To fuse or not to fuse?

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Anonymous (not verified)
Title: Member
To fuse or not to fuse?

I am 20 years old and started with back pain including tingling, hot/cold feelings in my leg and foot since I was 17.

I have been told by my GP after an assessment by a physio that I have lumbar instability, degenerative discs and a suspected herniated disc and that I may need a fusion and a procedure to correct the herniated disc.

I was wondering if any of you have had experience of having both of these procedures done for this sort of condition and if you could give me some advice on it as I am not sure what to do.

Thanks in advance for any help as it is greatly appreciated. Smile

Last seen: 5 years 7 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 06/17/2008 - 11:42am
Welcome to the forum...

When it comes time to make a decision about surgery then you are the only one that can make that call. Unfortunately sweetie , there are no guarantees , you pretty much have to look at all of your options and see what feels right to you. I have minimal fusion from my ACDF and it is coming up on a year since my surgery , I am still experiencing problems from 2 other bad discs but I do not regret my decision of having the surgery done , it just didn't go quite as well as we would have liked. Whatever you decide though , just know that you have come to the right place for support and understanding....the members here are all so amazing. I wish you the best of luck in which ever way you go...please do keep us posted as to how you are doing....take care , Miki

pettynme (not verified)
Title: Member

those things can get worked through with PT depending on how bad the instability is. Your GP will send you to a surgeon and after getting their opinion please get another and maybe a 3rd you are SO young.

I agree with Miki only you can decide and based on your quality of life you'll know and at which point will feel better about whatever your decision is.
Take care of yourself

Nyla (not verified)
Title: Member
Thanks, Priestess and

Thanks, Priestess and Pettynme. Smile

I have heard some fusions go well and some that don't which makes it difficult for me to decide whether or not to go ahead with it.

I cannot work because of this spinal problem so may consider going ahead but I'll wait and see what other people say too as this gives me an insight into whether I should or shouldn't go ahead.

I'd just like to know what I can expect if I had a fusion. How long do you have to stay in hospital?

Another thing I was wondering is if anybody has had a fusion by a consultant called Mr Jayesh Trivedi at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, Gobowen, Oswestry, Shropshire, UK and how it went?

John's picture
Last seen: 2 months 1 week ago
Title: Member
Joined: 06/20/2008 - 4:07am

This is always difficult and however proficient the surgeon is not a testament to the success or otherwise I saw Professor Galasco at Hope Hospital in Manchester and none here have any guarantee. Fusions puts pressure on each side of the frame used to secure your spine and in my case it encapsulated the pain, some here have had this frame taken out as a consequence and this is somewhat more problematic, I know you are unsure as we all were at this stage and you have to be confident and positive in the support and impending strategy.

We have no crystal ball other than hope and as long as you are accepting of the diagnosis that you have received only time will determine what may become mandatory in the future if the degeneration progresses. I think I stayed in two or three weeks and am sure in will now be shorter, write your questions down and ask the relevant people, your recovery will take some time and I was told 15 months. Take your time and take care many have had to make the decision you have with the same trepidation and we have all got through. You are an individual and your condition and success should be based on that.

Take care and let us know how and what you are doing.

John NW

Bruce's picture
Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
Title: Member
Joined: 06/19/2008 - 7:57pm

Hi Nyla. Before considering surgery, you should make sure that you have exhausted all conservative pain management options first, as surgery is a major undertaking. For a summary of these, click on the 'Pain management procedures' link in my signature below.

Answering your initial question is difficult as everyone and their individual conditions are different and, therefore, the specifics about the surgery and recovery thereof are very different too. In my case, I was in hospital after my fusion for 4 days, back at work part time after 4 weeks. I had immediate relief from my initial pain after the surgery. Overall, recovery takes longer than most of us imagined that it might, but for the vast majority of us, each month brings a significant improvement. I am now at 18 months post fusion and live a back-pain free life virtually every day.

All the best to you and take care.


Keep positive!

Bruce old timer here and ex-moderator

walkintall (not verified)
Title: Member
Nyla fusion

I would recommend that you get other opinions and check the experiences of others on this one. Testimonies run from miracles to tragedy. Do as much researh as you can. In the final analysis, only you can make the decision for or against surgery. You are only 20 years old and have a long way to go.
I had 4 level fusion and lamenectomy April 30th. So far things are great. I am walking and doing it straight up. Still stiff and have many months to go before I can say I am completely recovered. I guess I am one of the blessed.
God Bless and stay in touch.

Nyla (not verified)
Title: Member
Thanks for all of your

Thanks for all of your advice and help, John, Bruce and Walkintall. Smile

The conservative treatments that I have done so far are physiotherapy and painkillers, including anti inflammatories. I found the physio and swimming (I like swimming which is a shame as I can't do it) to be very painful and made my back and leg pain worse. The next day I couldn't walk very far and had to take painkillers.

I feel I am running out of conservative options that are guaranteed to help my pain.

I have thought about getting a TENS machine as these are said to be good for back pain.

The other thing I may consider is a spinal injection but preferably without the steroids as I am not keen on that.

Bruce, I have had a look on the pain management procedures link in your signature and have found it helpful. I'll talk to the physio when I go and see what he/she recommends and I'll let you all know of the outcome. Smile

I would be grateful if anyone could let me know if they had a fusion by an orthopaedic spine surgeon called Mr Jayesh Trivedi and tell me of their experience.

LillyDePlume (not verified)
Title: Member
Whatever path you chose,

Whatever path you chose, Nyla, I certainly wish you the best! Smile

PricklyPear (not verified)
Title: Member
Nyla: I would try the TENS.


I would try the TENS. It certainly can't hurt. However, if possible, get a unit that has both TENS and E-stim.

Sometimes the E-stim component relieves pain better than the TENS compenent.

(I'm new, but couldn't help with a quick response when I saw TENS mentioned)


ctyankeegrl (not verified)
Title: Member
i know how you feel at your age...

i have been suffering with this "back pain/herniations/ddd" since 1992, I am 34 now. I had in total 4 surgeries (over a period of time) This last surgery...360 2 level fusion chnaged my life! For the good that is. I think, I was so young when this all first happened my parents jumped to the first person who said they could help me. It's been a battle the past 16 years, but i battle I believe I finally won! It wasn't that I hadn't found the right doc, it was the right surgery. I was always scared of the word" fusion" when it was suggested to me in 2001. I t took me seven years and pt, pain meds, injections and alot of crying to realize something big needed to be done and I am so glad I did it. Good Luck to you!!!!