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JerryRandall posted:
To all of the medical professionals who may read this:

I went to consultation and my prospective doctor told me I have really bad stenosis and overgrown bone on my L4-L5 vertebrae. I know people who have had similar pain to mine and have gotten spinal fusion and hated it, got no better! I am too young to be in this much pain and have a bad surgery. My question to you is, how credible is this arthroscopic laser surgery? Every patient I've talked to is very happy with their results. Want to hear it from a doc though!
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Rafael Levin, MD, MSc responded:
Dear Mr. Randall,

The majority of patients with severe symptomatic stenosis such as you may have at L4-5 do not require a fusion. Surgery which is typically indicated as a last resort after failure of non-operative interventions (therapy, medications, epidural injections, etc) usually involves a decompression. This procedure can often be done minimally invasively and as an out-patient procedure. The use of a Laser is most likely irrelevant in this case, though Endoscopic decompression might be appropriate depending on your specific condition. Regardless of technique, in general, you have to remember that surgical intervention for stenosis is more predictable for relief of your lower extremity pain and somewhat less predictable for relief of back pain. If a surgeon recommended you to have a fusion operation based on your specific diagnosis, it would be very reasonable for you to obtain a second opinion before proceeding.