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Thread: Anyone had spinal fusion ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire

    Anyone had spinal fusion ?

    Long story short...I've been seeing an Orthopedic surgeon for almost a year because of my back problem. I have Spondylososthesis and spinal stenosis. The pain in my legs seems to be getting worse instead of better. I go to PT twice a week, I've had the series of spinal shots as well as oral steriods and nothing has helped. I also refuse to take anything stronger than asprin. The Orthopedic Dr. says to give it another year because 80% of the cases he has seen eventually get better. I was getting tired of his theory so I made an appointment with a Neurologist for a second opinion. I saw him last week and after he reviewed my xrays and mri he said the only solution in my case was to have spinal fusion.

    Obviously this scares me quite a bit. I've heard horror story after horror story about these operations that have gone wrong. I also don't want to be out of the shop for 4 or 5 months while recovering.

    Has anyone here had spinal fusion? Was it successful? how long was the recovery? The Neurologist said that his method is typically a little less invasive than the orthopedic method.

    Having COPD also makes me a little nervous about making it through the operation. (I tend to worry a lot)

    I'm seeing him again on Thursaday. This time the wife is coming along to ask the questions that I always forget and to possibly set the date for the procedure.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    My spine is fused from L2 to L4, although for a different reason. (My L3 essentially exploded upon landing after a 30' fall, so it was rebuilt with cadaver bone and wire mesh and fused with L2 and L4.) My recovery was pretty long - I was in a full body brace for about 18 months - but most folks recover much more quickly. (I did go back to work at a desk job after 3 months.) I still have pain issues if I overdo things, but for the most part, I've been able to carry on like a normal person. (It did quash my dreams of a career on the professional limbo circuit, though.) Like you, I shy away from pain meds, but I must say that in their proper dosages, they can be a big help in the recovery process right after surgery. They helped relax my back so the healing could happen.

    You mentioned the neurologist's method vs. the orthopedic method...what are the differences?
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Lindale, TX
    You've got two opinions from two doctors, so first of all, I very strongly suggest you round it out with a third opinion, and a fourth and fifth if you're still unsure. Secondly, I need to say that I worked with a guy who delayed his lower back fusion surgery and the result was that the damage progressed to the point that he became inoperable. He was living on pain killers. So, get some more opinions and if the consensus is that it needs to happen, don't delay.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    S E Washington State
    My father in law had it done way long time ago. He did fine, least he never complained. I've got to figure they have improved the process greatly since then. He was a hard working son of a gun also. A Line man that use to crawl around on those big 400 foot towers. Crazy, if you ask me. Sure didn't slow him down any.
    "We the People ......"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Did it in 82 wished I had seen a good chiropractor before I had the knife. I have had the same problem off and on ever scents and the chiropractor has been able to fix it every time. I have been to 2 good ones and one that was on the your going to have to see me twice a week for the next six months. Both the other one had it fixed in just a few visits.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    new york city burbs
    bob, if the pain is ruining or dominating your life, you need to address it soon.
    I waited too long, had 2 different back surgeries in 94 and 96, (laminectomys/discetomys), and both times 10 days later i was back at work.(no lifting)
    The pain got so bad at one point, it started to make me miserable. Depressed all the time, I became antisocial, never wanted to do anything but lay in bed when I wasnt working. I alienated everyone from me, because pain was just constant.

    get some opinions, do your research carefully, and get out of pain.
    Human Test Dummy

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