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looking for input
cdiplock posted:
IN February 2012 i injured my back after much discussion with dr.s and physiotherapists and a Cat Scan it was determined that i had herniated my disc at the l4/l5 on the left side. I have tried many treatments, physiotherapy Hydro /therapy nerve root blocks and a disc lamenectomy
the pain has not gone away and it has now been suggested that i need a fusion. I would like to know if anyone has had a fusion and if so what has been the quality of life after and did it help with your pain
bj1208 responded:
hi and welcome to the support group -

first I would like to ask if there is a big University Hospital near you. If so, it would be beneficial for you to go there and get an opinion. Plus they have all the new techniques as they are also a teaching university.

second - fusions are no guarantee of eliminating or reducing pains. Fusions have a success rate of about 60% and are done to stabilize the spine. during recovery you will not be allowed to bend, reach for items or carry heavy objects. You are told to squat (no bending), use a tool to help reach items (putting all your stuff on counter top reach is ideal - cooking cleaning etc) and with each surgery I've had been told not to lift anything weighing more than a gallon of milk.

Fusion recovery periods are normally between 6 mts to a year so the surgeon can follow the healing of the fusion via x-rays (usually every 6-12 weeks) and once this is done and you are released you will be sent to a physical therapist and/or chiropractor to help strengthen core muscles in your back.

this site will help you understand the fusion and how it is done.

for the most part when a fusion surgery still has pains and/or increased pains they will refer to this as a Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.

These 2 sites explain about the syndrome.

I don't want to scare you but fusions are not to be taken lightly as once they are done there is no going in and undoing it. They can remove some hardware but the disc(s) have been tampered with and in many cases there is a domino effect whereas other discs become unstable above and below fusion sites.

please, please do your research, ask your surgeon many questions and in some cases surgeons will have you speak with one of their patients that may have a high success rate of complete recovery - one maybe two patients out of how many fusions do they do annually?

You can click on my name or picture and read my story but keep in mind I do have Degenerative Disc Disease (hereditary on my mom's side) and plus I did damage my lower lumbar area when I was very young.

I've had 2 failed fusions - meaning the surgeries themselves were fine except they have caused an increase in pains.

please please do your research and if there is a university hospital go there. I am in the process of doing this (really wished I had done so beforehand).

Also seeing a good pain management specialist is vital too. I see a PHYSIATRIST Pain Specialist.

They do go deeper into pain management by treating the underlying problems of pain and will use numerous treatment options as to what the patients needs are. Normally they won't use treatments that don't work as some regular pain clinic docs will do (they see $$ signs instead).

I do hope and pray you can find the treatment option that will work for you.

Please keep us posted what you find out.
~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~
~~ Joy ~~

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