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Spondylolisthesis causing nerve pain- surgery reccomended on L4-L5/L5-S1
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An_189522 posted:
Hello,
I am looking for anyone who has gone through a spinal fusion due to Spondylolisthesis and as a result, has had success with the elimination of nerve pain. (My pain goes from my lower back down through the back of my left leg into my toes.) I would like to understand the success rate of this type of surgery- (PLIF- Cage/ titanium rods/ screws and bone grafts)

I was told I had a 100% chance my nerve pain would be gone, but the actual back pain would be a 50/50 chance. I have concerns about loosing 20% less mobility in my spine for the rest of my life, but in addition I am also concerned about injuring any of the disks above it.(I was told, one has to be rather active i.e contact sports etc, for this to happen) I was also told my healing process would take 3-4 months to feel better, but a year until I felt like "me" again.

I have heard pleanty of horror stories, but not many stories in general from this condition, let alone any success stories. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks.
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bj1208 responded:
hi Anon_33536 - welcome to the board - sorry you are looking at having surgery - it should always be the last resort - after all else has failed as far as treatments.

Please remember that this is a support board for those of us that have some type of failed back/neck surgery - we do have some success stories but not that many as those that have success surgeries are leading 'normal' lives.

I did have Anterior Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 - they went in thru my lower stomach and removed the L5-S1 disc (disc was pinching my left side S1 joint) I have a titanium plate, screws and cage in (no rods). When I was discussing the surgery with the surgeon he did say he could fix the disc problem - but that my pains would be a 50/50 chance - my recovery time was approximate as everyone is different. By my 6th week post op I was 100% fused and everything was looking great - then after my 3rd month post op everything went downhill - I was having worse pains than before my surgery - After my 7th month post op the surgeon said he did everything he could - I refused to believe this and asked for tests to be done - these were done and nothing showed up - everything was fine - I still did not believe it - so I went from one pain management to another - finally went to my primary care doc and he put me thru to the right pain management doc who referred me to a physiatists (SP!) they do deeper research into pains - and am working with them and it is a great place.

Oh one thing that a surgeon had told me is why did they wait so long to do the surgery (injury happened 5/06 - surgery was 2 years later) - a lot had to do with insurance changes etc. but he did say that it was in the reports as pinching the nerve root and should have been done sooner - normally if surgery is done withing 6 months of injury nerve root damage can be reversible but if after 6 months then it's harder to determine if damage will heal or be permanent - and by the way I do have permanent nerve damage in both legs.

Please let us know how things go and if you do hear from anyone with good results - take care - Joy~
 
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lilmama333333 responded:
I am having surgery on the first of June. I have spondylolisthesis and spinal cord snydrome.I am trying to find someone who has had this surgery as well. They are going in and disconnecting the fiber that is over stretched and weighing down on my brain stem. It is over expanded and could snap and paralize me at anytime.
 
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mysweetadam replied to bj1208's response:
Hi Joy,
Thank you so much for all of the info. My proceedure is being delayed due to a sinus infection that is resistant to now 7 anti-biotics---unbelievable. Doc won't do surgery with this going on. Makes me nervous, because I am at risk of permanent nerve damage by not doing the surgery. I am terrified by your story. I am so sorry this has happened to you. I am worried about this-- hearing how everything is fine and then turns for the worse. I am having the proceedure done at the #2 best hospital in the country for this (HSS) so I am hoping the results will be good. Keep you posted. Thanks again....
 
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mysweetadam replied to lilmama333333's response:
Good luck lilmama, please keep me posted on your results...
 
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bj1208 replied to mysweetadam's response:
hi mysweetadam - please please do not be worried by my story - we share our stories with each other so that we can learn from them - i think that u will do well with ur surgery so please take it easy and don't worry so much -

also - have u thought about taking a break from the antibiotics? the reason i ask is that sometimes they may make the infections worse where they will not get better - and after 7 of them! you must live in the mid-west/south area for that! (I'm in MO and I know about those!!)

good luck and let us know how things go - I will be praying for you - Joy~~
 
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mysweetadam replied to bj1208's response:
Thanks Joy...I really appreciate it
 
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orangetabby responded:
Hi!

I have not been around here in awhile and I must say that this board is NOT for only those with back surgeries--failed or otherwise. This board IS for people of all sorts with any kind of back problem and any kind of treatment or even those not going through treatments.

I have spondylolisthesis of L4 and L5 over S1. Personally I am avoiding surgery. I feel that the odds of it actually helping are not all that good and that the failure rates of needing 2nd or more surgeries to fix up the first one seem to happen all too frequently.

Have you tried the epidural injections? I DO find that they are minimally invasive and that they do help a lot. Still I am affected by my condition and mainly it is in the back that I do feel the pain.

I wish you luck in whatever you decide to do.

orangetabby
 
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WarRanger replied to orangetabby's response:
I will let you know that every person that I know of that has allowed for Metal to be used, has either lost mobility or had to have it removed for one reason or another.

I will agree with Orangtabby as "Epidural Injections" have come a long way and if you add in "Nerve Ablation (Sp)", the combination can give you to 3 month - 4 months of pain relief per session.

See I unfortunately am see under the Veteran's Administration and was given a treatment plan that included a Micro-discectomy on my L5 / S1 that was a failure, so they repeated it only a few month later and I will say that it gave me relief, but only for a few months before it returned worse than ever, also during that time they have me convinced that my Cervical discs were causing numerous issues throughout my body and if I did not allow them to perform a discectomy from the C-2 / C-7 that I would be paralyzed from the neck down. So be careful as they Neurosurgeons' are trying to make an educated guess at best and with that in mind, I would inquire about their education thoroughly.

Good Luck
 
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Geradine4733 responded:
I had a laminectomy, fusion L2 - S1 with metal rods and screws almost 8 years ago. It made everything worse. It has been a real nightmare. The Spine Surgeon gave me a really rosy picture too. I could hardly wait to have the surgery.

My back and nerrve pain that comes from my back through the buttocks down the hips down the knees to the toes is much higher now, and I have to be on much stronger meds.

L1 herniated because of the metal. Your spine wants to go back the way it was. It does not want to be rigid. The fusion could not fuse because L1 disc herniated so there was no stablility there.

Do you have arthritis. If you have Degenerative Disc Disease, I would never have it done because the disc disease will continue, and the discs above have a good chance to herniate. I did everything they told me to do. I walked and walked, and I do not smoke.

If this is an injury, and you do not have arthritis, you will have a better chance. Good luck whatever you decide to do.
 
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mysweetadam replied to orangetabby's response:
Hi Orangetabby,
Yep...went through two rounds of Epidural injections and gave me only a week of relief...also, because of the stability issues, the problem will get worse over time. So the choice remains- do I have the surgery at 37 or at 57. I have had 2 surgical consults all saying the same thing. I even went for a non- sugical consult for a chiropracter, and after he read my reports, he wouldn't touch me with a 10 foot pole.

I completely understand your point about the surgery, but I cannot be popping pills and drugged up for the rest of my life. I simply refuse. I too have not been able to find many success stories out there about a 2 level fusion with stabilization and it scares me. I am not sure where else to look on the web for more success stories. All I know is I have a 20 month old son who needs his Mommy. A Mommy who is not in agony or drugged up on pain meds. I am scared I could be making a horrible choice, but I am not sure of any alternatives at this point.
Any other suggestions are greatly welcomed....
Thanks again,
mysweetadam
 
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mysweetadam replied to WarRanger's response:
Thanks WarRanger...I would love 3-4 months of relief. Unfortunately I have been through 2 and I only had a week of relief from both, and neither of them completely took the pain away. I wish there were additional options....
 
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BACKPAIN13 responded:
I WENT THROUGH A SPINAL FUSION ABOUT 2 YEARS AGO. I HAVE NOT GOTTEN BETTER BUT WORSE. I WAS TOLD I WOULD BE BACK TO WORK IN 6 MONTHS NOW I AM APPLYING FOR DISABILITY I HAVENT WORKED IN TWO YEARS. I HAVE CHILDREN AND A HUSBAND . I NEVER KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT NERVE DAMAGE. I STILL DONT KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS.I WOULD TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT THIS SURGERY. I DONT THINK I HAD A CHOICE. I ALSO WAS AT THE POINT WHERE I COULD NOT WALK. I DONT THINK THEY HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS BUT THEY TRY. I FEEL LIKE I HAVE BEEN THE ONLY ONE GOING THROUGH THIS I AM SO GLAD I AM NOT ALONE. I ALSO HAVE HAD THE EPIDURAL SHOTS REMOVAL OF THE SCREWS AND TRIED THE STIMULATOR NONE OF THESE WORKED FOR ME. YOU MIGHT BE LUCKY AND HAVE A SUCESSFULL SURGERY. I AM LOOKING TO GET BETTER IT DOES SEEM LIKE A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE SIMILAR STORIES TO SHARE. ONE THING I WOULD TELL YOU IS BE PREPARED HAVE EVERYTHING AT ARMS REACH . ALSO HAVE ALL BUSINESS IN ORDER SOMETIMES RECOVERY TAKES LONGER. ALSO I FOUND THE THIRD WEEK WAS THE HARDEST WITH PAIN. I FOUND THIS TO BE VERY PAINFULL SURGERY. WISHING YOU SUCCESS AND GOD BLESS YOU WITH YOUR DECISION.HAVING A PRAY FULL LIFE IS A MUST.
 
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apryl11 replied to BACKPAIN13's response:
I AM WITH YOU. YOUR STORY IS SO FIMILAR. I AM 29
YEAR OLD FEMALE AND HAVE HAD 2 FAILED SPINAL FUSIONS ON L5S1 AND ITS BEEN A YEAR 1/2. I CAN HARDLY DO ANY NORMAL DAILY ACTIVITIES. WALKING HURTS, BENDING OVER HURTS,TAKING SHOWERS IS A PROCESS, EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE NOW IS SO MUCH HARDER. I HAVE A 5 YEAR OLD LITTLE BOY AND FEEL SO GUILTY SOMETIMES BECAUSE MOMMY CAN'T PLAY IN THE PARK OR GO FOR WALKS, JUST LITTLE THINGS THAT I TOOK FOR GRANTED BEFORE. I SAW ANOTHER NEUROSURGEON RECENTLY AND I AM CONTINPLATING ANOTHER SURGERY. THE 2 SPACERS THAT THE PREVIOUS NEUROSURGEON PUT IN MY BACK FAILED AND THE BONES DID NOT FUSE. I AM AT MY WITS END. I AM NOW CONSIDERING ANOTHER SURGERY JUST BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO BE ON PAIN MEDS MY WHOLE LIFE. I AM SCARED TO DEATH. SO I HAVE A NEW DOC THATS SUPPOSED TO BE ONE OF THE BEST WHERE I LIVE. .BUT I DEFINITLY FEEL YOUR PAIN. IT JUST SEEMS LIKE ITS NEVER ENDING. THERES NOT A SECOND IN A DAY THAT I DON'T FEEL PAIN. ALSO AFTER THE SECOND SURGERY BY THE FIRST NEUROSURGEON AND I WILL SAY HIS NAME DR SUHAS PAI AT GASTON NEUROSCIENCE AND SPINE CENTER. HE WAS
HORRIBLE. SO HOPEFULLY THIS NEW DOC WILL HELP
ME START TO LEAD A NORMAL OR ALMOST NORMAL>
LIFE AGAIN. THANKS FOR YOUR STORY ITS NICE TO
KNOW I'M NOT ALONE. I WISH YOU THE BEST AND HOPE
YOU FIND HELP. ALSO I HAVE BEEN DOING A LOT OF RESEARCH ON THIS AND THERE IS A SPECIALIST WHO
REALLY IS SUPPOSED TO FOCUS ON PEOPLE WITH PAIN THE NAME OF THE DOC IS A PHYSIATIST. MAYBE THAT CAN HELP.
 
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bj1208 replied to apryl11's response:
hi and welcome to the support group -


2 things:


1) you are responding to posts that are over 2 years ago


2) WEBMD's guidelines prohibits us from listing physicians names, hospitals etc., so your post may be removed as you have made a remark about the physician.


I have a failed fusion (click my name or picture and read my story) - surgeries are out of the question only because my fusion did fuse but there was nothing they could do for the chronic pains or the nerve damage in both legs.


you must remember, with any surgery, it is not a guarantee it will fix the problem - most fusions have a success rate of 40-60% - I am thankful that my surgery was a success but there are other factors involved in the surgery such as the back pain and any leg pains possibly caused by the damaged disc(s) pressing on nerve roots. so please keep this in mind when you see the new surgeon - and ask tons of questions - the number one question will this correct the disc problems and the 2nd question - will it take away the pains -


surgeons cannot guarantee any of this so be leary of those that do make promises - my surgeon stated he could fix the disc but was hopeful that my pains would be reduced - hence the word hopeful - he did fix the disc and I fused 100% - but I am in worse pains now than before my surgery. I have seen numerous Orthopedic Spine Specialist and Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist - and they have all stated that surgery is out of the question as there is nothing they can do to help with the pains.


I am in the process of seeing another Neuro Spine Specialist to see about a Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant - this is a 2 part out patient operation where a trial period is done - and if it works then the permanent is implanted. This sends false signals to ur brain saying there is no pain. I am hoping this works - if not then I will be looking at having the pain pump implant done whereas the pain medicine is continuously injected into the sacral area (believe thats correct) - and since it is injected into this area the amount of pain meds needed is greatly reduced - as when you take pain meds orally it goes thru the entire body before settling into the pain site and you may only get about 10% of the pain med where needed.


when you see the Physiatrist (I am seeing same type of pain doc) be sure to ask about options - they can go over everything with you.


oh also, when posting please try to not use caps - it makes it harder to read and it has also been determined that when using caps it appears you (not directed at you) are yelling -


I do hope you can find the pain relief needed - please keep us posted what you find out -


take care - Joy


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