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Fusion Really?

hope4leohhope4leo Posts: 200
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have had a previous laminoplasy at the L5-S1 6 years ago. I tripped and fell and now after an MRI, it shows that I have a disc hernation at L4-L5 and L5-S1 both press on the nerve roots, explaining the ongoing leg pain- down into my toes. My doctor recommends a fusion. I am reserching my options- I am in extreme pain but have a family so I have to keep going. Please advise....yes you would or have had a fusion and why you opted that decision or no and why?? I need so direction from people who can understand the pain and frustration factors regarding back pain.

Thank you,


  • I am sorry you are feeling so sore.

    I hope my words may offer you some help.

    If you have nerve damage you may not have a choice regards the fusion as longer term you may have bigger worries if the surgery is not done, like CES.

    But assuming this isn't the case and the fusion is elective, ask yourself if you are at the end of your rope regards coping and pain?

    There is no right answer. I am young and have young kids to look after. I felt I had no choice as I was so limited and the pain had robbed me of my life. However, I have suffered complications and 2 years later I am still struggling.

    Looking back there is nothing I would change. I do not regret the surgery and in fairness most ppl have a 6-9 month recovery and then go back to full lives.
    (My first operation gave me 16 weeks of this so I know what is possible)...My point amidst my ramblings is make sure that the decision is either made for you from a medical perspective (you have no choice because if you don't you may suffer ___) or that you are at your witts end and you have tried all other avenues first.

    Also go and see a second opinion. 2 sets of brains are better than one!

    Good Luck!
  • i got hurt at work 2 years ago and did all the stuff your suppose to have. The doctor had to go in to take pressure off sciatic nerve, helped for 2 weeks then bamm...Anyway did the shots in back did pain management the dr had to do everything workman's compensation wanted.any how finally got fusion l5, s1 with instrument , when i woke up i was hurting bad in stomache are thats how they went through, but i knew when i got up to walk it was 80% better. I am about 3 months out and i do have some things going on but i still feel better, people say be patient things will work out but if they knew my quality is better already just hope it continues...If you are at that point where you cant get any worse you will try anything to get out of pain
  • Hi Shannon, Welcome, and sorry for the reason you found us. If you run a search for lumbar fusion, you will find lots of information pertaining to the topic. Some threads consider whether it was "worth it," some concern recovery, etc.

    Fusion is a BIG surgery and you want to do your research and really know what you're getting into before you agree to proceed. That being said, sometimes there are no other options. Then it is a matter of weighing the pros and cons against how compromised your life as you knew it has become. It is a very individual decision, requiring a great deal of realistic soul searching.

    If you do decide that there are no other options, take your time in choosing a spinal specialist to perform the surgery. Do your homework. Be sure s/he is not only well-trained and well-qualified for the procedure you need, but be sure you also can relate and communicate with him/her.
  • Shannon,

    The reason I chose to go with a fusion surgery is not because I had pain due to a bulging disc pressing on a nerve root, but because the disc was partially degenerated and collapsed. The disc was so dehydrated that it would never recover on its own. If I did not have a fusion done, I probably would have had a bone-on-bone situation within 5 years.

    If your discs are healthy, you may want to try Epidural Steroid Injections (ESI) before considering fusion surgery.

    Ultimately, you need to determine how much the current situation affects your quality of life and if the risks of fusion surgery are worth it to you.

    Good luck.
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