Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test


Precious BamaPPrecious Bama Posts: 34
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Does anyone here know if there is a less invasive procedure for fusions rather than a 6" incision.
Thank you


  • Hi,

    I had this surgery 3 weeks ago. For the first week even though I have no more sciatica, I regretted having the surgery done. Now 3 weeks on I am getting better every day and I am looking forward to a new pain free life with my kids and lovely hubby.

    I am sorry I haven't answered your question but although this procedure is scary it isn't the end of the world.
  • Hi Brenda, I have read a lot about minimally invasive fusion. My surgeon said his practice was doing them, but found it takes longer(increased anesthesia risk)and they weren't seeing any benefits in their patients. Now I have read something different, saying it is quicker and patients have less pain due to less muscle damage. Here is a link if you want to watch an actual minimally invasive fusion,
    This one is very informative and not bad to watch. I wouldn't recommend watching an open procedure if you might be having one, it is pretty gruesome. I know I regretted watching the open video. Oddly my incision is more like 9 inches long and I only had one level PLIF. I asked my surgeon if he fused a few extra while in there and he just laughed @) :O
  • My Ns said that there were less invasive techs. but he said that I was too far gone for them to work.Cali-sue, My surgery took 9 hours though, I can not imagine the less invasive type taking longer than that. In fact my cousin had a similar surgery as mine but the less invasive kind and his took less than 4 hours. Truthfully-his recovery has been MORE painful than mine (or else he's just being a "baby" LOL-he's obviously never delivered a baby before)
  • Yep, I don't know why it would be longer either. I know my surgeon is meticulous though, so who knows. He told me my surgery would be 5-7 hours. It was about 5 in the end. I have read some posts on here where fusions were only 2 hours or so, now that seems way too fast. My surgeon offered to try the minimally invasive if that is what I wanted. I said, no thanks, I want you to do what you are used to doing most often. I did not think my incision would be this gigantic, but I never asked either. I need to get out a tape measure, but I am guessing 9 inches. He said he really can't see or check the other levels without dissecting them, so wasn't for checking things out. I am gonna harass him some more about it at my next appt :)
  • I had a fusion for my neck early this year(ACDF for C4-6) and now a lumbar fusion (ALIF for L5/S1) has been recommended by the same neurosurgeon that did my neck. I trust him and he did a great job, but ALIF is a major surgery I prefer to avoid unless it becomes absolutely necessary. I have an appointment at the end of this month for a second opinion with a surgeon that specializes in spinal micro-neurosurgery. If I learn more about micro vs major spinal surgery, I'll post again toward the end of the month. Good luck to you.
  • I know near me they have min invasive thoracic surgery. Meaning they go through the side of the chest instead of cutting open the whole chest plate.
    As for the lumbar not yet.

    I would imagine if having hardware there would be no way to even try. But of course mabye I am wrong.

    I had a 6 inch incision for L5-S1 fusion w/hardware and the surgery only took 1 1/2 hours. Mabye because I had 2 surgeons working at the same time on me??
    hmmm :?

    Sue and Shay I just read how long your surgeries were OH MY BOLOGNA :O

    They said even my revison on the 17th is only going to take about 2-2 1/2 hrs.

    So depends on the surgeon to how they practice etc, how invasive or less invasive its going to be.

    I can say my surgery was successful as it took away the orginal pain. All hardware is in place. Very little scar tissue. Scar is excellent (not that I will EVER WEAR a bikini) !!! :))(
    My bone just did not take. Just a chance ya take , like gambling.

    Good luck Brenda your doing the right thing by researching so much!!! ;) >:D<
  • Terri-I can not believe that your surgery was only an hour and a half! Wow! My NS told me that it would take 6 hours but once he got in there he needed to put more hardware in than he originally planned-thus making it 9 hours. I researched some of the things that were in my OR report and some of the things he did were surgeries all by themselves.
    Some people on these boards "only" have a disectomy....I guess I had it all at once.
    Even just a straight fusion I would think would take longer than 2 hours-I also had 2 surgeons, according to the OR report-so I do not know what the dif would be.
  • Terri-question. I was wondering about the bone not taking..if you are not in pain but the bone did not take-why do you have to have it redone? Is it because the hardware will not hold up long term with out the bone? I feel really good-just a tad sore, so I think my surgery was a success-I go for my xray on the 24th. I guess I am nervous-since I was SOOO sick from the anesthesia and I was in so much pain-since I did not take any pain pills, I NEVER want to go through that again!
  • My NS did my L4-S1 PLIF with less than 4" scar. It has healed very nicely. I had bilateral-laminectomy & facetectomy at all three levels along with the bone/bmp graphs, screws,& rods. My surgery was about 4 hours and I was in the hospital for 5 days.

    This is my 6th week and I can say I have had a turn around. I am feeling better and cutting down my meds.

    I was not given a brace- but I wear one of my old ones when I know I am going to be walking more than usual.

    I'm with Shay- I never want to go through this again- good luck Terri.

  • My surgery was 1.5 hours and my scar is about 3.5 inches long. Had posterior cervical surgery at 3 levels but no hardware or bones inserted. This surgery was much more painful than my ACDF, and will have to wait to see if it was a success.

    I really don't want any more surgery!

  • My surgery was 1.5 hours and my scar is about 3.5 inches long. Had posterior cervical surgery at 3 levels but no hardware or bones inserted. This surgery was much more painful than my ACDF, and will have to wait to see if it was a success.

    I really don't want any more surgery!

  • My first fusion took about 4 hours (so i'm told) and it left me with about a 6 inch scar. My 2nd (3 weeks ago) only took 1 1/2 hours and extended my scar by about another 2 or 3 inches. In my opinion, the scar and pain of surgery are worth it if it helps. Would do it again if needed without hesitation.
  • Terri, they can put in hardware with a minimally invasive surgery. If you want to see one, look at my post above for a link. This is a somewhat long video, but it explains so much about fusion, and has lots of animation videos as well as the actual surgery, very informative. They use something called the sextant system, it is really cool. Anyway I chose open since my surgeon does them more often and he said it would be an even longer surgery for min invasive. I know, when I asked the day before how long my surgery would be and he said 5-7 hours, I said You've got to be kidding me! Was not expecting that at all. Luckily it was the 5 not 7. His explanation was "delicate nerves to disect". I say, take your time! He works with a Neuro PA in the OR. My scar looks great, it is just soooo long :/
  • I can not figure out how so many of you had 1-2 hour surgeries. How did mine end up taking 9 hours? I am confused now!
  • Hi, Brenda:

    I had a 3-level minimally invasive lumbar fusion on May 1 of this year. The levels I had done----L3/4, L4/5 and L5/S1. Instead of one long scar, I have four smaller ones. My surgery took 9 hours (was supposed to be 5 or 6).

    My lower two levels were bone on bone----no disc material there at all. I am now almost an inch taller than before surgery. Spacers were put in at all three levels (where the discs were---that's where I gained my height), and I have two rods and eight screws holding everything in place while I'm fusing. I go back in November for my first x-ray to see if I'm fusing yet.

    I followed my doctor's orders to a tee. The first couple of months were the roughest. I did rent a hospital bed for three months and what a lifesaver it was....being able to position it how you want. I took my last prescription pain medicine on July 13 and since then only tylenol if needed. I have been in physical therapy since end of July and walk, walk, walk.

    I have no regrets about having this surgery as my quality of life before was not good. Now my pain is gone. My doctor told me that the healing time could take up to a year, so I went in to surgery with the mindset that it would be a long haul.

    Hope this info helps out.

Sign In or Register to comment.