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Just Scheduled L4-L5 Spinal Fusion

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Unread 01-29-2013, 05:15 AM   #1
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Frown Just Scheduled L4-L5 Spinal Fusion

hi! i am new here, and was hoping someone might have had experience with this surgery. i just had the first appointment with my new neurosurgeon on 1/26, and he says i have L4-L5 instability w/ DDD and facet hypertrophy.

i had a failed microdiscectomy in 8/11 and my life fell apart. i never worked as a nurse another day. after a fall at work in 1998, i struggled with my back and had every treatment out there- but i still managed to work 8 hours/ day. as long as i had a daily routine and knew i was helping my patients i could manage.

becoming disabled is the worst thing imaginable. i feel like a different person. i am unable to perform any housework, and even showering my lower body is difficult. we just moved to phoenix and i have no supports here at all. my husband does the best he can, but i am always acutely aware that the house is only superficially clean and this makes me so guilty.

my neurosurgeon said he felt confident he could "fix me". i want to believe this, but i just can't allow myself false hope. he said he's done hundreds of these surgeries (his credentials are impressive, and i really like his manner).

i'm scared and not afraid to admit it. maybe it was the failed surgery that has me feeling so negative.

i hope someone has undergone this procedure, and i thank you in advance for any help you can give.
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Unread 01-30-2013, 08:14 PM   #2
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When any doctor says he can "fix" you, that scares me. That's a pretty arrogant thing to say. My surgeon said that too, and I'm now disabled due to his 2 open surgeries he did on me.

I WISH you would get at LEAST 2 different opinions from other Neurosurgeons before scheduling the surgery. NEVER schedule surgery before getting more opinions!!! I'll be honest with you and say that I would think that therapy would help you much better than fusion, but I have not see your MRI report either.

There are some things you may not know about surgery. First, surgery is NOT for pain. Surgery is ONLY for mechanical problems. Surgery does NOT fix pain. Usually after surgery, you are left with the same pain or worse. Also, after surgery, the levels above and below will fail. It's called the "Domino Effect." These levels fail because they've had to take on more of the load. Your doctor most likely will NOT tell you about this. And latest studies have shown that people who have had spinal fusions/surgeries have had the SAME results as people who have opted for physical therapy! So that's why I say that therapy just MIGHT solve your problem!

For one thing, your surgeon cannot fix the DDD. That is just a degenerative thing that's going to continue. We all have it -- everyone walking on the face of the earth has it to a certain degree -- it's just that some of us have pain with it, and some of us herniate discs to the point that it causes lots of pain and nerve problems.

I hope and pray that you will get other opinions before you undergo ANY surgery. You need to be sure this is what is needed. If you can avoid more surgery, PLEASE do it, as surgery just begets more surgery. I wish you the very best. God bless and please take care. Hugs, Lee
recovering alcoholic, sober since 7-29-93;severe depression; 2 open spinal surgeries; severe sciatica since 1986; epidurals; trigger points; myelograms; Rhizotomy; Racz procedure; spinal cord stimulator implant (and later removal); morphine pump trial (didn't work);now inoperable; lumpectomy; radiation; breast cancer survivor; heart attack; fibromyalgia; on disability.

Often the test of courage is not to die, but to live..
.................................................. ...............Orestes
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Unread 02-09-2013, 11:11 AM   #3
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Hello there! When I read your post I felt I needed to reach out to you. Most importantly, I would think very seriously about spinal fusion surgery- (I had an anterior-posterior fusion L4-S1 in 2002). It was not a success. Please consider 2nd and 3rd opinions. I wish someone had told me this! My heart goes out to you and I am new here as well but less invasive things could possibly help w/ your pain but fusion does NOT always relieve pain. I know that disability is lonely and very tough but this forum seems wonderful and people in similar situations can relate, you know??? My thoughts are with you and please know you are not alone.
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