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Lower back fusion recommended

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Old 08-14-2004, 09:15 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Phila******a suburbs
Posts: 1
serlichman HB User
Exclamation Lower back fusion recommended

I am a 38 yr old male, who was very active in sports. I've had chronic lower back pain for a few years, which has grown excessively worse over the past few months. I had an ingrunal hernia repair in 2002, which I thought was the root of the pain. Later in 2002, I had an MRI, which identified L4-L5 degenerative disc disease. I've been to many other doctors to rule out any organ problems as well.

A couple of months back, my symptoms have become significantly worse. Sharp pains in the lower back, followed by right leg numbness down to my toes whenever standing for more that 4 or 5 minutes. Additionally, the pain has become disruptive to my sleep, as the lower back stiffens up and a sharp pain occurs, requiring me to stretch a bit, and change positions. The pain typically starts deep in the lower right back, and wrap around into the right groin. Then the numbness begins down the leg.

Last month, I went for another MRI, in which they identified severe disc degeneration of the L4-L5, a cyst, and nerve compression. I went to a surgeon for consultation, who pointed out the problem on the MRI. Even without a medical background, the problem was very apparent viewing the left side of the spine, and the order of the discs and nerves, compared to the lack of disc and compression of the nerve bundle on the right side.

The surgeon recommended implanting spacers and doing a fusion at that point, through an incision in my back. He also mentioned a 4 to 6 week recovery period with very limited activities. I have a few questions regarding this suggestion:
1) Is this the right approach to correcting the problem?
2) Will this limit my mobility and ability to participate in sports?
3) Are there alternatives I should review?
4) Are there any chiropractic solutions?
5) What is the success rate of this surgery?

Thank you in advance for any feedback.
- Scott

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Old 08-14-2004, 10:35 AM   #2
injured betty
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,137
injured betty HB User
Re: Lower back fusion recommended

[COLOR=Blue]1) Is this the right approach to correcting the problem?
2) Will this limit my mobility and ability to participate in sports?
3) Are there alternatives I should review?
4) Are there any chiropractic solutions?
5) What is the success rate of this surgery?[/COLOR]

1) only you can determine that answer
2) yes, you will be fused
3) yes, numerous, exhaust all of them before surgery
4) I would to with an osteopath who does manipulations w/a medical license
5) that is gonna take some research as the results are skewed and determined by the person, doctor, and the people who you ask

Regarding the cyst: are you sure? If you research these, these are *really rare*

There are multiple alternatives to surgery. It should be your LAST choice.

Old 08-15-2004, 10:54 AM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 249
Jenna'sMom HB User
Re: Lower back fusion recommended

Only you can answer your first question. Most of those questions should be answered by your doctor, or go get a second opinion. Personally, chiropractors scare me. I was fused from T5 to T12 22 years ago, and it really it didn't hamper my mobility all that much. I still went scuba diving, skiing, rode bikes, yoga, etc. I am 44 now.

4 weeks ago, I was fused from L4 to S1, and will only have 3 unfused vertabrae between the 2 fusions. My doc seems to thinks I won't lose that much mobility still. Obviously, extreme yoga positions are probably no longer in my repetiore, but hey, thems the trade offs. Since I'm still forbidden from "bending, lifting, and twisting" right now, I can't give you a realistic idea of how much this latest fusion will limit me. But I seem to be getting around pretty well.

Good luck with your situation, do whatever feels right for you.

APLIF T4-S1 on july 19, 2004
Harrington rod T5 - T12 1982

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