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L4-S1 Fusion Success Story

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Unread 03-23-2012, 11:26 AM   #231
anniemack
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Unhappy considering L5-S1 fusion

Mike,

Hearing your story has me thinking. I had scoliosis as a kid, i have 2 rods in my back and i am fused from T14-L4 right now. I am having a TON of pain. Its miserable really. it hurts when i breathe, walk, stand, sit, anything. Lots of numbness and sharp pain. I had a CT mylegram done last week and i have broken L5 and S1. So my doc wants to fuse those 2 vertebrate and then fuse my pelvis. I know that there is alot of pain associated with the surgery, im not afraid of that because i have already done it once. What i am afraid of is that i wont ever be able to golf or bowl or do any of the activities that i love. i am athlete. i am on the go all the time. I am curious, how much motion did you lose? My doc is saying that i wont be able to twist at all. He isnt going to restrict me from any activities but he said that i just wont be able to do them. Any insite you have i would really appreciate... i feel quite alone in this situation because it seems like there arent alot of people with GOOD outcomes so it is refreshing to read your story, thanks for posting it!

photo 13 is what he wants to do
photo 12 is what i currently look like. you can see the breaks in the mylegram.
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Unread 04-28-2012, 12:20 PM   #232
AS7873
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Hello to everyone on this forum.

This is the first site that I have actually heard positive results from a fusion and I am happy to hear this compared to the other sites where people are no better off. I will try to make this brief but I am looking for a little bit of advice in the direction to go in. My current injury is L5-S1 Herniation (No evidence of nerve impingement due to it being centralized) with degenerative disc at this level with mild facet joint disease. My injury was one that was pre-existing back in Nov of 2010 when if first noticed some discomfort when lifting weights. I did however fade away over time but resurfaced in the beginning of 2011 and an MRI confirmed mild disc bulge at that time. I took time off from work and was back to work with no real complications. The beginning of the summer of 2011 is where I noticed the pain return and soon leg pain in both legs, which was mild. By September of 2011-I hade leg pain more then any back pain. I received the first epidural injection which did work for sometime but I would still occasionally flare ups and used message therapy, chiropractor care as well as acupuncture and physical therapy. Well in late December a work related incident (Wont go into the specifics of my job but can say that it is physically and mentally demanding) caused me to reinjure it causing tailbone pain and more leg pain/foot pain which is never a continuous flow but can bounce from the back of the leg to the foot then the opposite leg. I received two epidural injections with little to no relief as well as physical therapy. In April the work Doctor stated that fusion would have to be done in order to correct the problem. I disagreed and spent my own money to see the best Orthopedic in the Southeast and was informed it was not matter of if but a matter of when I was going to have surgery. I would like to point out that this most recent Surgeon has been my 6th opinion and has an excellent track record. I was informed that I could continue to on a conservative treatment plan but eventually would have to have the surgery to correct the problem an anterior fusion was suggested since the disc is already weak and degenerative and discectomy would only be a temporary fix. Thats the short version. So my question is to anyone out there is do I continue to hold out a little bit longer and use things like Yoga, inversion and acupuncture to help with the flare ups. I would like to note that I can do most things with no issue and cannot reproduce the pain other then from sitting or standing for to long or it will just come on and wont go away for long periods of time. I continue to do light exercise and have altered many things and I am more cautious what I do. I will note that the flare-ups are more often and intensify each time but when they do go away I feel completely fine. Its like a roller coaster the best way to put it. I am only 28 and have always been a very athletic person as well as an avid adventure sport person. If anyone has any insight please let me know cause Im really not sure how to approach this since I can be fine one minute then in pain the next minute.
Thanks.
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ginnie (05-11-2012)
Unread 04-28-2012, 02:17 PM   #233
ginnie
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Welcome to Neruo Talk, I hope you get lots of responses from the forum. I came here in crisis over cervial issues. I had a successful but not perfect fusion at C3-7 and I am very much imporved. So yes, there really can be successful outcomes for a surgical approach. You have done great in investigating all your options. You sound like your have gone from every postition that can be taken. I would address several things however. For me, I do not believe a chiropracter is ever a good idea, when you have herniated or buldging disks. This would be too risky for me, myself, to engage this kind of doctor. Your other research, was fantastic. If you have gotten two neruo surgeons, or orthopendic surgeons to agree that surgery is the only way to go, feel confident that this may be a correct solution for you to do. I it won't mean that you will be perfect, but certainly enough to regain much of what ou want to do with your life. It is all about the quality of our life, and how much toward that goal you want to get. Look up the proceedures they are talking about doing. Feel comfortable with all the information before you do this and I am sure our outcome will be good. Healing takes awhile. Just do all they say, and of course do the physical therapy they recommend. I do wish you all the best as you move forward with this. Come back to NT with any other questions or comments you want to make. I am glad you found this site. I was so happy with what and who I met here, I never left. I keep this site as part of my daily life now, and am glad I did. Hope you make some new friends along the way. ginnie
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Unread 04-30-2012, 03:50 PM   #234
AS7873
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Thanks ginnie its great to have some feedback. My biggest issue is that it has been so much for me to take it in and I know Im not mentally prepared for it yet.
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Unread 05-11-2012, 11:24 AM   #235
rhow
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Default Terrified and excited at the same time

Hi all,

I've been reading this blog for a few weeks after my Orthopedist mentioned surgery. My L5 isthmic spondylolysthesis was managed via exercise for years. Then last year it just stopped working, and the pain has been increasing since then. Now we've done the multiple injections, and Chiro, and Acupuncture, etc., etc., etc. I've had enough!

In 13 days I will go under the knife for Posterior laminectomy with instrumentation and bone graft (Gill procedure) and Interbody fusion with cage (TLIF). Gotta love those big scary words.

I'm excited to be done with it, and terrified that it won't work. This blog has really helped. Cross your fingers for me that it works and gets rid of the pain!

-r
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Unread 05-11-2012, 11:48 AM   #236
ginnie
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Default Hi rhow

My surgery was successful, though different C3-7. My psychologist friend had the exact same procedure as you are having. His results are good too. It will be OK, and hopefully there will be a real reduction of pain when you heal. I did do, all the physicial therapy recommended, and I enjoyed it! It didn't hurt and did me a world of good to help me heal. All my best to you. I will keep you in my prayers. ginnie
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Unread 05-11-2012, 01:28 PM   #237
Dr. Smith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhow View Post
I'm excited to be done with it, and terrified that it won't work.
Hi rhow, and Welcome to NT.

In the end, that's what it all comes down to - very profound indeed. We're here for you either way; please stay in touch!

Doc
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Oh, the pain... THE PAIN...

Dr. Smith is NOT a medical doctor. He was a character from LOST IN SPACE.
All opinions expressed are my own. For medical advice/opinion, consult your doctor.
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Unread 05-30-2012, 08:08 PM   #238
eddieb86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwimike View Post
Firstly i just wanted to post this to encourage all those out there that are thinking of having spinal surgery because there are good success stories out there. Before i went through mine i had read alot on the internet about peoples horror stories and it almost put me off having it. but the constant thoughts of suicide were annoying me and i didn't want those things in my head anymore and i thought it surely can't get any worse than it is now. So i had a L4-S1 posterolateral fusion with instrumentation and now 3 months later i am pain free. Please be encouraged , these guys can get it right, sure there are horror stories out there and i know that those people to can be fixed, just hang in there (thats you Pam ). And to those who are thinking about it please go for it, because you don't want to carry on as you are with pain and always think to yourself, "i wonder if the surgery would have fixed it ?" , i waited 10 years before i finally had the courage to go through with it and i wish i had done it years ago.

This was briefly my situation somedays my pain was bearable , other days I could hardly bend over or climb stairs, (the day I was to have the op in hospital I felt great , always the way though isnt it! , but I still went through with it)

Heres a few tips if you do decide to go through with it.

1. Firstly ask around about surgeons, find a good one ,ring around as many medical places as you can and ask whos the best spinal surgeon? I managed to speak with a patient of one surgeon who raved about her op and how good this guy was (she had the same problems as me and had the 2 level fusion done to fix it and never regretted it) so I went with him in the end.

2. If you have the op TAKE IT EASY !!!!, no running, jumping , lifting for at least the first 3 months, this was hard for me as i am an active person, but fight the urge!, the best thing you can do is walk, just a little to start with , then go further and further each day.Listen to your body, it will let you know if you over do it (i had this happen twice) I have only just started light running after 3 months but will continue to not do much up until month 6. There is still lots of healing going on inside you, even though you may feel great, TAKE IT EASY PLEASE! , i can not stress that enough. This is major surgery and your body needs lots of time to heal , don't stress it out by thinking that you feel great after 2 months and can do whatever you like. I laid out on the couch for the first 3 weeks and just watched movies, the only thing i did was my walk each day and i believe this aided big time in a successful recovery.

Well that's all for now, if anyone has any questions, please ask me!! and please all those who still have issues from things that have gone wrong , hang in there! and all those considering this type of surgery , as long as you have exhausted all other options (ie physio, chiropractic, orthopaedic methods just as i did as surgery is the last option) then go for it and i wish you the best!

Cheers
Mike

PS Don't expect to end up so your as good as you were when you were 18 cause i'm def. not! , but i'm active again without pain and i'm happy with no more suicide thoughts at all.My goal is to beable to play soccer again, i am aiming to play my first game on the 1 year anniversary of my operation.
Thanks Mike for your encouragement. I'm having my L4/L5/S1 spinal fusion this coming Monday. I'm really nervous but excited at the same time at the though of being somewhat pain free. I really hope I have such a good success story as yours, because like you I don't want to and think I can live with this pain any longer.
-Eddie
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Unread 06-22-2012, 08:31 AM   #239
AineMuirne
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Hi! I was primarily browsing this website to look for extremely long term effects of spine fusions (such as degradation of discs/vertebrae above and below the fusion site), as I recently had a fusion, but when I saw this post, I decided to add my (so far) extremely positive story.

In August of 2011, I had a fusion of T12-L2 as a result of an L1 burst fracture. I'm a 22 year old female. I was in moderately good shape... I am thin, but wasn't necessarily all that active or muscular even before, but I eat extremely healthfully.

My fusion was performed by minimally invasive technique (XLIF) by a very skilled surgeon (right place at the right time, by the Grace of God, as this was emergency surgery). He used a 2 inch incision on my left side, removed my second to lowest rib and used that for access and as a bone graft. The bone graft was placed in a titanium cage and held in place by titanium screws. I'm told I shouldn't set off any alarms, lol. He didn't cut any muscles or anything, and sealed the incision with surgical glue and internal stitches. The scar looks very nice and I think it will be almost invisible eventually. I wore a brace for 3 months while not in bed. I have the best posture now! Hahaha.

After 3 weeks I had no pain when laying down or standing/sitting up for less than twenty minutes or so. I had a dull, tired ache after standing/sitting up for longer, but nothing major. The time I could stand/sit up without pain increased over time. At this point, if I retain good posture while sitting (I always do so while standing), I have NO pain, no matter how long I sit or stand up. Right now I feel completely the same as I did before I broke my back. If I let my posture slack, I get a bit of that tired ache after about an hour or two. At times, I can feel the hardware... just like there's something gripping my spine, but it's not uncomfortable. It's just weird, and exactly like kiwimike described.

My fusion has taken extremely well and I'm just about fully fused. I have what should be my last appointment in August, and at that point, I'll be completely cleared for activity. Right now, I can be active, as long as it's low impact. So I swim.

Attached X-ray is from February.
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Unread 06-22-2012, 09:23 AM   #240
bretd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwimike View Post
Firstly i just wanted to post this to encourage all those out there that are thinking of having spinal surgery because there are good success stories out there. Before i went through mine i had read alot on the internet about peoples horror stories and it almost put me off having it. but the constant thoughts of suicide were annoying me and i didn't want those things in my head anymore and i thought it surely can't get any worse than it is now. So i had a L4-S1 posterolateral fusion with instrumentation and now 3 months later i am pain free. Please be encouraged , these guys can get it right, sure there are horror stories out there and i know that those people to can be fixed, just hang in there (thats you Pam ). And to those who are thinking about it please go for it, because you don't want to carry on as you are with pain and always think to yourself, "i wonder if the surgery would have fixed it ?" , i waited 10 years before i finally had the courage to go through with it and i wish i had done it years ago.

This was briefly my situation somedays my pain was bearable , other days I could hardly bend over or climb stairs, (the day I was to have the op in hospital I felt great , always the way though isnt it! , but I still went through with it)

Heres a few tips if you do decide to go through with it.

1. Firstly ask around about surgeons, find a good one ,ring around as many medical places as you can and ask whos the best spinal surgeon? I managed to speak with a patient of one surgeon who raved about her op and how good this guy was (she had the same problems as me and had the 2 level fusion done to fix it and never regretted it) so I went with him in the end.

2. If you have the op TAKE IT EASY !!!!, no running, jumping , lifting for at least the first 3 months, this was hard for me as i am an active person, but fight the urge!, the best thing you can do is walk, just a little to start with , then go further and further each day.Listen to your body, it will let you know if you over do it (i had this happen twice) I have only just started light running after 3 months but will continue to not do much up until month 6. There is still lots of healing going on inside you, even though you may feel great, TAKE IT EASY PLEASE! , i can not stress that enough. This is major surgery and your body needs lots of time to heal , don't stress it out by thinking that you feel great after 2 months and can do whatever you like. I laid out on the couch for the first 3 weeks and just watched movies, the only thing i did was my walk each day and i believe this aided big time in a successful recovery.

Well that's all for now, if anyone has any questions, please ask me!! and please all those who still have issues from things that have gone wrong , hang in there! and all those considering this type of surgery , as long as you have exhausted all other options (ie physio, chiropractic, orthopaedic methods just as i did as surgery is the last option) then go for it and i wish you the best!

Cheers
Mike

PS Don't expect to end up so your as good as you were when you were 18 cause i'm def. not! , but i'm active again without pain and i'm happy with no more suicide thoughts at all.My goal is to beable to play soccer again, i am aiming to play my first game on the 1 year anniversary of my operation.
That sounds like a great story, I had a triple spinal fusion l-3 l-4 two years ago. Not as great of a story, still in alot of pain and unable to work. But I was bed riden before surgery so some success.
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