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    Old 09-22-2008, 09:12 PM   #1
    cherrie65
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    Lumbar fusion...yes or no

    Hi everyone! I have spent the last few days reading all your post about surgery. Here is my story... I'm 43 yrs old. I had surgery (laminectomy and discectomy) in 2002 & 2004 at L5-S1. Both went great. About a year and a half ago my pain was back. MRI showed DDD, DJD, herniated disc and stenosis. Went to PM and got 3 rounds of epidural steroid injections that didn't help. After 6 months they sent me for another MRI. Now showing nerve impingement and herniation at L4-L5 too. PM doc read the MRI report and said there was nothing else they could do for me and sent me to the neurosurgeon.
    He ordered a myelogram. The doc said the results didn't show if the pain is from DDD or DJD so he ordered facet joint injections. (Those injections HURT!) After 3 sets of injections the muscle spasms had eased up, but still have sharp pain if I move the wrong way, turn over in bed, etc. My feet tingle all the time and my legs are weak.
    I was on the way last Wed. for another appointment with the neuro. and we were in an accident. We were at a red light and hit from behind. On impact, my feet and lower legs went completely numb. After a rescue ride to the ER, the doc there did nothing. He had me push on his hand with my foot, said I was fine and gave me Rx for spasms and percocet for pain. I saw my neurosurgeon last Friday. He ordered another MRI (last one was Jan this year)
    and told me that fusion is probably my only option now.
    The thought of surgery scares me. Do I have surgery now and get it over with, wait till I cant stand on my own 2 feet, or until the pain gets worse.
    For those of you that have had fusion surgery, what made you decide to have the surgery when you did?
    Thanks for taking the time to read my story...
    Cherrie

     
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    Old 09-22-2008, 10:08 PM   #2
    SpineAZ
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    Re: Lumbar fusion...yes or no

    I had an L5-S1 fusion in my 20's and later had to have it revised to L4-S1. Now at 42 I'm still glad I did it. Yes, I have stiffness and occasional "light" back pain but the stability that the fusion with hardware provided has made a world of difference for me. If you like your neurosurgeon that's good. Otherwise I'd reccomend a consultation with an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon as well.
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    Old 09-23-2008, 08:06 AM   #3
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    Re: Lumbar fusion...yes or no

    Iam personally for the Orthopedic Spine Specialist too. They are fellowship trained and have spent their careers working on the "mechanics" of your bones. THere are VERY good Neuros who do this surgery as well. IT s personal decision based on your comfort and relationship with not only the doctor but as importantly with his staff!! They will be the ones getting your meds and appointments straightened out and take care of after hours issues.

    I made thre decision to have the surgery because I had really bad DDD. I was bone on bone on two levels and impinging my sciatic nerve. I lived on medication. I was a zombie and still in pain. I watched my beautiful garden go to crap because it hurt too much after 15 minutes of trying to work in it. I couldn't do stuff with my kids-not even sit on the couch for and hour and a half to watch a movie because it would hurt to move or I would fall asleep from the meds.

    I wanted my life back. I feel like I have it back now. I am 47, work full time, two active kids, garden, shop. I have days where I have to slow down-arguing with my teenagers causes muscle spasms-walking too mucha nd my leg will ache a little. The point is I AM OUT DOING STUFF!!!! I am not scheduling my life around pain meds.
    Sorry its long-I am praying for you.

    Blessings,
    Momz

     
    Old 09-23-2008, 09:45 AM   #4
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    Re: Lumbar fusion...yes or no

    Cherrie,
    I have no advice, but wanted you to know you are not alone. I am in a very similar place with my back right now. i have had 2 discectomies on my L5-S1 and a year since my last surgery, I am in a lot of pain. I am having a myelogram on Friday to see if we can see exactly where my pain is coming from. MRi is not showing much besides DDD and slight buldge. My last herniation was the largest my neurosurgeon has ever seen (acording to him).

    I am now under the are of an orthopedic spine specialist. I loved my neurosurgeon but felt he had given up on me and basically told me I am dealing with nerve damage and sent me off to PM doctor. My orthopedic doctor is now taking me seriously and trying to figure out exactly where my pain is.

    The big "f" word (fusion) has been brought up to me several times and we are waiting to see what the myelogram shows before we make any decisions. I am 35 years old with a 2 and 3 yr old to care for. I need my life back. I cannot even ride my bicycle with them. I cannot sit on the floor and play with them. This is not how it is suppose to be.

    Good luck with your decision. Only you and your doctor can make the right choice for you. There are many factors in determining the correct path to take. I wish you the best of luck and please keep us updated on your progress.

    10sox

     
    Old 09-23-2008, 10:21 AM   #5
    cherrie65
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    Re: Lumbar fusion...yes or no

    Thanks to everyone that has replied. After my next MRI I will see the neuro again and if he says fusion, I will get my insurance to send me to a Orthopedic Spine Specialist.

    I hope everyone is having a good week
    Cherrie

     
    Old 09-23-2008, 11:45 AM   #6
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    Re: Lumbar fusion...yes or no

    Cherrie, You sound just like me!!! I thought I was the only one out there who was suffering!

    I just had a lumbar fusion done in June of this year. The recovery wasnt as bad as I thought it would be however, the problem isnt fixed. My neurosurgeon is great, but evidently I should have been healed up by now! Well, I've been on muscle relaxers and pain medication, and they decided to try me on Neurontin. That seems to work for me okay. My problem is that I am very uncomfortable when I sit. I can lie down and stand up, walk, but when I sit, it feels my tailbone is coming out. I had one disk removed, a plastic spacer put in, a rod on either side of my spine, and 4 screws put in. My whole problem stems in L5/S1 as well. I debated on having the surgery as well. For a LONG TIME. This was my 3rd surgery after the laminectomy, foramenectomy (sp?), steroid injections, decompression surgery, and then the fusion. Needless to say, I'm done. Whatever happens from this one is it. I have come to the conclusion that I am going to have to take 2 Vicodins per day for the rest of my life. Not so much from the mistakes of the doctors, but they told me that this is the last surgery they would do in this spot. It seems it all stems from a birth defect (pars defect) that I guess I'm lucky isnt worse than it is. Please weigh out ALL YOUR OPTIONS and ask questions. I was very lucky that I had the doc I did. He did tell me that 60% of the fusions performed actually work and that he couldnt guarantee me that I would be pain free. HMMMM, makes ya think! Good luck!

    Bill

     
    Old 09-23-2008, 10:28 PM   #7
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    Re: Lumbar fusion...yes or no

    I had plif June 16, 08 and I am having the same problem with my tailbone and sill having problems walking.
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    Last edited by HBMod07; 09-25-2008 at 08:20 AM. Reason: Please only quote the portion of the message you are responding to

     
    Old 09-24-2008, 03:58 AM   #8
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    Re: Lumbar fusion...yes or no

    I had PLIF and decompression in Jan 08 on L5/S1. I had the same pain when sitting before. It fixed that part but my pain/numbness/weakness in left leg is back. It is giving out and causing pain and goes to sleep quickly if i am still. I do the exercises I am supposed to and have great pain. I get an epidural tomorrow. We will see how it goes. I had one last year and got a spinal fluid leak. This one is supposed to be a TF which I think is different than the one last year. The dr that did that one said no more after the leak and it didnt last.
    Prayers you get it worked out and can avoid surgery. I went to 3 drs and wish I had went to one more. If it is mentioned again I am asking for a referral to the other one I wish I had seen. Be sure and shop around for drs. The one I had seemed very nice, then at the hospital nothing went as I had been told in the literature. I was told 2-7 nigts and sent home next day,told stitches and woke up w/ over 20 staples in an incision they said would be much smaller. The staff in the overnight unit I was in was horrendous. I was told by my parents that I was a hateful patient on the meds they gave me. They werent working and they were late giving my my depression meds. I had a private room and was told my friend could stay and then had to pitch a fit for her to be able to. Just a mess.
    Prayers going up for you!
    Best wishes,
    Shannon

     
    Old 09-24-2008, 06:42 AM   #9
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    Re: Lumbar fusion...yes or no

    My anterior/posterior surgery was in March of this year and the leg pain is gone for the most part i had surgery in 2002 a PLIF with hardware well he kept saying everything looked good but i found out in 2007 the screws were broke and then found out later they broke cause i had no fusion and they were surprised i made it 5-6 years not knowing there was no fusion. So i went back in this past year and had a double fusion and i am 6 months post op and i go this friday to get a checkup and i know its morning right now but i am just so sore and stiff.
    When i had the surgery in 2002 it was L-5 S-1 and this past surgery was L-4 to S-1.

    And YES YES YES on the tailbone pain and recently i had a sore cause it felt so bad like my tailbone was coming out of my skin it hurt so bad. I intend to ask him why that is and what would be causing this. Boy he is not going to like me cause i have a list of questions. But sometimes he dont always answer and tells me " you knew going into this you may not be 100%"
    Im not looking for that really but i just want answers.
    Good luck sweetie!

     
    Old 09-25-2008, 04:57 AM   #10
    wbaker28
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    Re: Lumbar fusion...yes or no

    I think the tailbone pain is probably worse than anything!! My back doesnt hurt anymore and I walk 2 miles a day everyday. But when it comes to sitting down and watching TV, forget it. I have to lie down. Which makes me feel so lazy. When I went to the doctor and told him about this, he said that my hamstring muscles were EXTREMELY tight and that Physical therapy on them would help. Well, I've been stretching them, but I am still not able to bend over well because of the hardware in my back, but my legs are starting to feel better. His comment was, "if it hurts for you to sit, then we need to make it where you dont sit." OK, THANKS DOC!!! I'm only 3 months post op and cant decide whether it was all worth it or not. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE get as many opinions as you can. This was a last resort for me. I didnt have any other options at this point. Good luck to everyone in their recovery. Prayers are going out for everyone!!

    Stay in touch, Bill

     
    Old 09-25-2008, 09:15 AM   #11
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    Re: Lumbar fusion...yes or no

    Yea i know what your saying Bill i am called lazy b sisters ALOT cause i lay down but it hurts so bad to sit. They just dont understand.
    I have actually had sores like my tailbone was coming through the skin. My 9year old twins put medicine on the breakout for me. But i was so surprised it ddi not take alot of sitting to make the sore. I go to dr. tomorrow and i am going to ask what he could do about it.

     
    Old 09-26-2008, 04:57 AM   #12
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    Re: Lumbar fusion...yes or no

    Good luck. I'll be thinking about you!!

     
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