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Old 03-31-2010, 10:00 AM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 4
gillspe HB User

I am 35 years old and have been told I need a spinal fusion of L-5;S-1. I have tried most of the non-invasive treatments and am looking around for some good outcomes of this surgery, all of the stories have been...well...nasty outcomes. I dont know whether to do this or not, but am leaning towards gettin it done cua Im not really living just getting by. Opinions would be appreciated and welcomed, stories as well. Hopeing to stay with this chat board until I am better and moving around. Thanks for your time.

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Old 03-31-2010, 04:17 PM   #2
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Virginia
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BlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB User
Re: newbie

Hi Carrie, and welcome to the board.

Keep in mind that you're going to hear a lot more about the failed cases. People who have successful stories have no reason to keep talking about it. I know of quite a few people with successful spinal fusions, none who have unsuccessful stories except here on the board. The success stories aren't here anymore, for the most part. They're out living their lives.

I hang around here, but I do consider myself a success story. I was quickly heading for a wheelchair before my surgery. I still have pain everyday and still take Vicodin regularly. I'm officially disabled. My doctors will not release me to work ever again. But I don't see a wheelchair in my future, and my pain is way less than before the surgery. (By the way, my case is unusual. For most people, fusion will be an even greater relief than it was for me. I had a strange condition.)

I hope this helps. Surgery should always be the last resort, but if you need it, I'd hate for you to not have it because of stories you've heard. Most people have good outcomes. The success rate is about 97%, from what I've read.

Take care,

Old 03-31-2010, 04:51 PM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 190
parman HB Userparman HB Userparman HB User
Smile Re: newbie

I had a spinal fusion L5-S1 back in 2004. It is a major surgery. I have to say to this day my surgery was a success. It was 4 mos. before I was back to work and nearly a year before I felt alot better. I was glad I had the surgery. I had already had 2 back surgeries in the past. I don't know what your situation is but mine was disk space collapse. The collegen between the disk was practically gone between last disk and one above. I had no choice. I would not have surgery without seeing at least 3 orthapaedic doctors. Get there opinion.You will feel better knowing if they all agree that you need this surgery.Just know that it is a long recovery. Feel good about your doctor. Good Luck and keep us all informed. If I can answer any of your questions I'll be glad to help.

Old 04-01-2010, 02:03 AM   #4
Myofascial Pain
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Re: newbie

Its a hard reality to swallow but health care in the US isn't universally equal. There are maybe a dozen A grade hospitals in the United States... Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, University of Houston Hospital in Texas, Scripp's in San Diego and Loma Linda, near Riverside in California. Scripp's I know specializes in Neurology and John Hopkins and Mayo Clinic cover pretty much all bases.

When it comes to risking back surgery, I'd make the trip to some place where a) you know the neurosurgeon is good based on a referral from someone on these boards or b) do some research online and find a grade A hospital near you, with reputations like the ones I have mentioned. Of course all this is based upon, if you can get the referrals. Personally, I'm lucky to have a brother that teaches at John's Hopkins.

If it ever comes down to the point where I get back surgery, I'm going to get all the possible references I can before I commit to any one neurosurgeon. My cousin lives in Minnesota, but my brother was able to get her a referral at John's Hopkins. Now after 17 years of debilitating arachnitis, she has had a clean and flawless opiate pump implant and is living a pretty normal life.

I spent a week in Minnesota with my girlfriend, while her dad had heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, though they live in south Wisconsin.

Somethings are just too risky than to roll the dice with an unknown. I recently had my first Myofascial Release therapy, but it was nothing like what others have later described as Myofascial Release. I paid for it by being laid up for 5 days which in turn led to a huge family drama. And that was just massage not surgery.


Last edited by Myofascial Pain; 04-01-2010 at 02:04 AM.

Old 04-01-2010, 07:02 AM   #5
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 563
Linda_in_NJ HB User
Re: newbie

Hi, I am almost 3 months post op of a 360 fusion L3-4. It is a major surgery, and as my surgeon stated, mine was considered 2 major surgeries. But I am healing great and feeling decent. The first 2 weeks are the hardest and you will need a lot of pain meds. But as the weeks go by, the pain slowly subsides. This was my 1st back surgery, hopefully my last, but I defintely would do it again. My major complaint was the weakness and pain and numbness in my legs. I am starting PT next week and I'll see how that goes. I am by no means normal yet but it went better than I expected. Good Luck to you. Linda
BTW I am in NJ and have an awesome spine surgeon and that makes a whole lot of difference.

Last edited by Linda_in_NJ; 04-01-2010 at 07:04 AM.

Old 04-01-2010, 08:06 AM   #6
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 4
gillspe HB User
Re: newbie

thanks to all who replied to my post! I do realize that most of the success are out living and not here trying to find anwers, but I was glad to hear your stories. I have researched my doctor and he has a good reputation with good references and his own surgical clinic. We are near Mayo in minnesota and thats where we were going to go if this hadnt panned out. I have a herniated disc of L-5-S-1 and need a fusion of those discs. I realize that this will lead to more surgery if I do not have patience and heal slow . did not realize it would take almost a year, but since I dont work a job, I am hoping to follow the rules. I have not heard that 97% were success stories and thats good to know. Thank you al for your time and I hope to hear more from everyone!

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