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Looking for input/advice regarding L5-S1 PLIF

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi guys, I'm a 37 y.o. male who is four months postop from my second micro-d at L5-S1(the first was 5/08). I am still having a good deal of back pain and left leg pain. My neuro suggested a L5-S1 Plif due to my symptoms and congenital stenosis in the area. He sent me for an EMG and it showed some old "recovering" damage and nothing acute. I've had two failed surgeries within a four month period and am having a real hard time trying to wrap my brain around a third. Does anyone have some input/advice regarding having the surgery vs. not having the surgery. I would appreciate anything that would help me in my decision making process.


  • Hi I don't have any advice or info for you but I can tell you I'm in almost the same place you are I have had 2 micro d's and have had not much luck and now trying to decide on whether or not to have a fusion ALIF .The only advice I could give is what my doctor said if you can deal with the pain then hold off until it gets to the point when it's unbearable.Good luck
  • I have had that surgery and I believe if I had used my own bone ( like I did in my neck) I might be well now. It was a painful surgery and some research is saying that the new bone protein can grow too much bone and press on spinal nerves. I think that is where I am right now. You have to make your own decision, but the hip graft pain was nothing compared to this for me. I say use the old standard if you have to do it.
  • I am so sorry that you are facing this. My only advice is that you should get multiple opinions before moving forward.
  • HI,
    I had L 5- S1 PLIF for Isthmic spondy 7 months ago and am a lot better than I was. Its no walk in the park however.

    I only had surgery because of the ongoing pain for the last ten years and the fact it wasnt going to get any better by itself. The pars had sheared, spine moved and unstable and the disc colapsed.

    I am not saying dont do it , only you know how much you can take, but take it aa a last resort desision for yourself.

    Just as an aside, I am not suggesting you try this,
    I have a friend who had severe stenosis as a congenital condition and was considering surgey. Someone suggested to him to take salmon oil and he reckons its cured him. He says its lubricated his nerves and he is almost pain free.
    It may be laughable to you however.
    But Id say dont rush into surgery,having said that mine has been a great success.

    All the best!

  • before fusion and always get another opinion. I had tried every test and procedure and treatment before my two level fusion,. I went to a spine surgeon that was gonna do a three level ande felt nervous. I went to another opinion and he talked me into only two levels right now. i felt so womfortable that I had him do the two level, knowing that I have a third disc that will probably need fusing at some point. But every level you do puts a bigger risk of failure, so I guess I gained alot by getting the second opinion. Fusion should always be a lasr resort, it is a very long road, and I am only shy of 8 weeks out from mine. Good Luck.
  • Like you I had several surgeries before being faced with the fusion. In my case each surgery seemed to help especially with the leg pain but you never knew how long it would last. As some of the others have said it's basically when you feel you have to get something done. The not being able to sleep is what finally drove me to getting it done. Surgery when well, I was walking a mile the week after the staples were removed and was up to 4 miles in about 5 weeks. I really think the walking helped even though it hurt some to start off with. Good luck
  • Not sure how much of a difference there is between going from lumbar-sacral but I had L2-L5 PLIF w/ instruments done and have been doing great.

    Walking, getting out of the chair on my own, etc just after two weeks. Have not starting any bending yet but expect that soon. Only had a few days of actual pain and that was basically after surgery and the two days I was in the hospital. At home I just kept up on a pain med regimen (every 4hours) and have since then cut off other then absolute need. )Really having no pain at all( A bit of stiffness.

    But as I said not sure how much of a difference L5-S1 vs. L2-L5 makes since its at a different level.

    Age also factors in, current health status, etc.
  • and it'll be me!

    Like the others have said, this should be a last resort, unless you have serious nerve issues like CES.

    I have had 3 ops in 2 years. With a taste of success (so I know it is possible) I have suffered unusual complications and am testimony to the fact the operation has risks.

    I am still in pain and now wondering what is next. I am in this for the long term solution but for me its been 2 years now, so it is not a walk in the park.

    For me it is a "can't go on like this" decision is made for me. I am at the end of my rope. Then it is surgery time.

    That is my opinion. Good Luck and do your homework.
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