Complete Lumbar Fusion
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timpemberton posted:
Hello I am new to this group. I recently had L4- S1 spinal fusion. I am having to have the rest of my lumbar fused in September. I am wanting to know how much motion will I loose having my whole lumbar spine fused.. And help would be greatly appreciated.
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trs1960 responded:
The outcome of such a procedure can have great variations depending on your health, your underlying skeletal and disc condition and your recovery. Before proceeding I suggest you talk to more than one doctor. If you're seeing an orthopedic than the opinion of a neurosurgeon would valuable. If you're already seeing a neuro than the reverse order works.

If you can, seek out people that have been through such procedures...although privacy laws make that difficult.

You really need to spend time with doctors that will explain the answers to your questions. Thanks to our insurance companies this is also difficult, but before any doctor is going to cut me open he better have time to explain "why?" to me.

I do have a friend that had L1-S1 fused. Unfortunately his surgery was only 25 days ago so he has no history of value yet. I also know two people with 3-4 lumbar discs fused. They have done quite well, but it sounds like that's where you're at now.

Get all the info you can from your doctor(s) and if you're not comfortable with his answers get another opinion. As I stated above, before you allow anyone to cut into your spine you should have at least a second doctor that agrees and you're comfortable with the plan.

Tim
 
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bj1208 responded:
Hi and welcome to the support group -

you said your entire spine but from what disc level to what?? Also did the surgeon mention if rods would be used??

I agree with Tim (trs1960). Get as many opinions as you can. Having your entire spine fused is not an easy surgery and recovery will be a long road.

I just had my 2nd fusion done 12/2013 (first one L5-S1 done 2/08 cage 4 screws plate) this last one I have plate cage 2 screws and 2 rods to connect fusion to first one and I can tell you I am limited somewhat with the rods. So you do need to see if the surgeon has done an entire spine fusion and if you can speak with his patients that have had this.

do research on the internet too to see what is entailed as sometimes videos will be posted.

keep us posted what you find out
~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~
~~ Joy ~~
 
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trs1960 replied to bj1208's response:
I believe the post states they want to fuse the rest of the lumbar. Patient is currently fused from L4-S1. So that would be L1 anchored to the existing fusion. Perhaps T12. They seem to like to use T12 as an anchor. It's a thick bone that can take some big screws.

So T12 up would be unaffected.

T
 
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mcimino responded:
Tim,

I had L2 to S1 fused in October 2003 due to a rock climbing accident. My recovery was so remarkable that I was climbing again in 2 months and back to full time work as a climbing guide. For the first two years my pain be quite intense at times due to the damage done to the nerve roots at L4 and L5 which my surgeons described as being like vertebrae shaped lumps of oatmeal. I have been active and employeed in some very physically demanding jobs since then. I regained about 90% of my pre-accident abilities and most people are surprised if they see the foot long scar on my back.

Presently, ten years out, I am in extreme pain and losing function due to arthritis in the spine and an unrelated neurological condition.

The advice I should have taken was to live a life with less impact on my spine. I think I could have gotten another 10 years relatively pain free. I'm grateful that I was able toss my kids around while they were little and build a house for my family before the damage was done, but doing things like trying to resume running, hiking and climbing with heavy packs or lifting heavy loads was not smart.

Pick your activities wisely. Keep active in a smart way. Stay or get to a reasonable weight.

I'm a bit wordy, but this has been on my mind recently because I'm undergoing a series of caudal cortisone injections and looking to contact others with a similar condition.

Cheers, Mike
 
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trs1960 replied to mcimino's response:
Heck, for me that's a concise summation!

Tim