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    Lumbar Spinal Fusion
    LChristmas posted:
    I've been through 2.5 years of pain management, I just saw the spine surgeon this morning, suggesting that we fuse my L3/4 and L4/5, the ya re almost completely gone, Has anyone dealt with this before? I'd like some thoughts before I dive in!!
    DianeR01 responded:
    Hi, and welcome,

    You haven't given us much information about your situation but I will give you my thoughts in general.

    I had L3-S1 fused about 4 years ago due to recurring ruptured disks, arthritis, spondylisis and scoliosis. I had a tremendous outcome and live my life pretty much pain free.

    It sounds like you have explored the more conservative treatments for some time so your next step would be to get a second opinion. There are orthopaedic spine specialists and neurosurgeon spine specialists, dependig upon who you have been seeing you may want to seek out the opinion of the other type of doc.

    Another thing to think about is you should not be going into the surgery with the belief it will solve your pain issues. There is only about a 50-60%success rate for pain relief. The purpose of the surgery should be for spine stabilization. Once the surgery has been done, you cannot go back.

    For me, I was back at work, a desk job, in about 6 weeks. I felt pretty good immediately after the surgery and over did everything. Unfortunately that cost me in additional pain and it took a total of about a year before I really felt 100%. You really need to look at your home/work life and realize you will need to take a significant amount of time off work for not only the surgery but for physical therapy too.

    Last, start a list of questions to ask your doc. Take the list to the doctor and make sure every question is answered to your satisfaction before making a final decision.

    there are other people here with different stories and different levels of success and hopefully they will weigh in with their thoughts. Please stay in touch and let us know of your decisions.

    DianeR01 responded:
    Forgive my verbosity today! I had one last thought.

    If you have L3-L5 fused that will leave L5-S1 very vulnerable to damage as it will be under much stress. The levels above and below a fusion are much more prone to injury. Please ask your doctor about this as one of your questions.
    LChristmas replied to DianeR01's response:
    Thank you for your suggestion. I've been to two Ortho Spine specialists. The first one wouldn't touch me because of the damage - basically control the pain, which I've been unsuccessful at. The second Spine Specialist sugeested the fusion to possibly limit the continuing damage to the two disc's, besides they're pretty much immobile now. I have a wonderful position and boss who is very understanding about this matter & very supportive, so that's a positive toward this decision. I have a very active life & refuse to just sit and watch it pass, I need to attempt to get this taken care of - at this point I feel like I have nothing to lose. You gave me some hope that this may work!
    CTBeth replied to LChristmas's response:
    Hi from Connecticut,
    It kind-of sounds as if you're leaning toward having the fusion.

    May I ask before I proceed, have you consulted with a neurosurgeon?

    I have had a cervical and lumber fusion, both multi level.

    I would stress only that the post-op period comes with physical limitations. While only temporary, your activity level will, indeed, be disrupted.

    You sure do have a good attitude going into the surgery and this is so important. I wish you success and it sounds as if you really are aware of with what you're getting involved.


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