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L4, L5, S1 fusion
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liroe posted:
Hi all...
I am a 25 year old. I've been doing a lot of research trying to figure out if lumbar fusion is the best thing for me. In 2012, I was in a car accident resulting in a bust fracture of my L5, resulting in over 50% height loss. Since then I've weaned myself off pain medication, which I pretty much refuse to take. I did months of physical therapy, which I came to a plato with. I've seen 5 surgeons. I've had 4 steroid injections to help ease the pain, an epidural, which I was sedated for, and a discagram to figure out if my disc are my primary source of pain. I have numbness in my right calf and half my foot, which results in stabbing pains. I live with chronic pain and my current surgeon suggested the fusion may help ease my pain. I'm almost 100% sure this may be my best hope of being able to function normally again. I just look into many fusions and I don't see too many results from someone my age. I tend to see older people suggest against it. I was just wondering if anyone in my age bracket could educate me on their journey/success/down falls with this surgery..

Thank you!
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Peter Abaci, MD responded:
Deciding on a spinal fusion surgery is a big decision to make. While you and your doctors need to decide what is right for you, I would like to give you some food for thought to help with your decision making.

When the purpose of the surgery is to alleviate back pain, as opposed to correcting an instability problem, it is worth pointing out that evidence-based research has generally found extensive rehabilitation treatment as well as interdisciplinary pain programs to be just as effective. Another issue that is often not discussed in the decision making process has to do with the long-term ramifications of spinal surgery. At your age, there is a strong possibility that you may need more back surgery in the future if you have one now. Things just seem to degenerate quicker after surgery has been done and sometimes the levels above or below the fusion wear down.

Try to avoid choosing any medical treatment out of feeling desperate. If you do decide to have the surgery, be clear about your reasons and talk to your doctor about your expectations to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Hope that helps...good luck!


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David N. Maine, MD is the director of the Center for Interventional Pain Medicine at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. Maine graduated with a degree ...More

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