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Full Spinal Fusion?

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Unread 06-29-2011, 03:39 PM   #1
AiyannaH
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Default Full Spinal Fusion?

I have an S-curve scoliosis, mainly in the thoracic region. I also was just diagnosed with Sheuermann's Disease between L-4 and L-2. I have a lot of pain in my whole back and cannot run, nor sit down for longer than about 30 minutes. The greatest pain is in my left leg, very much like sciatica. To fix both of these competing problems, my doctor has suggested spinal fusion from L-4 to about T-1 or a little higher. I am 20 years old and very active. I am wondering if any of you have had such a large portion of you back fused, and how it has helped/hindered you (pain, mobility, flexibility, etc.).

Thank you for your help!
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Unread 06-30-2011, 12:27 AM   #2
d0gma
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Default sorry to hear about your trouble

I have two fusions. Nowhere near the issues you have but I certainly would seek a second opinion. Whole spinal fusions are very successful in some cases but they are very BIG operations. I've seen some wonderful results on cases for people on TV and am amazed at the successes there. Fusions leave a lot less mobility and you need to take care how you perform many things in your daily life-from picking things up to exercising safely.

Since you are very active it will be vital that you learn how to properly maintain a safe level of activity and keep your fusion safe and sound. It won't be magic and feel like all is fine. There will be changes, restrictions, possible arthritis, and some risk as in any surgery. To embark on something of this magnitude begs for at least one other opinion from a well respected doctor (or more until you are comfortable).

Fusion makes the disks just above and below the fusion more sensitive to stress and strain. You must be careful how you do things so as to minimize the stress on these disks that now do all the flexion work. You must sit, bend, sleep, exercise in certain ways to help protect your un-fused disks.

I had fusion of c5-6 and L3-4 L4-5 and L5-6 was calcified. So I do things differently but I do pretty well. I got a car with a back up camera so I don't have to turn so much, I must put eye drops in lying down to as not to throw back my head and strain the c4-5 and below c6 disks.

I decided to have surgery only when I got to the point that the risk of death and paralysis was worth relieving the pain. In your case you need also to minimize further damage. A second opinion might make you feel this is the right decision or might open other possibilities.

Whatever happens I wish you all the best. I know it's not easy.
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Unread 07-01-2011, 10:26 PM   #3
Sheri_TOS
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Hi! Several of my aunts and cousins have had their backs fused due to scoliosis. They aren't completely free of pain but they are active - swimming, yoga, etc. so you can still do things after having the spine fused. Despite this, I would recommend getting several opinions due to extent of the fusion the doctor is suggesting. Once the spine is fused, there is no going back.
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Unread 07-03-2011, 06:45 PM   #4
Spiney95
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I hate to hear this. My kids are older than you. Good grief, you are just two years older than my oldest grandchild and facing this. I agree with the advice you have been given but wish to take it a bit farther. You need to be dealing with a spinal secialist who is associated with a major teaching hospital that has the capacity to deal with whatever comes up. Get at least a second opinion. How many times has this doctor performed this procedure? What is his/her success rate? If you get the run around on these questions run/walk/hobble/crawl out of there. Does this doctor want you to go to a rehab. inpatient hospital post op or does he think you don't need it since you are so young. BTW, that is a bunch of bull. Best wishes, Sweetie.
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