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2 Level Fusion: What to Expect???

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Old 03-12-2005, 04:42 PM   #1
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John1025 HB User
Question 2 Level Fusion: What to Expect???

I had a Myelogram and it was finally determined that I have Spondylolisthesis (my L5 Vertabrae slipped from pars defect), and I have a L5-S1 herniated disc, both problems give me serve back and leg pain. My Doc told me that I need to have 2 Levels Fusion with a Laminectomy. I am 23 years old and have had this problem for around 2 years now and it has gotten progressively worse with time. I am hoping some of you can share your stories with this particular surgery and what I need to expect. I do not want to have this done, but I am at the point were I think it is my only option. From what I have read the the success rates are far lower than what my doc has told me (he said around 85% success rate). I plan on having it done in June after I graduate from college, I would appreciate your comments and information on the surgery.


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Old 03-12-2005, 05:16 PM   #2
Miss Idaho
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Miss Idaho HB User
Re: 2 Level Fusion: What to Expect???

Hi John, I am very sorry to hear that you have this condition, because I have had 4 neck and 4 back surgeries and 2 of my back surgeries were 2 level.
What I can tell you or anyone; do not have surgerie unless it is absolutly
necessary. And I would get another opinion or 2 and let them read your MRI'S and scans. And the very best advice I can give to you: Don't let anyone operate on your spine unless it is 1st: A Neuro-Surgeon (they specialize in the spine and have many more years experience than an Ortho-S. 2nd: Make sure the the Neuro S. is well known for his work and has done it for awhile. Do some will be time well spent. My Neuro
in Id. is very well know all over the State and he operated on the Govener so that was good enough for me. My 1st surgery was done by a Ortho Suurgeon,
and I had 4 -4 in. screws put in and he missed my bone everytime and screwed it in my nerves..I could not hardly walk for 8 Mo. That's when I got a Neuro-S.
It sounds like 2 years of pain you may need to do something before it gets much worse. I wish you luck John. YOU WILL BE FINE.
P.S. Mine was L5-S1 too. The 2 level will take alot longer to heal so take it very easy. Keep in touch. (I just had my last one 2 mo's ago.)
Write back anytime.


Old 03-12-2005, 05:52 PM   #3
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BobiM HB User
Re: 2 Level Fusion: What to Expect???

My son is having a 2 level fusion in April for Grade 2-3 spondylolisthesis). He had 5 consultations and all of the doctors (he saw both orthos and neuros) said that the success rate is very high. My son first went to the Spine Clinic at the U of PA. They do not operate. They only recommend treatment. The doctor there said that spondylolisthesis has the highest success fusion rate of all. All doctors did mention that years down the road (like 20 years) there is a chance of breakdown of the spine above the fusion.

I have a friend who had the 2 level fusion (same levels) and she said it was the best move she ever made.

Good luck with your surgery.


Old 03-12-2005, 06:48 PM   #4
Join Date: Dec 2004
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jpecot HB User
Re: 2 Level Fusion: What to Expect???

I only had a one level but I wanted to just let you know a couple of things. One, I would get another opinion before you do anything. It can't hurt you at all. Second, I did a load of research before I decided to have surgery. I agree it should be a last resort. But, I think beside maybe this board, there seems to be more horror stories than success.

Don't panic. I also believe that most people like to complain vs. actually getting out and posting success stories. Present board excluded, because you can find many success stories here, just read.

Only you can make the final decision as to what life style you actually want and currently have.


Old 03-12-2005, 08:55 PM   #5
Miss Idaho
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Bosie
Posts: 57
Miss Idaho HB User
Re: 2 Level Fusion: What to Expect???

Dear John, I just wanted to let you know that my 2 level surgerie was a success too. And I am sure it will be for you too. So don't worry, if you have a good Doc. you will do fine.
I hope you did not read my message wrong like others may have. That is why I said it sounded like to me you probably do need to have it done. My family and I have been in the medical field for years, and have alot of experience in back and neck surgeries and just want the best for you and speak from my experience. There is no horror story here, and no complaint, it was the right thing for me to and I am sure it will be for you. Some people just don't appreciate honsty. But it's all good. If I can help out please don't hesitate to write back.


Old 03-13-2005, 04:41 AM   #6
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flyonthewall HB User
Re: 2 Level Fusion: What to Expect???

An ortho with a spine fellowship is better than a neuro without. A lot of neuros do backs without having a spine fellowship. My OSS was two years off a spine fellowship and so cutting-edge that he did an off-label procedure on me. My spinal stenosis was so severe I could hardly walk. He went in posterior and did a laminectomy and fused me from L3-S1 with BMP on sponges that he laid on either side of my spine. I'm doing great.

Old 03-13-2005, 05:30 AM   #7
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Jessie1 HB User
Re: 2 Level Fusion: What to Expect???

John, I am 24 and almost 10 weeks out from a 2 level fusion. It's been a long road, but it's worth it. I am now almost completely pain free, and I've been off pain meds since 2-3 weeks after surgery. I started water therapy last week, and I'm back working almost full-time. That's a bit of a stretch for me right now, but I'm fully confident that soon I won't have any problems with it.
I do agree with everyone who has told you to get a second opinion. Any surgery, but especially a fusion, is a major decision. Once you have the surgery you cannot go back, so it's important to make sure that you really need it. I got a second opinion before my discectomy and before my fusion, and for me it validated my decision. It was definitely the right choice for me, and I don't regret it at all. Good luck to you, and if you have more questions this board is a great source of support and information!

Old 03-13-2005, 06:40 PM   #8
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aackles HB User
Re: 2 Level Fusion: What to Expect???

Hey John, I had spondy L-5;S-1 and par defects with a degenerated disc L-4;L-5. I had the two level fusion 27 August and my outcome was great. I live alone and I feel I had a great recovery. I can't say it was all without pain but I survived and it was the best thing I ever did. I still get aches and pains but I am doing really good. I did have some leg pain before and I still have it. I think I waited too long and the nerve was too damaged to repair. Also I had foot nerve damage when my doctor did the surgery and I still have the pain. I am managing the pain with Nuerotin and I am coming along. I am honestly really glad I had the surgery. If I would've had the surgery 5 years ago I would only of had to have one level. I recommend catching it before you damange any more levels. Hope this help and good luck. Angela

Old 03-14-2005, 04:49 AM   #9
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Bionicwan HB User
Re: 2 Level Fusion: What to Expect???

Just wanted to wish you luck if you decide to proceed w/this surgery. I realize how you would think your Dr's success rate a little high...perhaps it's YOUR chances given your medical history, age and other determining factors for a successful fusion.

While there are many here who have not had success there are just as many who have.

I agree w/Jim, get "at least" one other opinion. DO YOUR RESEARCH between now & June, use this time to prepare mentally...and if you determine that your quality of life is in turmoil with your present symptoms, perhaps fusion IS the answer for you....

please keep us posted and good luck in what ever decision you make.


Old 03-14-2005, 07:07 AM   #10
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John1025 HB User
Re: 2 Level Fusion: What to Expect???

I appreciate the replies, I have had 2 opinions so far. The Dr. I am currently with is an Orthopedic w/ a spine fellowship. I forgot to mention I am having a cage put in L5-S1, not sure if this makes much difference with the surgery. How much pain can I expect to be in right after the surgery. Trying to get a gauge of what to expect. I really apprciate all the replies.


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