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One-level spinal fusion @ L4-L5
I have a small tear, smallish herniation around the degnerative disc along with some spinal stenosis.
After several epidural steroid injections, 1 round of P/T, and several acupuncture treatments, I kind of had it when my back went out this last time. I was laid up for a week, unable to work or care for my 1 and 3 yr old kids.
I got an epidural after my back went out in August and have been feeling great since, almost like nothing is even wrong. But this has happened before, and I know it's only a metter of time before it starts getting sore (before the shot I was icing my back every day all day and in ongoing pain)
I met with 3 different surgeons, 2 orthos and 1 neuro, and once I fell in love with the neuro went ahead and scheduled myself for a fusion on 12/9. The surgeon recommends 3-5 nights in the hospital followed by 6 weeks at home. He is not sold on physical therapy yet. He plans to go in through 2 small incisions on the sides of my spine, use a cage with protein powder and 4 screws - possibly titanium and possibly a newer kind that has a little more give (forgot the name if anyone knows it). He said the spine starts fusing between 3-6 months and at one year is as good as it will get. He said I will not need to wear a brace.
Now I am reading all these posts from people who have had fusions and getting petrified into possibly canceling the surgery.
I would love to hear from people who have gone through a similar surgery. I'd like the reality of what I'm looking at in terms of post-op pain and healing. What and when can I lift heavier objects? If there's no brace worn, how does the spine stay in place? How do you sleep? Do you need help dressing, showering, etc...? Please, any input would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance!