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Any Positive L4,L5,S1 Fusion Story?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I just found this site and I am very thankful. I have tons of questions. I am considering a fusion L4,L5 S1 due to pars Fractures and Spondy. I am 42, active and in pain since Nov. I am having my 5th injection on Friday and they really help, but only for 6 weeks. I can even start to work out the injections. When they injection wears off, I am back in pain and can't do much. I have great life, supportive husband, and a two year old.

Everyones stories sound the same, Chiro, Ortho, Pt, Aqua therapy, meds, rest, message....on and on. It sounds like my story! I am just not seeing any positive fusion stories. Please is there anyone outthere that had the fusion and was able to get out of pain, exercise and get there life back and was able to stop thinking about their back everyday!

Best Regards and thanks in advance!


  • Hello Back-Tyme, welcome to SH. I am sure you will find it is full of a wealth of information and support. Many of the posters here including myself are still dealing with pain and recovery. Often people with positive outcomes move on with their lives and stop posting. However there are many positive stories here. Look at the forum titled Good News, also there are several good stories at this link under the Surgery thread.
    Stick around and check it out and I am sure you will find the members very helpful and supportive. Let us know your questions and many will respond with answers. Many stories are similar as insurance companies require one to exhaust all conservative treatment as they should prior to approving surgery. I too had LESI's for my Spondy induced sciatic pain and they helped from 2-4 weeks, until the last one didn't help at all. After that is when they finally checked flexion/extension and saw how really unstable my spine was. I kept telling them I cold feel and hear it creaking and cracking around with every little movement. So any way it is 3 weeks later and I am recovering form L4-5 fusion. Everything is going well, but I am not pain free of yet, but it is very early in recovery. My pre-op pain does seem to be gone. Good luck and welcome to this great site of information and entertainment :) .
  • Yes, as Cali-Sue indicated we do have lots. This link will also lead you to lots of success stories


    If you click on the links in my signature below you can read about my very successful fusion story.

    All the best to you, and welcome to Spine-health. com :)
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • Welcome to Spine health BackTyme,

    As Cali-Sue said, many of the the successfully recovered fusion patients moved on, so you don't hear their stories very often. But some of us stay fso we could reassure people that mani fusion surgeries turned out very well. I know mine did. I had a three-level (L3-S1) fusion on 5/1/08. I woke up with no post-op pain, and have not have any since. My pre-surgery symptoms are gone (pain in the thigh and numbness in the foot that made standing impossible. I feel good, and have to remind myself not to overdo it and observe the no BLT rule.

    I am very happy with the outcome of my surgery. I walk a lot and the only thing that tells me that I am still in recovery is that I still get tired ratger fast. But it is getting better, so I give it time.

    If you have any questions, you can PM me.

    Good luck, and be positive,

  • I just went for my 6 month check up and all is good. I'm one of the ones some relate to as healed up and moved on. I suffered for about 7 years and the injections stopped helping. The only thing else left to try was fusion surgery. I wish I ad done that earlier but I too was scared about the outcome. I'm 45 and now have my life back. I come back here from time to time to look around and see if I might be able to help someone like so many others did for me. Good Luck!

  • I have read more and more. I feel better. Still not sure, don't know if anyone could ever be. Your post and PM have been really great!

    I have #5 epidural/pars injection with a discogram tomorrow. Oh boy what fun!

    Thanks again for all your kind words!
  • Hi BackTyme. I am in the same boat right now, I am deciding on whether to go through a L4/L5/S1 fusion right now. My NS made it sound more attractive than I thought going in. He said the advancements in the area have been amazing. The NS he would have doing my fusion he said is really good at it, does it much more minimally invasive than it has been in the past and with a much quicker recovery time and success rate than years ago, it will be done at one of the top hospitals in the US. But then he told me the negatives or risks and said he has seen people have problems, including herniations at other levels, and require multiple fusions after their first. It makes it really tough to decide, I am at the point where if I were to have another regular discectomy that it would be my last one, fusion would have to be my next step should surgery by unsuccessful or should I re-herniate as I have herniated L5/S1 three times to this point. I may take my last swing at a discectomy and then go with a fusion. Its not that big a deal to me to have to have another surgery, but wasting 3 or 4 months of time on a surgery that will be unsuccessful is what bothers me since I want to get this corrected and behind me as soon as possible.

    Good luck.
  • BackTyme,

    I can be considered one of the success stories you're asking about. Although, I do think about my back every day. You can read about my recovery in my blog in my signature if interested. Since my surgery last year in August and since my Hardware Removal/Revision Surgery in June I have golfed, gone bowling, rode roller coasters, and work on my never ending honey-do list. Yes there is life after fusion if you are willing to work at it, there are also risks involved with this surgery. I got off easy and only a very minor percentage truly have life altering problems.


  • OK I am nearly 17 weeks post op and still have a way to go but I would certsinly consider my surgery as a success.
    I had L3-L4-L5-S1 done and correction to scoliosis, laminectomies etc but I really am better off now then before. Pre surgery I constantly had numb legs and feet and pretty much had become a hermit as it was just 'too hard' to get out and about.
    Now I am out every day, I still go to physio and hydrotherapy and walk each day but hopefully in about a month I can be back at the gym.
    I still have pain but I was expecting that and it is getting better as time goes on. It is just a matter of being patient and continuing to do as I'm told :))(

    If you do decide to go ahead you will find loads of support here.

    Blessings Sara
  • I am only 6 weeks out, I had L4-S1 PLIF and despite some complications I think I am really doing well.

    I've been out, driving my daughter to school and only getting aches now, nothing I would consider real pain, certainly not what I felt prior to surgery!

    I don't get an x-ray to look at the fusion until Oct 1st, but to be OFF pain meds, to be able to sneeze without excruciating pain - that's success so far for me :)

    Good Luck!
  • ....I had an L4/5 fusion, I had ALIF and PLIF a day apart. Titanium cages with BMP from the front, pedicle screws with PEEK rods in the back.

    I had a 15 foot high, 10 foot wide set wall fall on me. I work as a rigger on a Fox television show. Six big burly guys could not hold the weight of the wall and I was in the middle and it took me down hard. I was lucky I was not killed, a wooden dolly with 8" wheels saved my butt.

    Anyway after working out the rest of that season in agony and going home bent over from pain every day I got referred to my surgeon. When I noticed my legs and feet getting pulled into the equation I went for the surgery and I am so glad I did.

    Even though it was considered a soft fusion I was fully fused at 8 weeks. Now at a little over a year post op the fusion is hard and I just had my hardware removed a few days ago.

    I believe a lot of this is mental. You have to want it to be successful and you have to work towards it as well....you have to put in.

    Just having a fusion surgery and then sitting around expecting to miraculously get healed..........not my style anyway. I would recommend getting into healthy eating habits, losing weight, exercising or at least being as active as possible around the house as you heal and most importantly, have a great positive attitude about it. Take the bull by the horns as they say. You have to want it. See yourself having a successful fusion in your mind everyday, hold that in there....toss out the fear and negative thoughts as they come...look within and see that bone grafting...make it happen.

    I swear, I procrastinated but when my feet started not bending and I had the shooting pain down my thighs and strange numbness and tingling...it was go time. That stuff can only get worse and as my surgeon put it, the chances of having successful surgery diminish the longer you ignore it. The likelihood of the nerve damage being more permanent is higher. Makes sense to me.

  • RAMRRAM FloridaPosts: 36
    Thank you for all the positive stories. Going to have a fusion L4 L5 in September and needed the encouragement.
  • brendasmithbbrendasmith Calgary, Alberta, CanadaPosts: 1
    I had fusion surgery on L4-L5 about 10 years ago.  I can honestly say it was the best thing I had and relieved my pain so I could continue with a normal life.  I had physiotherapy after surgery and my recovery was about 3 months until I was back to normal.  Unfortunately because the joints above and below the fusion have to work harder, I'm now faced with another surgery.  For about a year now I have had severe hip/groin/leg pain so now I will have to have a laminectomy surgery for pinched nerves but the success rate is 70-80% so I'm looking forward to be pain free once more.  I'm due for this surgery on September 9 and it can't come soon enough!!
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,233
    Hello brendasmith !
    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • BodenmillerBBodenmiller Babylon New YorkPosts: 2
    I had my fusion on April 12 of this year. I was in the hospital for 9 days because the clipped the thecal sac and has spinal fluid leaking. After 3 days on my back they sat me up and within 3 minutes I got the worst headache I ever had. Things seemed like they were never going to get better. With that being said I'm happy to tell you I went back to work After 3 month, full duty. I work for a natural gas utility company, working outside digging, lifting, operating machinery ect. I'm not gonna say I don't feel muscle pain or weakness but it was better then the leg pain down both legs and the complete loss of movement in my right foot, along with the back pain. There is life after back surgery. I had spinal fusion from L-2 -L-5 and a disc replacement at L-3
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,871
    This is an old discussion created by a member no longer on the forum so I am closing it.

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
This discussion has been closed.
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