter and I are in a Mommy & Me class that is all aquatic. I actually try to get there early and sit in the hot tub before her class starts. Being in water is about the only thing that makes me feel better. Unfortunately, I am only able to access this once a week and now her classes have ended.
    What do you think?!
    mlachowicz

     
    Old 06-24-2004, 08:01 AM   #10
    MistyAtlGa
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    Re: L4-5, L-5-S1 laminectomy w/ spinal fusion

    [COLOR=Indigo][SIZE=2][FONT=Comic Sans MS]Mlachowicz,

    Just curious.... your doctor who advised to you about the 50/50 chance of success or re-herniated.... did he seem like he wanted to go ahead and do the fusion? Or... make more money in the long run by having to do another surgery?

    IF I only knew then what I know now.... I think I may have gone ahead with the fusion for my first operation... ( but that was a different doctor who didn't tell me my odds of a re-herniation). It's very very disheartening going under the knife a second time, which I will be doing in the morning.

    BUT... that's just my opinion. You have to go with your heart on this one.... and also what the doctor feels would be best. That's why I was asking if he's wanting to go ahead and do the fusion or not.

    Misty[/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR]

     
    Old 06-24-2004, 11:59 AM   #11
    mlachowicz
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    Re: L4-5, L-5-S1 laminectomy w/ spinal fusion

    Misty:

    Thanks for responding!
    I actually just spoke with my Dr a little while ago and I explained to him my different feelings. I told him how I was not thrilled with the 50/50 and that I was leaning more towards the fusion, however, the other side of me is saying maybe the fusion is too much of a huge step for me right now.
    After explaining this to him I asked him what he would recommend to his own daughter. He told me was that he would want her to avoid surgery however, if she was in constint pain (like me) he would recommend the laminectomy 1st. He said he can always go in and do the fuion if the lami doesn't work.
    I am still guessing which is the right operation for me, however, I promised myself that whatever he said would be what I go thru with........... Hopefully it will be the only time I have to go under! (I have a terrible feeling that it won't be)

    I wish you the best of luck tomorrow! Please keep us all posted on how you are doing! Hang in there and keep your chin up!
    mlachowicz

     
    Old 06-24-2004, 03:01 PM   #12
    MistyAtlGa
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    Re: L4-5, L-5-S1 laminectomy w/ spinal fusion

    [COLOR=DarkOrchid][SIZE=2][FONT=Comic Sans MS]Mlacowicz,

    Most important thing..... this is what everyone is trying to pound in my head....... POSITIVE ATTITUDE!!!!!!!!!

    I think it's good for you to go with what your doctor says.... and remember there is a good chance that this will be the only surgery you will need. You gotta keep thinking that way, and not let the fact that other's have had re-herniations deter you at all. Of course, it's a concern, but we're not even gonna think that now, ok? I'm sure you'll be fine with just the discectomy/lamanectomy (sp?). WE gotta have faith, right?????????

    I'm sure there have been more successful discectomys as opposed to unsuccessful ones.

    Thanks for the well wishes for in the morning.......... I'm gonna need em!

    Misty [/FONT] [/SIZE] [/COLOR]

     
    Old 06-24-2004, 07:04 PM   #13
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    Re: L4-5, L-5-S1 laminectomy w/ spinal fusion

    Misty:

    You are 100% correct. I have to go into this with a positive attitude! Who knows what the future holds! Either way, at least I have my family and friends, and of corse all of you to help me thru it!

    Keep us posted on your progress, and be sure that you will be in my thoughts and prayers!

    mlachowicz

    PS: Should be getting my surgery date tomorrow... will let everyone know!

     
    Old 06-24-2004, 07:30 PM   #14
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    Wink Re: L4-5, L-5-S1 laminectomy w/ spinal fusion

    I just wanted to jump in and wish Misty good luck tomorrow. My thoughts and prayers will be with you throughout your surgery and in your recovery.

    Thinking of you,

    Lorie
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    Old 06-24-2004, 07:33 PM   #15
    Monas
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    Re: L4-5, L-5-S1 laminectomy w/ spinal fusion

    G'day mlachowicz,

    It is interesting how some surgeons do not want to operate on people who are "too young"
    i am and was 19 when i had my surgery in January, i had a lot of un-educated and old fashioned people telling me not to go ahead with back surgery cos of my age and so on, but i was the one who had done all the research and was going through the pain, i think a lot of people just jump on the banwagen and say "noooo back surgery is bad"

    In regards to my surgeon i asked him if i could wait until i was older or even wait six months or so and he said he most likely would not operate on me then as he could not guarentee the results he could if we did the surgery earlier. I guess it also depends on your symptoms, such as nerver issues and disc degenration etc.
    The thing to remember is those of us who are young, fit and otherwise healthy have an increased chance of recovery that is quicker and better than we would if we were older.

    Is your sugeon pushing the discectomy or the fusion more?
    i saw about 6 surgeons, ortho's and neuro's b4 my operation. only one said i should just have the discetomy and the rest said the full fusion. the reason they all said the full fusion was that there was a risk my spine would colapse and the discs would continue to bulge etc. They felt i would not benefit from the discetomy and i would be back in hospital within 6 months to have the fusion anyway.

    some people have just had discetomys and are feeling great, which is fantastic. i had faith in my surgeon and new a lot about his background so i was prepared for "the big one" which i have not regretted.

    do you know how long you will be in hospital for?
    if you will be going to a rehab hospital after?
    which physio's you will see post op and what your rehab program will be like?
    have you thought about purchasing any tools to help you post op so you dont need to bend etc?

    Monas

     
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