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Lumbar Spine Surgery (Page 1)

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Sad I am going to have back surgery on the 26th of this month and I am so scared of going through this. I am haveing a fusion at l4 l5 and I am scared of all the drugs and the recovery and that what if something goes wrong. I suffer from panic attacks so this makes it very hard to deal with and I do not know what to do. I know that a lot of people have had back surgery and not done so well afterwards and a lot do great. Can someone that has had back surgery please help and give me some tips on how to get through this.

Thanks
very scared
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replied February 15th, 2004
Surgery
Hi

just thought i'd let you know - I haven't had fusion but had discectomy almost 15yrs ago and it was a godsend - found immediate relief. Still have probs with back but never been as bad as it was then....Recovery was quite quick but I was v young, only 17yrs, so that prob helped.

I couldn't have stood the pain much longer so was willing to try anything for relief and face the risks.

Hope yours goes as well as mine, and things have come a long way since then! Good luck

b
xx
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replied February 15th, 2004
Spinal Fusion
Hi,

i had a spinal fusion and spinal cord decompression between l5 and s1. I was born with spondylolisthesis and l5 had slipped 14 mm forward before I was diagnosed. My feet and outer calves were completely numb and I experienced episodes of paralysis if I sat with my hips crooked. My dr said that if I even slipped on wet grass and fell, or got in a minor car accident, and the bone slipped any more, then the paralysis would be permanent, so surgery was critical.

This was back in 1984, and I understand that technology has improved and the surgery is not as bad today with lasers and microscopes, they can do it faster and less invasively. But from what I went through, I went into the hospital on monday and had surgery on tuesday. It took 13 hours and I had two 6 inch incisions on my lower back, one on each side of the spine (my "parenthesis"). They also took a bone graft from my hip so they could mix the bone cells with "cement". The "cement" temporarily held the fusion in place while over time the bone cells filled in and grew new bone between the vertabrae. To be honest, there was more pain from my hip where they took the bone graft than there was from the fusion itself. And I was given lots of drugs so I didn't have to live with much pain. But the amount was controlled and carefully watched so that I did not end up addicted to drugs either. I think I was given demerol (injections) for the first couple of days, then switched to percodan for another week or so, then to codeine, which is not very addictive. I think being pain-free is important to healing quickly, so don't hesitate with the drugs immediately after surgery, but be careful over time because you don't want to become addicted to painkillers and then have to deal with that too.

Anyway, they got me walking by friday (starting off using a walker), and I was released from the hospital on saturday. I spent three months on my back with a brace on to allow the new bone growth and to ensure that the fusion took. That was the hardest part, because I was a freshman in highschool (14 years old) and had to miss out on a lot. But then I was released to go back to school. I had to wear a brace (more like a corset) for another 6 months. It did take me at least a year to completely recover and probably several more years before my back really got strong and I became pain free. But, like I said, your surgery may not be so involved today as they have better techniques. My surgery was 20 years ago!

My fusion was a complete success. I have never regretted having this surgery done. I have only positive things to say about my results. I have been able to return to all the activities that I love from backpacking to snow skiing and running. I seldom have back pain today, and then only if I get out of the habit of working out and my back muscles start to weaken. I actually think my back is stronger than a lot of "normal" people. Most times, I don't even think about my back and sometimes it even seems a little weird to think back to how focused my life once was on my back, and yet today (20 years later), I don't even think about it. I know surgery is scary, and you may hear a lot of negative stories about this surgery, but there are certainly success stories out there too. They wouldn't do the surgery if it was always a huge failure. If I had to make the choice again to have the fusion or not, I wouldn't hesitate to go for it!
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replied February 19th, 2004
Surgery Is Over
I had my surgery and everything went well but I then got infection in my back and had to go stay in the hospital for another 5 days. I got bad infection in my back and had to get a picc line implanted in my arm so that I could give myself iv at home every 8 hours. I have had some problems with the infection and the picc line that I had to go to the er 2 days in a row. I have had the picc line for a week and will have to keep it in for 4 to 6 weeks. I am in a lot of pain where my hip was grafted and my legs hurt a lot. All I can do is give it time to see how it will turn out.
Has anybody out there had a picc line before and if so did you have any problems with it????????????
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replied February 26th, 2004
Back Surgery
I sympathize with you and the pain. I had a discectomy in 1998 & my bladder stopped functioning while I was in the hospital. They sent me home with catheters etc. So that I could do my own catheterization to empty my bladder. This dosen't sound difficult but you can appreciate the fact that it is difficult enough to move let alone carry out a sterile procedure at the same time. Stay with it, you will be better off when it's all over.
B.C.
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replied May 8th, 2004
Pain
It has been over 3 months since my surgery and I am in worse pain now than what I was in before and my Dr. Seems very concerned that I am in so much pain and has orderd a mri. I hope I do not ever have to have a injection because the first one I had in 1999 did not help at all the only thing it did was make matters worse because it turned out to be an epidoral that went wrong. It left a hole in my spine and caused bad head aches and head pressure that resulted in me getting panic attacks that to this day I can not get rid of. A blood patch fixed the hole 13 weeks later but I was left to fix the anxiety on my own (i hate workers comp). I know they say it takes time after surgery but now I wonder if I did the right thing.

Ajames
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replied May 9th, 2004
Well I will tell you my back surgery's were not worth it I don't think. I have had 4 now. I had my first surgery when I was 16 and I didn't have any choice. Well I honestly think if it would have been done right I would be alright right now but no such luck. My first fusion broke. I had the second one when I was about 22 I think. So they fixed it and put rods in and of course the ligiment in my disk above the fusion broke so we had to do it again. Then my whole back broke. The fusion just didn't hold. So in dec of 2002 I had my 4th surgery and he fused it again and put rods in the front and the back of my spine and he says there is no way I should break now. But because of the surgerys I have alot of soft tissue damage and the scar tissue and i'm just in pain every day. Now there is nothing anyone can do for me. So I just deal with it. The only advise I can give to you is to try to stay strong. And when you have really bad days ( which I have) rememeber it could be worse. I know exactly what your going through and I do feel for you. Don't feel like your alone because your not. If you ever need to talk I do understand what it feels like. I'm 29 now and my doctor says I can't work anymore so I have to deal with that and being told that there is nothing else anyone can do for me. So good luck to you and like I said remember your not alone. It is possible for you to feel better. It is always possible.
Mld
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replied May 9th, 2004
Hi Mld
That really sucks that you have had 4 surgerys and started so young. Hope this last one worked for you. I will not have another surgery if they say I need it because it seems the more you have the more pain you end up with. I can not stand going to doctors anymore. Every time I have to go see one I get in a bad mood. I am 40 and been through a lot and hoping that someday I can go back to work. The pain is bad but their is not a thing I can do about it but just take it day by day. After what that one pain doctor did to me I will never let any doctor stick anything in my back again and I do not care what anyone says. Yea right they are pain doctors for what ?? (to give you pain). Some people do not understand that doctors make screw ups. I can think of many things I have screwed up. Nobody is perfect we all screw up from time to time. Another thing I can not stand is when a doctor will say what is your pain level?? And I just look at them and say you can not put a number on pain. How did you mess up your back to begain with?? Do you get in bad moods when you go to the doctor?? I know we hurt with a lot of pain but it is like you said it could be worse. When I went through cancer treatment 4 years ago I thought the same way that it could have been worse. Hope you get to feeling better.

Ajames
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replied May 9th, 2004
Failed back surgery syndrome: what it is and how to avoid it
failed back surgery syndrome (also called fbss, or failed back syndrome) is a misnomer, as it is not actually a syndrome - it is a very generalized term that is often used to describe the condition of patients who have not had a successful result with spine surgery. There is no equivalent term for this in any other type of surgery (e.G. There is no failed cardiac surgery syndrome, failed knee surgery syndrome, etc).

There are many reasons that a surgery may or may not work, and even with the best surgeon and for the best indications, spine surgery is no more than 95% predictive of a successful result.

Spine surgery is only basically able to accomplish two things:

1) decompressing a nerve root that is pinched, or

2) stabilizing a painful joint

unfortunately, surgery cannot literally cut out a patient’s pain. It is only able to change anatomy, and an anatomical lesion (injury) that is a probable cause of pain must be identified prior to surgery.

By far the number one reason surgery is not effective is because the lesion that was operated on is not in fact the cause of the patient’s pain. In most cases of lower back pain, a pain generator cannot be found and surgery is very unpredictable. For this reason, accurate preoperative patient selection is critical to a successful surgical outcome.

Some types of surgery are far more predictable in terms of alleviating a patient’s symptoms than others. For instance,

a discectomy (or microdiscectomy) for a lumbar disc herniation that is causing leg pain is a very predictable operation. However, a discectomy for a lumbar disc herniation that is causing lower back pain is far less likely to be successful.

A spine fusion for spinal instability (e.G. Spondylolisthesis) is a relatively predictable operation. However, a spine fusion for multi-level lumbar degenerative disc disease is far less likely to be successful in reducing a patient’s pain.

Therefore, the best way to avoid a spine surgery that leads to an unsuccessful result is to stick to operations that have a high degree of success and to make sure that an anatomic lesion that is amenable to surgical correction is identified preoperatively.

In addition to the above-mentioned cause of failed back surgery syndrome, there are several other potential causes of a failed surgery, or continued pain after surgery:

fusion surgery considerations (such as failure to fuse and/or implant failure, or a transfer lesion to another level after a spine fusion, when the next level degenerates and becomes a pain generator)

lumbar decompression surgery considerations (such as recurrent stenosis or disc herniation, inadequate decompression of a nerve root, preoperative nerve damage that does not heal after a decompressive surgery, or nerve damage that occurs during the surgery)

scar tissue considerations

postoperative rehabilitation (continued pain from a secondary pain generator)
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replied May 9th, 2004
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome Is Seen In 10-40 Percent of Pat
For anyone considering surgery please read the info and make an informed choice. Ask your surgeon about the below info.. Look it up on the internet as the article I posted is only 1 of thousands...

Failed back surgery syndrome

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recurrent herniated disc and symptomatic hypertrophic scar can produce similar low back symptoms and radiculopathy.

Gradually increasing symptoms beginning a year or more after discectomy are considered more likely a result of scar radiculopathy, while a more abrupt onset at any interval after surgery is more likely due to recurrent herniated disc.

Failed back surgery syndrome is seen in 10-40 percent of patients who undergo back surgery. It is characterized by intractable pain and varying degrees of functional incapacitation occurring after spine surgery.

Epidural adhesions may occur with no previous treatment of low back pain or sciatica in some patients. Primary formation of epidural adhesions in the epidural space could explain why treatments sometimes fail and why surgery should be avoided in patients whose ct or myelograms are negative for nerve root compression.

The clinical features of lumbosacral spinal fibrosis are polymorphic. Lumbar pain and sciatica that become worse, even with minimal physical activities (seen in 60 percent of patients) are the main complaints. Nocturnal cramps and distal paresthesia are common. Twenty-five percent of patients have low back pain without radiculopathy. Ten percent show cauda equina syndrome with sphincter dysfunction and saddle hypesthesia. Lasegue's sign is positive in only 20 percent of the cases, but the absence of knee and ankle reflexes is frequent.


Case presentation of a postsurgical failed back
complaint: a 43-year-old, white, single male was seen for the chief complaints of low back and right leg pain causing antalgic posture with occasional pain into the left leg as well. The patient had back surgery in 1990 for a laminectomy, and a spinal fusion in 1991. He noted that his back pain returned immediately following the surgeries. He had been seen at many clinics without any improvement.
Examination: examination of the low back at this time revealed marked restriction of range-of-motion, flexion at 40 degrees, extension at five degrees, right and left lateral flexion at 10 degrees, and rotation at 20 degrees, all of which were accompanied by pain. Straight leg raising was bilaterally painful at 50 degrees, creating leg pains. The muscle power of the lower extremities was grade five of five bilaterally. The right ankle reflex was absent, while the remaining deep reflexes of the lower extremities were +2 bilaterally. No sensory changes were noted on pinwheel examination. The circulation was good.

Radiographic examination revealed the following: an extensive interlaminar fusion at the l4-s1 levels. Lateral projection revealed advanced degeneration of l4-l5 and l5-s1 disc spaces with the posterior fusion in place.

My impressions of this case were as follows:

a. Spinal fusion, interlaminar, at l4-l5 and the sacrum, with advanced degenerative disc disease at the l4-l5 and l5-s1 levels.

B. Possibility of postsurgical stenosis a l4-l5 and l5-s1.

C. Lumbosacral paraspinal myofascitis.

The lumbar spine was treated by goading of acupressure points b22 through b49 (gluteus), followed by a specific adjustment (l3-l4), that is with the fusion of l4 to the sacrum; all of the flexion, extension, and lateral bending motions have been transferred to l3-l4 level. I feel that maintaining complete range-of-motion with minimal stress can help to alleviate and prevent future degenerative changes at l3-l4 level. This will be the level of motion of this patient's spine for the rest of his life. In addition to this, we utilized tetanizing current (interferential), with moist heat to the paravertebral muscles of the lumbar spine and pelvis. The treatment of postsurgical backs can be extremely difficult, especially when sciatic pains are present.

This patient is still under my care and is seen bimonthly. He still has occasional soreness in his left gluteal region, but maintains that he can tolerate this.

According to calodney,1 the diagnosis and treatment of persistent pain in the previously operated low back patient is an increasingly common and complex problem. Over 300,000 laminectomies are performed in the united states each year, and as many as 10-40 percent of patients continue to experience symptoms over the long run.

Accurate diagnosis is mandatory for initiation of successful treatment. According to a study by burton et al.,2 the most common lesions accounting for surgical failure are recurrent or persistent disc herniation, arachnoiditis, epidural fibrosis, along with unidentified myofascial pain syndromes.

In summary, I have contacted the neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons in the area and encouraged their referral to the chiropractor's office instead of the usual physical therapist. The chiropractor can treat the joints of the spine above and below the fusion to prevent degenerative changes. We can also do soft tissue work to alleviate myofascial problems.

Surgeons understand that the failed back surgery syndrome is an iatrogenic disease. The best solution is prevention of unnecessary surgery.



References
calodney a: failed back surgery syndrome.

Burton ak: prediction of the clinical source of low back trouble using multivariable modules. Spine, 16:7-14, 1991.
Randy v. Curtis, dc
longview, texas
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replied May 10th, 2004
Ajames
well I don't get in a bad mood when I go to the surgeons anymore. If anything i'm usually pretty depressed when I go. Either way it's bad news to me. He is going to tell me that there is something else wrong or that this is something I will have to live with for the rest of my life. I really like my surgeon believe it or not he is a really nice guy. Hes very compassionate and very understanding. He would be the one that did the last 3 surgerys. I don't blame him for the fact that my surgerys didn't work. I actually blame myself. I think I went back to work to soon after my surgerys. I only waited 4 months before I went back to work. I don't know how it all started. They said it could have been when I was young and I had an accident in gymnasitcs or I got into a car accident. But my back first started to bother me when I was 14 and it's been down hill since then. They wanted to wait as long as they could before they did the first surgery because I was so young and when I turned 16 we couldn't wait anymore. There was something broken I think it was a vertabrea. So when he did the first fusion he just did the bone grafe from my hip and fused my back with no rods. I had surgery in june and went back to school in sept. So I don't think we waited long enough. And that was the beginning of the whole thing. The second surgery was when he fixed the fusion and put the rods in. The thing that depresses me the most about it all is the fact that he said the last time I was there that this is it. Theres nothing else he can do for me. And my doctor was always pretty positive thinker. He use to say we will try this and that and hopefully I would feel better. But this last time when he said this it, it got me very upset. I mean i'm not stupid I didn't have any false hope that I would be like normal but I think just to hear him say those words kind of hit me the wrong way. And then he said that I could have kids but I would really have to think long and hard about it because I would have a very very hard time with it. He said to be sure to be really sure if i'm going to do it because it would be hell. So to say the least the last time I went to the doctor I was not to happy. What about you how did you first hurt your back? I'm happy to hear you made it through your cancer and that you won that battle. Very happy. Did you get rods in your back? How long has it been since your surgery? I will tell you something the last time I was at the doctors there was a man in the waiting room and we started talking and he was an over weight man and had the same surgery as my 2nd one and he was coming up on his 6 month anniversary of surgery and he told me he felt great!!!!!!! And I will tell you it made me so jealuse. I thought why, why did it work for him and not for me. He is feeling good and doing fine and I just had my 4th and I was feeling like crap. I was so happy for him the fact that he doesn't have to live with it like so much of us have to but at the same time all I could think was why not me. So I just tried to be happy for him and not feel sorry for myself. What did they stick in your back? What was it for? I dont' think I would let anyone stick anything in my back. The doctor once talked about something called blocking but we didn't do it because we realised my ligiment was broken and had to go in again for surgery. Anyway this is really long sorry. Again remember your not alone. Hope your feeling good today anyway. One day at a time right. Talk to you soon
michelle
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replied May 11th, 2004
Hi Michelle
I injured my back on the job allmost 5 years ago and it has taken this long to find the problem after all this time. I lifted a 65 pound box off a graviety rack and when it came out it jerked my arms and back real bad.
I have had every test that you can think of that never did show a thing and when I got a diskogram in nov.Of 2003 it showed that my l5 disk was tore in the inside and one doctor said he could heat the disk to see if that would heal it but then said if he did that it would cause more pain for me to live with and did not feel that this would work. How the problem was found is when my doctor was talking to me about pain and how it can be in your head is when I said if you are in a deep sleep and pain wakes you is that in your head and thats when he said no its not and after thinking about it he took me to the xray room where I have been many times at different doctors and knowing that my range of motion kept me from bending backwards he took a long rod and had me hold on to it while he bent me backwards (boy this hurt like hell) and asked me to not move and he got a xray that showed my disk way out of place being in this position I am not sure how to spell the word to what was causing this but it was streached. So I went to my surgen and he was shocked to see how this xray found the problem. So then I had surgery and it was for a fusion and during surgery they found a disk herniation at l5 and everything was fixed and after going home several days later I had to go back because I had a fever that turned out that I had a postoperative staph infection that caused me to feel bad for a long time. I had to get a picc line put in my arm for 6 weeks to give myself iv antibotics at home every 8 hours and that sucked. I am still on oral meds for this and they make me feel bad.
I will be glad when all of this is over because after seeing over 20 doctors since the injury I am sick and tired and need to be free from all of this.
This is why I get in bad moods is because I am tired of fighting this pain and do not want to go to anymore doctors. I did take the time to read what dr-scotti posted for me and I agree what he has said.
Dr. Scotti if you read this tell me what you think about this surgery I had.
They said I did not have any other damage to my spine and that if I did not have the surgery it would have caused a lot more damage in the long run and at the time before the surgery I was getting worse with pain. Like I said before I feel worse now that I had the surgery. The surgen and my treating doctor said that I would only be 70 to 80 % after I am healed. I just wonder if I did the right thing by having this surgery because now I am worse off and I am not sure if the mri is going to tell whats wrong.

Ajames
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replied May 11th, 2004
Hi Michelle
I injured my back on the job allmost 5 years ago and it has taken this long to find the problem after all this time. I lifted a 65 pound box off a graviety rack and when it came out it jerked my arms and back real bad.
I have had every test that you can think of that never did show a thing and when I got a diskogram in nov.Of 2003 it showed that my l5 disk was tore in the inside and one doctor said he could heat the disk to see if that would heal it but then said if he did that it would cause more pain for me to live with and did not feel that this would work. How the problem was found is when my doctor was talking to me about pain and how it can be in your head is when I said if you are in a deep sleep and pain wakes you is that in your head and thats when he said no its not and after thinking about it he took me to the xray room where I have been many times at different doctors and knowing that my range of motion kept me from bending backwards he took a long rod and had me hold on to it while he bent me backwards (boy this hurt like hell) and asked me to not move and he got a xray that showed my disk way out of place being in this position I am not sure how to spell the word to what was causing this but it was streached. So I went to my surgen and he was shocked to see how this xray found the problem. So then I had surgery and it was for a fusion and during surgery they found a disk herniation at l5 and everything was fixed and after going home several days later I had to go back because I had a fever that turned out that I had a postoperative staph infection that caused me to feel bad for a long time. I had to get a picc line put in my arm for 6 weeks to give myself iv antibotics at home every 8 hours and that sucked. I am still on oral meds for this and they make me feel bad.
I will be glad when all of this is over because after seeing over 20 doctors since the injury I am sick and tired and need to be free from all of this.
This is why I get in bad moods is because I am tired of fighting this pain and do not want to go to anymore doctors. I did take the time to read what dr-scotti posted for me and I agree what he has said.
Dr. Scotti if you read this tell me what you think about this surgery I had.
They said I did not have any other damage to my spine and that if I did not have the surgery it would have caused a lot more damage in the long run and at the time before the surgery I was getting worse with pain. Like I said before I feel worse now that I had the surgery. The surgen and my treating doctor said that I would only be 70 to 80 % after I am healed. I just wonder if I did the right thing by having this surgery because now I am worse off and I am not sure if the mri is going to tell whats wrong.

Ajames
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replied December 12th, 2007
hello
my brother had scoliosis and had to have his spine fused. he said that it was painful for the first few days but very tollerable with the morphine. he was in bed for about 3 days and then the nurses helped him around in a wheel chair and then to walk again. overall he was in the hospital for about a week and a half and he had to watch what he lifted and a few other things for a few years

i am sure the doctor has explained all of this to you already. however if you are concerned you should ask him questions to help put your mind at eas.
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replied December 13th, 2007
Road to Recovery From Spine Surgery
I found these articles on spinal fusion. It lists some good exercises as well. http://www.spineuniverse.com/displayarticl e.php/article3502.html

Good luck.
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replied February 8th, 2008
for very scared
On jan 14th I had surgery done on l5 s1. They took out the broken bone and put in a rod with 4 screws. I suffer from panic attacks and was filled with a lot of anxiety. If you let the nurses know they will be understanding about the anxiety. THe best info I can give is listen to the docs and be understanding that it will be painful, worth it in the end. I'm only 25 and thought this was the end of the road. It;s almost been a month and I was walking the next day in the hospital and excited because the chronic pain was gone and so was the numbness, I suffered from. Have faith and hope and if you smoke dont after surgery, it wont heal correctly and I've heard of others having the surgery twice. The best thing is rest, walking when possible and relaxing. Hope the surgery is a great success and just keep moving forward in life. Good luck.

Danielle25 Smile
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replied April 29th, 2008
Surgery @ 22
I had deformed bone in my facet joint, degenerative disc in L4 and L5, and severe stenosis. They had to remove some of my L4 and L5 vertabre and take out the deformed bone. They had to replace some of the bone with a fake bone like material. They also widened my spinal canal to give my nerve room to breath. Then they installed a cage with 6 screws (fusion) to re-stabalize my spine. The surgery took 3-1/2 hours and 5 days in the hospital. I was only 22. All this was genetic so as I grew, the pain got worse. 1-1/2 years later I have the same pain as before the surgery. I have tried everything because i dont want to be on pain meds my whole life. I have already been on them for 4-5 years and have built up quite a tolerance. I can only imagine how much I would need 5-10 years from now, nevermind when im 40 or 50. It is a very frusterating situation because I cannot live with the current pain. I live a very normal life, but I have to be on meds 24/7 and am worried about the future. My surgeon was never very good explaining everything to me and I wish I never had the surgery. The only positive thing from it is my docs believe how much pain im in, where as before it was quite a process getting proper medication. So, my point in all this is to make sure that you are sure about having surgery. It is not necesarrily the "cure all". It put me in a rut that took a while to get out of. Good luck all!
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replied May 7th, 2008
lower spinal fusion L4-L5
Hello my name is mike I am 30 years old and recently had spinal fusion @ L4-L5. for the last 4 years I suffered with constant pain in my lower back. I spent 2 years going through physical therapy , epidural injections , cortizone shots, then finally the discogram . not one of the above decreased the pain in my back , in the end the discogram said everything and my pain management doc. recommended a surgeon for me. I was extremely nervous about having the surgery because of others that had horror stories . lucky for me I also talked to people who had successful surgeries and were no longer in pain. For anyone who is undecided about having the surgery I would like to say don't listen to anyone but yourself and make sure the surgeon comes highly recommended. After a few visits with the doc. I went into the operating room with alot of confidence in knowing the procedure was right for me and the surgeon was the right man for the job. I was in the operating room for 9 hours and when I woke I was in excrutiating pain and did not get much sleep that night. the following day I was definitely alot more comfortable . I was sent home after 2 1/2 days in the hospital. After only one week and the pain of the surgery started to wear off I could feel the difference in my back, I could tell that the deep aching pain that I had for the last 4 years was gone, now only 3 weeks after the procedure I am free of pain killers that have been dragging me down for years and I am 100% sure it was the right thing to do. I know it is still early but it is an extremely odd feeling not having that pain in my back and I will take the little amount of pain I have now over the pain I had for the last 4 years anyday. I am only one story and no one should decide whether or not to have a fusion based on anyone's personal experience but I am extremely happy with my decision and cannot wait to get back to a normal life. After all the people I talked to and all the research I did the only thing that made up my mind to have the fusion was that I was at a point where I had to take the chance . If I was only to feel 10% better it would be worth it to me , luckily I feel alot better than that. Good luck to anyone out there who is going to go through with it . I hope you are as fortunate as myself as I know how miserable back pain can be .....................
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replied January 20th, 2009
Very Scared - Back Surgery
I totally feel your pain. I hhave had 3 back surgeries since August of 07. My first one was a laminectomy, which if I didn't have within a week I would have been paralyzed. I did ok after that one. I was up and walking in two weeks. Unfortunately I had more problems that weren't discovered til 3 months later, still in pain from the first one. I found out I had needed either fusions at l4 l5 and s1 or a total disc replacement at l5 and fused at l4 and s1. I waited for insurance to approve the disc and they did. I was terrified. I had to be cut open from the from by a vascular surgeon to move all my vital organs out of the way, and then the orthopetic surgeon went in a replaced my disc and fused the rest. My recovery was the worse pain I could ever imagine, not to mention I was allergic to almost every pain medication. One month later I still hurt and they found a bone spur that needed to be replaced, so that was done. It took me almost 4 months to recover and it was a very slow painful recovery but almost a year later I am almost a new person. I still have pain and can never work again, but all the pain I went through after the surgeries was well worth it, (at the time I wwanted to die but I survived). A few words of advice. Make sure you have a top notch surgeon (my dr. is also a brain surgeon), have a lot of family and friends that are going to be there for you 24/7. Know it is going to take time to heal, but I think with a couple of fusions you will do awesome. As far as anxiety, I suffered years of panic attacks and they medications that really help. See if your Dr. can give you something before surgery to calm you down. I wish you the best of luck and will keep you in my prayers. I think in a year you will look back at this and be happy you did it.

Best of Luck
Utreval
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replied March 11th, 2009
Need some info on a ALIF procedure
I'm headed for my second back surgery in 3 years. 1st. one was a lumbar laminotomy and micro diskectomy at L4-L5. I had ruptured a disc and had a 12mm fragment that was causing me a lot of problems. Had the surgery and they DIDN'T find the piece of disk and ended up in the same place as before the surgery, probably a little qworse. Now I've been told that I need a fusion at L5-S1 because of a severely degenerated disk. The procedure that I will be having is a ALIF (Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion).I would like to talk to some people who have had this procedure and see how they are doing. Did it work? Are you better than before? How long we're you down? Etc. Anything that would help me make this decsion would be great! Thanks!
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