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    debating whether to have the spinal fusion
    abbey123 posted:
    Hello,all.My Dr. is recommending I have a spinal fusion on L4/5 and a laiminectomy.I have been in severe pain for years so I went to a neurosurgeon,who ordered a MRI-hence the suggestion for surgery.My question is--does anyone know of good results?I have been researching this and I can't believe the horror stories! I would also like to know how much this surgery costs.My ins. will not pay on any problems with my back.I would appreciate any advice anyone can give me.
    backtalk replied to FlamingMonkey;'s response:
    I am looking for a surgeon in Atlanta. My diagnosis is severe DDD L5, moderate bulging. Who did you use?
    nukut61 replied to bj1208's response:
    Doc! before operation,do you have some choice for patient try used some treatment while parient is move yet? What do you think about karipain-extract from papaya? I know american scientists was investigated this product several years ago.
    rk2011 responded:
    Hey abbey123,

    I joined webMD literally a few minutes ago (to ask a question regarding a different subject) and immediately saw your post. While I'm not a medial expert and have not had spinal fusion surgery, my younger brother had this surgery almost 3 years ago. He was diagnosed with kyphosis when he was 14 years old and wore many different back braces. When he was 16 he had spinal fusion surgery at a hospital in Philadelphia. A lot of time went into picking the right surgeon and hospital (based on history of the hospital, surgeon experience, presence of a neurolgist in the operating room, etc). The day after surgery he had already began walking. He stayed in the hospital for 8 days with only 1 incident (a case of pneumonia). He was then home for a period of 3 months and is now fully recovered. While his scar is approximately 14 inches long, he lives pain free and lives a very normal life (though he can no longer play certain sports).

    I know the surgery was a huge success for my brother. After the surgery his quality of life has much improved. Though others have experienced this surgery much differently, I can honestly say that my brother's experience is an example of how this surgery can affect your life for the better. With the pain your experiencing, it definitly sounds as though the surgery is something worth looking into. Hope this story gives you more confidence as you approach this particular solutions when dealing with your back pain!

    Becky : )
    bj1208 replied to 5yearsofpain's response:
    hi 5yearsofpain - i have a friend that lives in FL - she is about 90 miles away from the doc that used to give her pain meds - i know sometimes they would either mail and/or overnight the script to her (as they are controlled and can't be called/faxed in) - so maybe you can discuss this with the pm doc -

    most doctors, other than pm doc's, do not like to write scripts for controlled substances even if they have the paperwork/reports to show that the patient should be on these types of meds.

    do check this out and see if this is an option - take care - Joy~~
    An_189511 responded:
    I've had 6 of them and only the ones on my neck were successful but I still have severe chronic pain. These types of surgeries are very costly. After you pay the hospital fee, the surgeons fee, the anesthesiologist fee, pathologist fee, etc., etc. you will be broke unless your wealthy. And if you wait more than 6 months since you had any diagnostic tests, they want to do them again. Been there, done that.

    Have you tried a Chiropractor? I've known several people that have had excellent results.
    justinpain responded:
    Hi there, I have lived with backpain since I was 18 (car accident) I had a double fusion about 10 years ago mainly because I was unable to walk on my own and the pain. The surgery worked partly, I was able to walk after although with quite a bit of leg and low back pain. I was fused at T12 to L2. The pain never really got any better. I spent 12 years on oxycontin and it was awful. One day i decided I was gonna try life without the meds. The withdrawls were unreal but I made it and after the 6 months of torture I felt better, even my pain level was better. So its hard to say if th surgery helped and the drugs hindered but I would definetely not do it again, If you can live with yourself the way you are be happy with that cuz it seems like once you open the back up its constant maintenance. I did have the hardware removed 5 years after it was put in hoping that would help but it didnt. Now the ending or maybe beginning of the story 3 months ago my x boyfriend beat me and fractured T4 and T11, they have fixed T11 but say there is nothing they can do with T4, the most depressing news I have had in quite some time. Now they want me to go back on the pain meds and apply for ssi disability. Very frustrated and angry. I cant help but wonder if the outcome would have been different if I hadnt let them do the fusion. Totally confused and in pain.....
    jford52 responded:
    all I can say is that I have the laminectomy/fusion four years ago with a neurosurgeon and I am still experiencing low back pain. I do regular physical therapy and core strengthening/flexibility exercises, stopped jogging, bike, and lift things the right way to manage my pain. If I had it to do over again, I would not have gotten the surgery. It is expensive, though my insurance covered it.
    seminokee responded:
    I too have a horror story, I was fused at L4-L5and S1 10 yrs ago. I woke up from surgery with permanent nerve damage to my left leg and foot. I have been on pain management taking some pretty heavy medications and I still have pain in my foot AND back!!!! The surgery is quite expensive if I recalll correctly, some where around $55,000. My personal opinion is DON'T get the surgery.
    jall4 replied to bl2010's response:
    Hi, I,m trying to decide to have a fusion of L 3-4, L4-5, L2-3 and the doctor thinks he has to do a front and back incisions and I was wondering what type of incision you had. He did say he would be using rods. Im' also trying to fing a doctor for a second opinion. Love to hear from you JALL4
    jall4 replied to Suzzique's response:
    Hi Suzzique, Was wondering how long your surgerg was and whee the incisions are. Would you be able to give me your doctor name. I have a sister in Columbus, Ohio and would be willing to travel to get his opinion. Terry at [email protected]
    Hollie55 replied to jall4's response:
    Hi jall4, I haven't had a fusion thanks to successful radiofrequency ablation, which keeps delaying it. I have however done some research into fusions and it sounds like your surgeon wants to do what they call a 360 degree fusion if he wants to cut in front and behind. This is usually done because the patient has a number of "situations" occurring with their spine, the main one being gross instability and total loss of disc height.

    The rods will be placed at the back and the front will probably be for a disc replacement to restore disc height and thereby relieving the pressure on your nerves. Its sad though that you have to have so many levels done. I cannot comment on this without seeing MRI's but my doctor tells me that this is radical stuff so a second opinion is a must. During my research I came across a website offering a complimentary booklet which exposes various alternative methods of pain relief. I'm not saying it will prevent your surgery but it's alway good to know about alternatives, you can find it on a site called and the latter part makes interesting reading.
    Acftman replied to jall4's response:
    I have just went through 3 months of hell and I am still not back to normal. I had L3 to S1 fused. They did a 360 on me and I have scars on both the front and the back. I have been in PT for 6 weeks and the pain is still pretty bad. Doc took away pain pills so I now just deal with it I would NOT recomend doing this unless you are in a great amount of pain. I was loseing the feeling in my left leg so that was my reason for having it done. Just make sure you really need this. I now have to return to work with more pain than I left with 3 months ago. Hope this helps.
    bj1208 replied to jall4's response:
    hi jallo4 - sorry didn't see ur post - sometimes it's best to start a new post directed to the one you want to ask question to - at the beginning of this site there is a POST NOW button - just click on discussion and follow directions - it's easy!

    as for your question - my surgery was Anterior Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 - so they cut me open in my stomach - my incision goes from my belly button down just a little below bikini line -

    when looking for a 2nd opinion see if your primary care physician will refer you - ask for an Orthopedic Spine Specialist (my personal preferrence!) - if not then you can look in the phone book and find one - you can even call your insurance (make sure to see if you need a referral) and see what list they can provide you with.

    some refer to what your surgeon is wanting as a 360 flip - I know it sounds horrible but it's the going terminology! LOL

    last year my MRI shows I have 3 bulging discs - my surgeon (Orthopedic Spine Specialist) stated that since I have chronic pains and nerve damage in both legs that if I do have surgery they would have to do the 360 flip - take out my hardware, do a 3 level fusion with rods - he did say that this surgery would not benefit me as it would only add to my pains - he said NO to surgery and I fully agree 100%!!

    I wish you luck - when u find out more please let us know and start a new post!

    take care - ^Joy^
    bobndebbie responded:
    Hello, I sympathize with you on your back pain. I had a double fusion (L4,L5,S1) in 2004 with mixed results. before the surgery I could not stand up straight, After the surgery I was able to stand up straight but I still have pain. I've tried injections (since the initial injury I've had 29 needles in the back) they are only a temporary fix. the surgery is not cheap I think mine cost around 50k or 60k. I wish luck.
    dmatte25 responded:
    Back fusion out of pocket with no insurance is gonna run you around $100,000. My friend got one last week for $92,000 & it looks like a hatch job. I go to the best brain & spinal surgeon in Lousiana & south period & he's gonna run me around $120,00. This is your back though don't look for deals go with someone that has stellar reputation. I'm always having prosthetic disc inserted too though since my disc in crushed. I don't know exactly what you're doing but expect to pay fairly close to 6 digits. Srry

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