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Neuro Called w/ MRI results-Not So Good, Fusion Time...

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Old 04-26-2005, 04:18 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: New York
Posts: 413
mlachowicz HB User
Neuro Called w/ MRI results-Not So Good, Fusion Time...

Hi All!
My neuro called me directly this afternoon. He told me that the MRI didn't look great. He said that I have a buldge at L5-S1, which is one of the levels he already operated on. He said that it is larger then it was at my last post op MRI. He said it isn't HUGE, but big enough. He told me that I can go ahead with non-surgical treatment, but considering I've been doing that & it hasn't helped, fusion is the best option. He wants my husband and I to come in to talk to him about it again. He also said that we could go ahead and re-do the surgery I already had, but that would prove pointless as it failed before. He said that now my bones are closer together and fusion looks like my best shot. I asked him if I still have a sucess rate of 80%, & he said that by the book he has to say 80%. I don't think he'd be able to tell me more, but I'm sure he would say less if he thought it was less of a chance to help. I told him I was scared out of my mind, but I actually feel as though there is a pain-free future finally for me! He said, yes there is.
So, looks like I am having the 2nd surgery............................... EEK, was less scary when it was all talk.......

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Old 04-26-2005, 07:07 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Missouri
Posts: 2,128
carol632 HB User
Re: Neuro Called w/ MRI results-Not So Good, Fusion Time...

I really don't want to make things worse for you, but I think that number is skewed. An 80% success rate? Have you done any research on that? Or is he saying in your case he expects at least an 80 per cent chance of success? Have you gotten a second opinion? Honestly, I would not have surgery again without being 100% sure. I have been told that no doctor should ever promise success.....

At any rate, whatever you decide to do, I hope it is the right decision for you and that it works out great.

2 lami's, 3 fusions
bone spur removal
cerv. fusion, 1 level
morphine pump

Old 04-26-2005, 07:12 PM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: New York
Posts: 413
mlachowicz HB User
Re: Neuro Called w/ MRI results-Not So Good, Fusion Time...

Hey Carol!
Thank you for responding! Trust me, I'm looking everywhere for good & bad information.
My neuro said he feels I have an 80% chance of having much less pain then I do now. What do you think?

Old 04-27-2005, 06:42 AM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: New Berlin, Wisconsin, USA
Posts: 338
EmtShirl HB User
Smile Re: Neuro Called w/ MRI results-Not So Good, Fusion Time...


Like you I had/have an issue with L5-S1. Several years ago my first surgery was a Micro-d. This one lasted for 5 years and I was told this at the time by my NS. Then my second was also a Micro-d. This one didn't last long at all because of the lack of disc. My third surgery was an anterior lumbar fusion of L4-5, L5-S1. I am happy to say it did help with my pain and numbness. I will be going in for a posterior lumbar surgery next week Tuesday. I will be having rods and screws put in this time at L4-S1. Please don't think after a fusion that you will be pain-free because there is a very good chance you will have back pain after this surgery. Your pain levels should go down but I can't say it enough that DON'T expect to be pain free!!!! Carols comment " I would not have surgery again without being 100% sure" only means that she will not have surgery again because no one can be 100% sure and if you are told this by a doctor or anyone then you better seek another opinion. I am not sure what she means about 100%. If it mean 100% pain free or that the surgery will be a success? Either way 100% should never be expected. My next surgery next week will be my 7th spine surgery. Three were cervical fusions both anterior and posterior with hardware for which now I am fused from C3-7 and with this one it will be my 4th lumbar surgery. I am not 100% and never will be but I have to say I am much better with each surgery I have had and for the reason they were done.

Good Luck to you and please don't expect to be pain free or 100% because you will only be disappointed in the end if that is your goal.

Keep us posted on what you decide.


1980- Transaxillary resection of 1st rib and division of band (left side)
1982- Diagnostic Laparoscopy
1985- Transaxillary excision of cervical rib (right side)
1991- Laser stapedectomy (right side)
1992- Fractional D&C
1992- Diagnostic Laparoscopy
1996- Lumbar hemilaminectomy
1999- Left knee arthoscopic surgery
2001- Laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy
2002- L5-S1 Microdiscectomy
2002- L4-L5, L5-S1 Anterior inter-body lumbar fusion with cages and my own bone from left hip for bone graft
2002- Neck problems Surgery??????
2002 DEC 21- C4-5, C5-C6 Anterior Cervical Corpectomy with Fusion and Internal Fixation (Bone from the bone bank)

Old 04-27-2005, 09:11 AM   #5
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 83
et318 HB User
Re: Neuro Called w/ MRI results-Not So Good, Fusion Time...


I would defiinitely get a second opinion. I also agree that stating 80% is pretty unusual. Lets see, you have already had one surgery and now have a recurrent herniation. If we were discussing cervical fusion then I would be more optimistic about that number. You may want to consider some other non-surgical alternatives before surrendering to a fusion. Once you go down that road, depending on your age and health, you will be a candidate for further surgery down the road when the adjacent levels to your fusion experience the increase in degeneration that typically occurs following fusion.

Good Luck

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