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New To The Board & Have Some Questions ABout Spine Fusion?

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Old 03-17-2005, 10:11 AM   #1
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Question New To The Board & Have Some Questions ABout Spine Fusion?


I'm new to this board, and have some questions about Spine Fusion. Here is a little backround to my situation.

I had a hemilaminectomy back on November 19, 2003. Within a month or two after the surgery I started having the same pains on & under the sacralliac joint, and down the leg and through the foot. I have seen the surgeon throughout the year and he said it would take time for things to heal. As it has been over a year and there have been no improvements just more pain, my surgeon thinks that I need a fusion (he thinks my bones move too much). My primary care physician also feels there is some neurologically wrong. My surgeon is sending me to another neuro-surgeon for a 2nd opinion. This has been very hard on me as it has made regular way of living alot more difficult. It is hard for me to stand for long periods of time, to do cleaning, go shopping, etc. without being in a great deal of pain.
So, here are my questions:

Have any of you had a successful spinal fusion? Or is doing better because of it?
How long did it take for you to start feeling normal?
I was reading some posts on this board and was wondering what a IDET and a DDD is?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


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Old 03-17-2005, 10:18 AM   #2
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Re: New To The Board & Have Some Questions ABout Spine Fusion?

*Bumping Post*

Old 03-17-2005, 11:52 AM   #3
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Re: New To The Board & Have Some Questions ABout Spine Fusion?

Hiya Sorry you are having so many problems. I had my Anterior L4 L5 Si 1 Bone grafting source taken from hip as well as from another source done 4 years ago I can tell you I did have fusion was so happy felt as if I had my life back. Surgery depending on how it was done takes alot out of people.

The thing I remember most my Doc telling me is fusion is like fine hair layers of it and it can take up to a full year before it is finished. As far as having problems such as yourself I would say A they either missed the problem that is easy to do dealing with backs. Not to mention once we are cut into and hardware and such is put in I really think it can make other problems I waited 6 years to have my Op because I was so worried it would make other problems. I had Two years of life back I was able to Skydive again run 6 miles a day and such so I was one happy woman. Here I am now just got back from my doc again today knowing I have to go back into the Or and trying to find anyway I can to get out of it when my date is already set up for the op lol.

If your Doc is sending you for a 2nd Opion I would say you have a good Doc many think or wan't to handle it themself so he/she is at least worried that he not just cut you open and hack and hammer away for the sake of it. Umm my Surgery was 7 and a half hours long. the 1st time was an emergency when I wen't in. The next day I could tell even with how bad the Op and bone grafting pain was something major had been fixed inside of me.

I wish I had not let him use bone grafting from my hip it hurt worse than the cut on my stomach for the back op it runs from the top of the pubic bone sort of to just under my 1st lower rib so it is a huge cut and the bone graft off of my hip about the length of my pointer finger. As I say that hurt worse. I still have problems from it. Hard to say how long of a recovery you might have without knowing what sort of op you would have Posterior Anterior, Are you strong any other medical problems so on and so on. It is different for each person . I was up walking the next day hurt so bad but I was up no way was I going to not move had my back brace on and I did everything I was told to do when I came home a week latter.

Over all I dare say you are at a stand still until they decide what to do and once you know what is going to happen Search the net for every little bit of info you can find I still do that I think I am constantly trying to see if I am the only person out there and it is all in my head lol lol thats why I love these boards because when I come here I see I am not alone. You all give me hope and thanks for that.

I feel bad for all of us who live in constant pain each day waiting for hope that something big will be done or discovered to fix us.
Without my ramble on and on because I find it so hard to fully express on these chat boards to the point it has kept me as a luker for years on here I wan't to tell you that yes there is joy and Sucesssssss after Fusion!! I was never totaly pain free but as I said I had my life back. My other issues now are I have a metal cage that shifted and has broken away inside so I am having to go back in and have them go Posterior this time to put in some sort of Pedical screws to stablize my back a little more and do more bone grafting to re Fuse. I was told today don't you ever jump out of a prefectly good plane again you are done doing that lol lol I said wan't to bet.

So go see the Doc talk to them try to find even a slim hope for each day it gets me past each day and hugs to you hun. I can tell you so many things as I am sure others can as well. Most important is try to keep positive as this can make it hard to even function day to day and that can make muscles and other things become a problem. Also have you done any sort of PT to help the muscles become strong and better able to support your spine ??

Ok I am done hope this helps even a little maybe not but hugs to you

Last edited by SadieNY; 03-17-2005 at 11:57 AM.

Old 03-17-2005, 12:48 PM   #4
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Re: New To The Board & Have Some Questions ABout Spine Fusion?

I don't have much time but I'll try to explain quickly.......I have/had pain for three years. I had the initial herniation/rupture at L4 L5 and L5 S1 and the last three years was feeling something else. Bone pain, I guess to could say. I told the doctors and noone would listen. Last summer I had the lamy/discectomy, didn't work. I still felt that grinding bone pain and stab in my spine. I knew it was different than the disc pain that affected the leg, etc, which I had that too. I couldn't do anything. No cleaning, dancing, walking for long, standing long, I was severely limited cause every movement cause the "bone pain" then the disc pain would flare. I knew I needed fusion. I had a previous fusion at T1 to L1 for scoliosis so I decided to go to Manhattan and see a MAJOR doctor cause of my previous history.
Anway, to make a long story short. My discectomy/laminectomy didn't work either. I had a fusion at L4 L5 cause I had major problems with my facet joints. They were sclerotic. The disc was collapsed at this level causing the facets to move excessively, causing spurring and all that trapping the nerve stuff.
I had the fusion in Novemeber and feel better than I ahve in three years. I have ALOT of rehab to do still from my immobility for so long and muscles problems/weakness but I don't have that horrible horrible pain.
When my surgeon got in there he did say that the facet at the L4 L5 level was completely shot. This I assume was causing me all the problems. I'm glad I had the surgery, I just wish that someone would have listened to me sooner.

Old 03-17-2005, 01:16 PM   #5
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Re: New To The Board & Have Some Questions ABout Spine Fusion?

Hi there
DDD is degenrative disc disease, basically wear and tear on the discs as we age, though for some of us it is much more advanced than our actual age. I am 34 and had the 1st of my 4 lumbar surgeries at 22. Anywany IDET is a pretty new way to try to treat tears in the discs, They use a needle and go in and with specialized temp stuff, try to heat up the disc to close off the tear in a disc, it is a 50/50 if it works, but I believe Rampage (i think ) had a great success with this . Alot of insurance companies do not cover it . I was trying to find info to see if they do it on the cervical region, I have 3 disc tears from what i "heard" from listening in on my discogram, but I do not think they do it in the neck region yet. Anyway, I hope this answers those two questions you had. Oh and Welcome to the boards

Old 03-17-2005, 02:05 PM   #6
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Re: New To The Board & Have Some Questions ABout Spine Fusion?

Hi Nicole,
I Now Am Where You Hopefully Won't Be. I Did The Fusion On L4-5,l5-s1 And A Year Later Have Problems Again!!! Now It Is My L3 That Is Unstable. I Am Wearing My Back Brace From Fusion. When I Take It Off Everything Starts To Move. I Need To See A Surgeon About This Problem And It's Unfortuite What He Is Going To Say. This Is A Bad Story ,hopefully You Will Get Some Good Ones!!!! If I Had To Do It Again I Would Still Do What I've Done.

Have A Good Day

Old 03-17-2005, 08:22 PM   #7
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Re: New To The Board & Have Some Questions ABout Spine Fusion?


I had L4-5 & L5-S1 fusion December 17th. I feel so much better! I've been back to work full time for 3 weeks now. Off work 8 weeks and part time for 2 more weeks. I had a laminectomy in 2003 because of DDD at L4-5 and felt great for a year after that. I started having pains at that point that was different from the nerve pain that I had before with the herniated disc. This pain was when I laid down or slumped in a chair or on the couch. It hurt like heck to move my hips in bed at night. Found out after seeing my neuro that my facet joints at those 2 levels were severly degenerated and the disc at L5-S1 had also narrowed and degenerated quite a bit. I tried 2 rounds of injections. They worked the first time but not the second. The MRI that I had in March last year compared to the one I had in November showed all of this degeneration (that was pretty quick!).
I have gone to 2 post op visits now with x-rays both times to make sure things are staying in place and it looks great and don't have to go back now until August. I have pedicle screws and rods with synthetic bone cages (rather than the titanium ones). Thank goodness they didn't take bone from my hip as he opted to cut 3 of my facet joints off and used that bone for the graft.
I will tell you it is really hard to sleep for the first couple weeks at home. The hospital bed really helps because you can raise your head and your legs to just the right position that takes the weight off your lower back. All those muscles in my back were so awfully sore (I had the posterior approach). My incision is about 7-8 inches long. I was in the hospital for 4 days and all I can say is Amen for the Morphine pump!
I am down to probably 1-2 pain pills a week now. And mainly because those muscles take quite a while to heal and get sore if I've been doing a lot.

Make sure you buy one of those grabber things to have at home. You always drop things more when you know you can't bend over to get it!

Hope you have gotten some questions answered. There are lots of people here to talk with. Good luck to you!
Laminectomy L4-5

Old 03-11-2010, 07:14 AM   #8
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Re: New To The Board & Have Some Questions ABout Spine Fusion?

I hope you guys find my post also and give me some advice also. I hope you all have a pain less day. Allan

Old 03-11-2010, 01:22 PM   #9
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Re: New To The Board & Have Some Questions ABout Spine Fusion?

Hi Nicole~ Welcome to the boards..I am sorry you are having so many problems with your back. I am a 40 year old female and though I have many health back has been the worst in my eyes. I had my first spinal fusion at age 31. The Dr fused L5/L6 and I also had a laminectomy. He went on to tell me that "you will still think you have pain, but it is all in your head" Well this pain that was all in my head..WAS NOT!! I went to a second dr 2 years later and after a CAT Scan of my back, it was didcovered that the idiot Dr did not put the hardware in correctly. The screws were crooked and not really doing to say the least, I needed another fusion. I had this one at L2/L3 level. though I love my surgeon (he is part of the team at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC..they do work on athletes) I am still having a lot of pain. After this last visit to the level above is DDD, with total stenosis and I should have anothe surgery. Unfortuatley because I have so many underlying health problems, I cannot have another surgery. He is reccomending a "protein surgery" instead. I actually need to learn a lot more about this procedure ( I am going to ask on here after I finish writing to you!..LOL) It is supposed to be a lot less invasive and the Dr goes through the front, instead of the back. He also may be able to do it without General Anestetic, and do it with an epidural. I for one am all for it!! I am NOT an advocate for spinal fusions...once you have have another..and it becomes a vicious cycle. My advice is to ask your dr aabout this protein procedure...anything has to be better than more nuts and bolts in your back..I think anyway!
Good luck Nicole and I just wish for all of us to be pain free!!

Old 03-12-2010, 04:18 AM   #10
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Re: New To The Board & Have Some Questions ABout Spine Fusion?


I am two weeks post fusion surgery. I am gradually getting my strength back and apart from some tenderness feel good. I am in less pain than before but will reserve judgement for a few months. I still feel a bit washed out but can do light work. I will retrun to work in June once I am fully recovered. So far it has worked for me.

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