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  • 42 Year old Police Officer Spinal Fusion

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    Old 04-22-2012, 01:34 PM   #1
    randyman425
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    Unhappy 42 Year old Police Officer Spinal Fusion

    Hi, first time posting here. I am preparing to have spinal fusion surgery in 2 days. Surgeon is saying at least single fusion possibly double fusion. He won't know for sure until he gets in there.
    I had laminectomy surgery in September of 2011 after 1 1/2 years of back pain and it hasn't provided any relief. Since then I have had physical therapy, shots, pills, and nothing seems to provide relief. After a 2nd MRI surgeon ordered fusion surgery.
    I couldn't find this answer anywhere, maybe I missed it. I am very concerned about the restrictions placed on a recipient of a spinal fusion surgery especially when it comes to a police officer. I've heard different stories and never received a firm answer.
    My question is after having a spinal fusion is there a possible of damaging the fusion after it initially heals? I guess that answer would help me make a decision in regards to whether or not I'm going to continue in my career or seek a disability retirement. I hate to go out that way but my quality of life is more important to me after going through what I've gone through for the last couple of years.
    As I said i have been searching around on forums and I haven't seem any answers to that question, if there are any. Thanks so much in advance for any help anyone can give me.

     
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    Old 04-22-2012, 05:33 PM   #2
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    Re: 42 Year old Police Officer Spinal Fusion

    Hi -- welcome! If a fusion heals properly, then essentially two vertebrae become one piece of bone. Like any other bones, it could be broken. Keep in mind that even once a fusion completes, the bone continues to strengthen until about two years post-surgery. When you are ready to return to duty, you should ask for limited duties for at least one year after surgery, as long as everything goes well.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that the adjacent vertebrae are under additional stress, due to the fused segments. So, the impact that was spread through your entire spine is now less diffuse. Keeping your core strong will help the muscles to take over some of this burden, but even with the best efforts, some folks have additional damage post-fusion due to the stress on adjacent disks.

     
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    Old 04-23-2012, 07:48 AM   #3
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    Re: 42 Year old Police Officer Spinal Fusion

    Hello, first of all I want to thank you for dedicating your life, career, and health to protecting americans in your area. I am sorry you are going through this and hope your outcome is acceptable and allows you to go back to work. Most surgeries are sucessful and a lot depends on other factors. Like your health, age, lifestyle, and other spine issues.

    In my case I was a CPS case manager for several years, loved my job and career. This change in my career from network engineer happend after a family trauma that included a several year period of doing fostercare as well.

    Unfortunatly this all stopped after my fusion. I had a C6/C7 fusion due to severe stenosis. I have several other "spine" issues and have not healed but became worse after surgery.

    I went out on Short term disability, to long term disabilit, to ssdi as of 4/11/12 just won my case. My hope is to get it together and get back to work.

    To answer your question your quality of life is so important you have to focus on what is important to you and what your body is telling you. Only you will know if you can go back to work. Do not allow arrogant surgeons dictate what you feel or what your body is telling you, give yourself time to heal.

    This is your body and you have to use it for several years to come. I wish you luck in your recovery. Keep us posted as how you are doing.
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    Old 04-23-2012, 07:54 AM   #4
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    Re: 42 Year old Police Officer Spinal Fusion

    My surgeon put a restriction of not lifting more than 10lbs for 4wks after surgery but other than that tried to say I could do everything I did pre-op so I am guessing in a perfect world you would be able to return to work in 2-3 months post op.
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    C5-C6 tear/buldge
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    T1 - T5 neuroforaminal, lesions, facet arthropathy
    Disectomy L5/S1
    Anxiety
    PTSD
    Chronic Pain

     
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    Old 04-23-2012, 12:14 PM   #5
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    Re: 42 Year old Police Officer Spinal Fusion

    Thanks so much for your responses. I received a call today from the surgeon and they have postponed my surgery for 1 week due to some emergency with the surgeon. Maybe thats an omen???!!!
    I'm probably freaking out for nothing but I've spent 23 years in this job so I'm being extra careful to do this right.

    Thanks again!

     
    Old 04-23-2012, 11:45 PM   #6
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    Re: 42 Year old Police Officer Spinal Fusion

    Oh -- lifting restrictions. I had an L4-L5 fusion and was restricted to 10 pounds for four weeks, then 15 pounds until four months post-op.

    I didn't notice which type of fusion you were facing: lumbar, thoracic or cervical, but I was assuming lumbar. My surgeon had planned to do a 360 fusion, which is an anterior lumbar intervertebral and a posterior lumber intervertebral fusion. The 360 is considered to be the most secure form of fusion, so I don't know if this is your surgery plan. My surgeon was able to perform everything he needed with just the anterior approach, and my bones are very strong, so the instrumentation was secure. Given your active profession and younger age, you might have similar good bone density.

    You should keep all options open, as long as possible, to see how your recovery goes. Work with your benefits people and any other resources available.

    (sandiemas -- you must have been through a long process, and I congratulate you on having some financial stability. SSDI is not a walk in the park or a ticket to easy street, so I hope that you are able to recover and return to work in the future.)

     
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    Old 04-24-2012, 02:54 PM   #7
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    Smile Re: 42 Year old Police Officer Spinal Fusion

    Sorry it is a lumbar fusion and he is just going in from the back, not a 360 fusion. I do have an appointment with my retirement board before the surgery just to try to keep the ducks in a row.

    Thanks again for your information, it helps!

    Last edited by randyman425; 04-24-2012 at 02:54 PM.

     
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    Old 04-24-2012, 04:43 PM   #8
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    Re: 42 Year old Police Officer Spinal Fusion

    randyman425

    Have you investigated disc replacement? You may be a candidate for it.

    senior41

     
    Old 04-24-2012, 06:49 PM   #9
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    Re: 42 Year old Police Officer Spinal Fusion

    [QUOTE=senior41;4967443]randyman425

    Have you investigated disc replacement? You may be a candidate for it.

    senior41[/QUOTE]

    No, that was never mentioned. I'll do some googling on it as well. Thanks!

     
    Old 04-24-2012, 10:39 PM   #10
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    Re: 42 Year old Police Officer Spinal Fusion

    Check into long-term outcomes with disc replacements. My spine surgeon indicated that the short-term studies had the same results as fusion, but he thought the long-term studies were deficient. New studies may well have been released, though, and disc replacements, if they have longevity, would address the problems with extra stress on discs adjacent to the fused/replaced discs. If you are willing to risk a replacement needing to be repaired or fused in the future, longevity may not be as critical.

     
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