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L5-S1 Anterior Fusion with bone graft

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Old 05-27-2002, 07:33 PM   #1
Chris Nick
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Hamilton Square NJ
Posts: 2
Chris Nick HB User
L5-S1 Anterior Fusion with bone graft

I have decided to get L5-S1 Anterior Fusion with a bone graft in July 2002. I have had years of back pain due to a degenerated disc and have tried all types of conservative treatment.

I need to get all the information that I can about any experiences that anyone has had regarding the surgery, recovery, pain, physical therapy, etc.

Anything you can tell me would be greatly appreciated. I've been reading alot of info on the internet, but I need to hear from actual patients too.

Chris Nick

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Old 05-28-2002, 05:47 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2002
Location: NY
Posts: 138
beebauser HB User
Re: L5-S1 Anterior Fusion with bone graft

I had a fusion with doner bone in june of 2001. It was painful for the first few days, then it got alot better daily. I was in hospital only 2 days, on morphine drip. I felt much better when I got home. It has to be used a a last resort, because its not always successful. I had 3 months of no pain meds before I started up again, the pain is different then before. It starts in my low back and runs down my leg around my knee and sometimes burns to my toes.
I am back to making appt. MRI's and trying to find a neouro that is on my insurance plan.
I think my recovery would have been better if I didnt slip and fall a few months ago.
My best advice is to be very careful during your recouvery time..dont and I mean DONT overdo it. I did and am very sorry now.
Also remember what you hear at this site is the people who are still suffering, the ones who get better dont usually come back here often. so keep that in mind and good luck to you
hope you have a pain free moment

Old 05-28-2002, 01:11 PM   #3
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 73
DavyD HB User
Re: L5-S1 Anterior Fusion with bone graft

Hi Chris and ALL,

Like you, I am waiting for surgery, but must disagree with bee.
This site is full of very kind and helpful people who have had their surgery's and have come back to tell us how they are getting on. I have had a wealth of information and support from them.
Take a look through the boards and look for the three L's Linda, Lynn , Lizzie and many more.
They will all help, of that I am sure.

ALL the best to you,

Love to ALL,


Old 05-30-2002, 06:10 PM   #4
Posts: n/a
Re: L5-S1 Anterior Fusion with bone graft

Hello there! Well I am getting ready to have spinal fusion done L4 and L5 with a Brantigan cage instead of bone. I also have to get screws and rods, the whole works! I go tomorrow May 31st to get my pretests done at the hospital. I have surgery next Friday, June 7th. I will keep you posted on hoe things go. I have done the chiropractor thing, 5 injections, physical therapy and nothing worked, finally I had a MRI which showed Degenerative Disc Disease and a ruotured disk in L4 and a bulging disk in L4, Most of my pain is my sciatic nerve, it just feels like a knife and someone ripping my muscle in my right buttock, upper thigh area. I am actually glad I am getting surgery because I am tored of living in pain. i am a deputy sheriff so I work 12 hour shifts and let me tell you I am in tears by the end of the day. I am nervous but anxious at the same time.... I have read a ton of stories some good some horrible but I have to think positive! And so do you. I will keep you posted....take care!

Old 05-31-2002, 07:46 AM   #5
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Atlanta, GA USA
Posts: 11
JanEllen HB User
Re: L5-S1 Anterior Fusion with bone graft

Following 1 laminectomy and 1 hemi-laminectomy at L5-S1, I had a one level fusion at L4-L5 for spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis. My questions to you: does your MRI show either of these conditions? Are you showing signs of nerve damage in your legs and or feet? If you can go to your library and read an article in the April 8, 2002 NEW YORKER entitled "A Knife in the Back" (You might still be able to access it on line.), you would find this very informative. Another question: Have you had more than one medical opinion - from an orthopedic spinal specialist and a neurosurgeon? I think these are all very important things to do. My fusion using my own bone has "been successful", but it did not ease the nerve pain (neuropothy) in my foot and leg; it DID cause NEW nerve damage from my S1 area - now causing total numbness in the groin and buttock area. The surgeon's comments: "It must have been something I did!", as there are so many nerves so close together. I had 3 medical opinions before the fusion. One neurosurgeon wanted to do both posterior and anterior surgeries, cages and rods. Scared me to death! I opted for lesser surgery using sublaminar wire fixation with screws and the autologous iliac crest cancellous bone graft. As far as my back goes: it fused and resolved the problem of L4 sliipping on L5 (the spondy). After 1 1/2 years since my fusion, the spinal pain requires only Tylenol to keep me comfortable from arthritis in the spine. I take Neurontin for the nerve pain in my foot and leg. After my 1st laminectomy, I spent 10 fairly comfortable years before the back pain struck again. My recovery time from this fusion was quick - out for lunch in 2 weeks. Back pain from the fusion was a little more than from the laminectomies; turning over in bed was - and still is - the most painful thing I do! I wish you well! ~Jan~

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