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Pars defect & partial spina bifida-spinal fusion possibly needed-VERY scared!

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Old 08-14-2004, 04:44 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 6
Christina42503 HB User
Pars defect & partial spina bifida-spinal fusion possibly needed-VERY scared!

Hello. I was diagnosed with partial spina bifida and a Pars defect in L5 when I was about 13 (I'm now 21). At the time I had been in a sledding accident and had a pinched nerve. With the help of physical therapy and a few pain pills I felt good as new as long as I took it easy. Since then I hadn't had any problems until last year when I was in a car accident. I went to my physician and he took X-Rays. After looking at them he said that I had a lot of inflammation but nothing had slipped. I just needed to rest and do more PT. Well, a few days ago my fiance took me out dancing for our 3 year anniversary (sweet huh? )and I woke up at 4 the next morning and I felt like I had a rock in my spine. I couldn't move and my fiance had to help me get out of bed. I went to the doctor and he said that I may need surgery now (I have no idea how dancing caused me so much pain ). I'm very scared and I was wondering if anyone else has had a spinal fusion and knew how it was done, how painful it was, how long the recovery is, etc. I'm starting my senior year in college in a couple weeks so I wanted to know how I would plan for surgery and juggle classes at the same time. Any help would be so appreciated. Thanks so much.


Last edited by Christina42503; 08-14-2004 at 04:45 PM.

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Old 08-15-2004, 12:44 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 249
Jenna'sMom HB User
Re: Pars defect & partial spina bifida-spinal fusion possibly needed-VERY scared!

Welcome Cristina,
So sorry to hear you had painful results from such a fun evening. Not fair. You've come to the right place for answers to your questions.

I had a anterior/posterior fusion with cadaever disc instead of cages at L4/5 and L5/S1 with 6 screws and 2 rods almost 4 weeks ago. They do get you up and out of bed the day after surgery and everyday thereafter. It is very painful at first, but each day gets better, and of course they give you pain medication. I was walking quite a bit when I came home from the hospital 6 days after surgery. I continued to walk alot when I got home.

Recovery is different for everyone, there are so many factors involved, age, how bad off you were to start, etc. Alot of people have success with fusion. I also had one 22 years ago when I was about your age from T5 to T12. My recovery was pretty fast. Back in those days they put your in a partial body cast from the hips up. By 2 months post op, I was going out dancing once a week, and at 5 months, came in second in a three legged race at a company picnic.

I'm alot older now, and taking alot slower. No cast, not even a brace for me this time. I consider my fusion a success so far. There is a thread called "We need success stories" you should read, there's alot of info there.

Balancing surgery recovery and classes might be a bit much, but there is someone who's here right now who's going to do that. Her name is Hayden1107, you might want to read her posts. She seemed to get alot of help from the school. Or you can always take a semester off.

Whatever you choose to do, you should be completely comfortable with your decision and go into it with a positive outlook. Good luck to you and keep us posted with your situation.

Take Care,

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

Last edited by Jenna'sMom; 08-15-2004 at 12:45 AM.

Old 08-15-2004, 05:04 AM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 60
Josephine66 HB User
Re: Pars defect & partial spina bifida-spinal fusion possibly needed-VERY scared!

I have had two spinal fusion surgeries. One in my lower back and one in my neck. I am 6 days postop from the neck fusion and it is all I can do to get through the day. I still have to take pain meds. which make me forget things and feel confused. It would be very difficult to recover from this and still go to school. Would you be able to take a symester off? With my lower back it took me a year to be able to sit without discomfort. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

Old 08-27-2009, 11:11 PM   #4
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1
circusnomad HB User
Re: Pars defect & partial spina bifida-spinal fusion possibly needed-VERY scared!

Hi Christina,
I have almost the exact same story. I have spina bifida and pars defect and also was in a sledding/ tubing accident when I was 12. At that point I thought I had broken my tailbone, but my x-rays revealed no break and I discovered the spina bifida.
I am a professional contortionist/ acrobat and the thought of spine immobilization/ surgery scares me because I don't want to have to stop my career. I'm actually waiting this week to find out more about the pars defect. I had a sciatic injury from weightlifting 3 years ago. So, we shall see. Hopefully physical therapy will be helpful.

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