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Need advise on Surgery for Spondyloptosis L5 / S1

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all..after years of bear able pain and numbness in my left leg from my buttock till my toe and constant back pain..at last i decided to look at surgery as a treatment..was scared of it all these while..

I had tried all kinds of treatment there is from chinese acupuncture to chiropractic and natural treatment etc2..but left with no choice but a surgery in the end..as the doctor warned and said that you are not allowed to have a child unless u have bedrest for the 9 months ! I am 25 years old now and looking forward to settle down so I guess I need it..even though I dont have a candidate for a life partner yet..ok thats another different story..

At the moment, I am extremely confused onto which surgery options I should choose as after much research and many consultations, I realize there is quite a few different approach..and also which doctor I should look for the surgery..

There is the stabilization and decompression..vertebrectomy which consist of removing the L5 bone which seems pretty scary..

Yeah I am just curious if any of you, had a spondyloptosis surgery before ? Please advise..

Thank you, hope all of us will be pain free or have the finance to treat it, even though life problems are always there..God bless ^__^

Washington DC


  • Wow, I am amazed you have carried on this long. I only had 1st degree spondylolisthesis, I cannot imagine how anyone can even walk with your diagnosis! I say research these surgeons thoroughly. Call the hospitals they work at, check there credentials, ask them for patient referrals even. Find the best of the best in Spine specialist and go forward. I never heard of vertebrectomy for spondyloptosis. I have read about it, as it is similar to my dx. I have seen more with partial reduction and fusion. Good luck girl, and keep us posted, Sue
  • Hi Imelda,

    After many years of both back and sciatic pain due to spondy I had decompression surgery last December. I agree with Cali-Sue - research your surgeon and don't be afraid to ask countless questions. You will find some answers on this site. But keep asking your surgeon. If you don't feel comfortable asking now, it may be a sign he/she is just not right for you.

    Another suggestion - plan on a rather long recovery. Everyone is different - but decompression is not a simple surgery. Allow yourself time to heal - it will take awhile. I am nine months out and still battling. My surgery was worth it - but I must say I was not prepared to still have pain this long after it.

    Good luck to you, Jaycey
  • Paul : Yeah i did have MRI and all the etc diagnosis, XRays..Now its only left with the decision making time which is the hardest..I am scared of choosing the wrong one though..

    Cali-Sue : Wow you do have spondylolisthesis too! At least I dont feel alone..Yeah I did search on lots of potential doctors..but somehow i am still unsure of what i should decide on..Vertebrectomy is not a common procedure i guess as it removed one of the L5 vertebra bone and connecting the L4 and S1 together but with this i need 1 and a half month bedrest !

    Jaycey: Ohh ic after nine months u still had pain ? but was the surgery successful ? or is it common to have pain even after 9 months? I am curious..that means i might heal an even longer time then..
  • Yep, mine was only 1st degree though, but unstable, and I had fusion L4-5 in situ, meaning not any reduction. My surgeon believes reduction can cause more nerve damage. But with your diagnosis, I think they would have to do a partial reduction from what I have read. Gotta have a little bit of alignment in order to get a cage or hardware in I would think. Please do a lot of research, and go with the surgeon you feel best with. Make sure he/she is a spine specialist and has done many surgeries for spondyloptosis, you don't want to be a science experiment :) Good-luck, Sue
  • I had a 11mm slip on l4/l5 at neutral pose with bilateral pars defects. L5/S1 was starting to go as well. I had decompression and laminectomy at both levels and auto graft fusion at L/4-5. Hardware (Dynesys) at both levels. My slip is now reduced to 5mm. It seems like the combo of hard and soft fusion is uncommon. It seems to have worked I am doing very well at 10 weeks out and I am *hoping* to return to my job as a mail carrier in 2-4 weeks if ok with my NS.

    The only conservative treatment I ever had was antiinflammatories...(shocker I know compared with most of the peeps here) the pars defect made my decision very simple and after toughing it out for 18 mos I had the surgery.

    Do all the research you can, find a doctor you trust and really consider your options carefully.
  • Hi Imedlda,

    I too have / had unstable spondylolisthesis, grade 1, bilateral pars fractures and a few broken discs, annular tears etc. It hasn't been quite the walk in th epark I had hoped (hence my name!) BUT I am STILL hopeful. This is key to the success of ANY procedure you may have in the future.

    These are my few thoughts for what they are worth.
    NS seem to do necks and OS lumbar spines but I am guessing you are in US and then things are different there.
    As for surgery chioces, do YOu really have all these choices? I doubt it. What I mean is, once you have found the surgeon, he/she will have their own ideas of what your treatment options are. From the papers I have read, some docs will reduce and some won't for what appear to be equally sensible answers, but much will depend on YOU the Sugeon and then other factors like are you overweight, smoker, disabled, possible complications and likihood of success on surgical interventions. After all, a foolish doctor will attempt a procedure that will make our backs worse, espcially because mostly, the surgery is elective so each will only do what they are confident in completing.

    I wish you well on your journey. I agree with the others, prepare for a few years recovery on this one. With a bit of luck, you will find Mr Right along the way and have the baby after you've sorted out the back.

    You'll find a few of us Spondy bods on the boards, all with their tales and they are very helpful and supportive.
  • Imelda,

    In answer to your question - yes I think my surgery was successful. In my case I had major nerve problems for many years and tried to put off doing anything about it. It was only after the surgery I learned that one year to 18 months is normal for nerve recovery. There is also the issue that after surgery any little change can make your back unhappy. Sitting on the wrong type of chair or at a desk that is not the correct height for you can irritate a healing spine. These are things you learn to look out for. Keep posting here - there is lots of information and you are definitely not alone. Take care, Jaycey
  • Jaycey: Good to hear that you are healing well now..I was concern about the long healing but it seems inevitable i guess..hope u dont do anything to wreck your healing spine ok..wish u well..

    Cali-sue: Yeah thats true what u said but will it be fine to ask if he did lots of surgeries for spondyloptosis? i am afraid that he will feel as if i dont believe him..perhaps i should ask for his past patients phone no..just to have a chat about their experiences..

    Inafix: Hmm ur L5/S1 is starting to go as well..thats scary to go through surgery all over again then..I myself dont really like medications that much and tried to avoid them if i could especially the painkillers as i think they are not good for our overall long term body..might get dependent on them..

  • Yeah what u mentioned is so true, each different surgeon has their own way of thinking and approach and ideas for the treatment. That is the problem!

    Which makes me even more confused onto which doctor I should choose for the surgery..I hope the doctor that I choose eventually will try his best in avoiding complications and etc2..but I guess reduction is quite risky from the medical literature that I have read..

    Thank you..wish u well on your journey too..hey i see u have a revision PLIF coming soon in september..hope you will be fine and be blessed..

    Keep in touch after u recover from the surgery k..

  • I can not help but remember that so many people forget that they have alot of say about what a doctor can/cannot do to them. When i had my back surgery it told my doctor DO NOT TAKE BONE FROM MY HIP and he didn't. I told the oncology doctor that if i have cancer i refuse to take kemo or radition, they didn't like it but "tough nuggies"!! :)

    Evelyn 8}
    Had PLIF in 2008 and a Laminectomy. One level fusion, L4-L5.
  • Hi Imelda, I just underwent this operation. I am a month out wearing a brace. I had lumbar stenosis /laminectonys ,disckectomy L5-S1 Aug 07 and it did not work. Had pain for years and severe leg pain for a year after the first op. I had lots of scar tissue , cysts on the facet joionts and they nicked the dural sac (common on 2nd ops and had to lay flat for 24hrs). I was so desperate to get rid of the pain . Neurosurgeon put in a spacer 2 padicle screws and rod and then fused the left side.I was walking the 2nd day. First week was rough but have been better ever since. Still have the pain in my left leg but it is better. I am more than twice your age so you will heal quickly and faster. Percocet & paitence are my friends.
    Good luck and God Bless.
  • I had fusion on L4 - S1 on October 30. Walking is not bad but breathing, sleeping and being able to clean your rear is hard for me. I have alot of back spasms so valium, morporhine and the other medicine that the doctor gave me is my best friends. I have a lot mood swings were I cry alot and feel alone can anyone tell me if they went through the crying spell. I am not able to climb stairs yet and I have been sleeping in a hospital bed since leaving the hospital because my doctor did not want me climbing stairs yet and he did not want me to climb in my bed because it is high off the floor so I have been in my living room with no privacy. I have lots of pain in my right arm and right hip which is really bothering me. I just would like a little encouragement. My doctor said that I maybe able to go back to work in about 12 to 18 months. :(
  • I, too, had surgery for spondylolisthesis L4/5. I had anterior/posterior fusion with lamenectomy, etc. on July 21 and 23, 2008 so am about 4 months into recovery.

    Doctors have so many approaches in which they strongly believe. Find a surgeon you trust who listens and will answer your questions and who has done many, many, many of whatever surgery it is he is suggesting.

    The recovery from my surgery has been long and slow - docs told me 1 to 2 years for full recovery but I didn't really believe it. I do now. At 4 months I am beginning to be able to do more "normal" things but sitting for any length of time is still hard - ditto standing. I started PT at about 12 weeks post-surgery and am still doing pool therapy. I have had not real complications thus far other than my intolerance to pain meds. But pain was not a big problem after the 1st couple of weeks so ice and heat have worked pretty well. For me, the most difficult part of recovery has been regaining stamina but the exhaustion is starting to lift as long as I am careful not to overdo.

    You have probably discovered that there is a wealth of info on this site and any of us will be happy to try to answer questions about our own experiences.

  • I had the same surgery on L4-L5 for Spondy, etc. I'm 5 months out now. I had to laugh about your comment about not climbing into your bed. After I put the 4-inch mattress topper (which I LOVE)on, I couldn't get in the bed either. So...I put my stepstool beside the bed and can now get in it fine! Looks a little funny, but, oh well!

    Yes, you will probably be emotional for a while yet. You're only a month out of surgery and, as others have said, it takes a while for the anesthesia to get out of your body. You might want to read one of the other posts about feeling frustrated. A lot of the comments on that one directly relate to how you are feeling.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Keep us posted, ok? >:D< >:D<
  • 12 to 18 months just for a 2 level fusion? That's craaaaaaaaaaazy.
    I'm sorry you have to be out that long :( That's gotta suck.

    Do you really have 9 kids????

    Is your arm pain related to any cervical issues?
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