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Advice TLIF S1/L5

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all,

Most of my discomfort is in my left leg from my hamstring to the outside of my calf down to the outside of my foot. I don't suffer from much back pain at this time. I've been reading a lot about TLIF and from what I can tell the results are typically better for sufferers of leg pain then those with back pain.

Is this a true statement? If so does the leg pain completely go away or is it reduced? I would love to here other experience and advice.




  • Hi Runback,

    That hamstring to calf pain is very familiar to me. I did also have pain on the top/outside of my thigh as well.

    I had a 2-level PLIF last July. The pain went away!!

    What kinds of tests and treatments have you been through? Despite my good results I still think surgery is a last option - only to be done after all the other avenues have been exhausted.
  • Your observation is accurate. Most data shows that surgery is less successful if there is back pain alone, and much more successful when there is leg pain involvement...whether back pain is present or not.

    Since you have spondylolisthesis, I imagine you will not have options other than a fusion. Sometimes the pain can be controlled for a period of time through physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and sometimes ESIs. But this is usually a temporary fix. Eventually there is enough movement between the discs that a nerve ends up being compressed to the point that more conservative measures no longer help. At that time, a fusion is called for.
  • My symptoms were similar to yours. I had a TLIF L4-S1 10 weeks ago. I had some L4-L5 degeneration, so they did mine 3 level. I still have left foot pain, but it's still early.

    Nobody can tell you with 100% certainty that all your pain will go away. I think a lot depends on the surgeon's skill and how much messing they have to do with the nerves/ openings. Many people on this web site are the more serious cases and probably not representative results-wise.

    Laminectomy, TLIF with instrumentation, and cadaver bone grafts seemed to be the best option for spondy based on my research IMHO. I have not seen any studies relating back vs. leg pain.

    No guarantees. For me, it was a quality of life bet.

    Good luck, hope you get to run again.

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