Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Police, Fire, EMS with 360 fusion?

doug260ddoug260 Posts: 12
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello. I am 36 year old police officer who is scheduled for 360 fusion next month. I have 15 years on and it's not job related so I can't retire yet if things go south. Has anyone in the field (or any other "active" job) made a full recovery and back to work full duty following this type of surgery? Or should I just try to suck it up for the next 10 years?


  • Where is your fusion -- lumbar...cervical?? This makes a difference.
  • Sorry, My fusion will be L4-S1
  • Did you ask your doctor? The doctor should be able to give you an idea of what you're outcome will be.

    Mine is not a Lumbar issue. I had a cervical fusion and my doctor told me I had to retire from my job teaching martial arts. I closed my school. He also told me I'd have to limit my fitness instruction. I can't do crazy stuff myself anymore.

    I injured myself over 15 years ago and sucked it up because I needed to work. I was only herniated at C7 but lost use of my left arm for a while. I got most of it back by doing PT and traction. I finally got stopped in my tracts when my neck refused to leave me alone and an MRI showed I needed 3 level fusion. One area was fusing by itself off line which would be a bad situation. I had to do mine and was ready to retire anyway. I'm almost 59 years old.

    Have you done all you can to deal with your back? Are you in a "have to" situation or a "it would be wise to".

    If you have to do it could you get a desk job? Go into a computer detective work? My martial art trainer was a police officer and things went bad he's now fraud detective and loves it.
  • I was volunteer firefighter/medic, VP & mission coordinator for a search & rescue team and even did some volunteer sheriff deputy work for a while. My main job though was 911 dispatcher. I'm unable to do any of the field work any more, I have a hard enough time sitting for a shift at work doing computer work. (I stopped dispatching about 5 years ago and went into straight IT/telephony type stuff.)

    I've been dealing with this for 4+ years and still have no diagnosis, although the docs are all (across the board) saying it's not my spine. Originally we were thinking L4-S1 was the problem area, now more than one doc has said flat out they think it's MS. I'm pursuing that diagnosis now (or ruling it out). I can't walk for any distance and use a cane. I was just issued permanent handicap placards last week. I have come to terms with the fact that I'll not be able to do field work again. (But at least I didn't have to give up my firefighter license plates. =D> )

    Definitely talk to your doc, your situation is different than mine, I have not had any surgeries done. After some time you may be able to go back to active duty with no problem.
  • I had a 360 degree fusion over 9 years ago. I am a Retail Manager and ig you know anyone in retail, all you do is lift, bend, and stand. I was told that it would not be recommended that I stay in the retail field but I was determined to stay in the field that I loved, and I did return to my job, at a full time position 10 months after my surgery. I stayed in retail management until 2007 when I reinjured my spine, this time at L2-3 and L3-4. I had to have another fusion at L3-4 and I also have flexible rods at L2-3. If I had to do it differntly, I do not think that I would.
    Good luck with your surgery and I hope this story helps answer the question.
  • Interesting question...I've worked with guys (EMS)who have had multi-level fusions and continue to work. Push come to shove, I could work the streets again, albeit, I would be hitting the medication pretty hard. I had the same surgery you are referring. I was a firefighter for 23 years prior to surgery. I will not do that again. Air pack resting on a fusion site is not good!

    I would press the surgeon pretty hard about what he thought your chances of having a sucessful surgery are before you go in. I knew going in that I had a 60% chance of feeling better. I did feel much better for about three months, then things went to hell in a hand basket again.

    I can't stand very long without having to sit down. I can't sit very long without standing up. It's pretty much a cycle.

    I would also ask you surgeon about what kind of rehab that will be done afterwards. Aqua therapy is great! It doesn't strain your back and the warm water relaxes your muscles.

    Overall, I think a lot has to do with your frame of mind going in to it. Stay positive and try your best at everything in rehab. Just remember, DONT OVER DO IT! I think thats what screwed me up.

    Feel free to PM me if you would like more info.


    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • I was injured on the job as a EMT/Medic for an ambulance company also a vol. FF for 7 yrs. I have reluctantly come to terms with the fact that I am done working in this field or any other. I am on total disability. Went on it at the age of 38. I am a divorced mother of two wonderful girls, but I really really wanted to go back to work, still do fight with myself at times when I hear sirens. I had two lumbar fusions, the last being a 360. I have DDD, foraminal narrowing, permanent nerve damage in the right leg and foot, stenosis, chronic pain etc... so I guess what I'm trying to say is it really depends on the individual and your drs., but just be realistic about your decision.
  • motleymel, I so know how you feel about every time you hear a siren. Or smell smoke, even from a fireplace. It emotionally draws something up to the surface every time! There is a draw you have to fight.
  • Doug -

    I did not have a 360, but I did have S1-L4 fused.

    I hate to be pessimistic - who knows, you could be the one who heals and gets back to 100% - but I almost got put on long term disability at 5 months post-op. And I have a fairly easy job - I can stand when I need and I can sit (mostly) when I need. AND - I consider myself to have healed very very well.

    On the other hand my DH had a 2-level discectomy 8 years ago,(granted - it's a much less invasive surgery) but he rejoined the military as an 'old'(mid 40's) man and beats the pants off the entire unit on the PT tests.
  • I am about 9 months post surgery and cannot even think about having to have waited any longer. I guess I waited long enough but thinking of waiting out 10 years is crazy. The amount of further damage may be irrepairable so think about that. I get the pension dilemma but what a risk you are running if you get into a scuffle with some dirtbag and your back goes out? Please get a second and third opinion and ask all your questions before you make a decision. I have had great results, going home the next morning after surgery. My back pain was gone when I woke up but had incisional pain that was well controlled. I am lucky, I had an experienced and expert surgeon and I so appreciated it. I do have a physical job and also train my 4 German Shepherd Dogs. I have been lifting the 100 pound beasts for 6 months and have had no problems. I ride my motorcycle and ATV and feel fine. I wish the best for you and all back pain sufferers.
  • I was not able to find any information on Police/Fire/EMT, but here is something to consider:

    I'm not sure if you follow the sport of MMA, but two fighters have had fusion surgery and both have made a full comeback. Nate Quarry had the XLIF surgery performed and Tito Ortiz had a fusion. I wasn't able to find what type of surgery Ortiz had. Either way, they have a very strenous 'job'. Their training alone is very physical and high impact. Quarry was doing sit-ups less than a month after the surgery! That shows me that a full recovery can possibly be made. That is keeping my dream of being a Police Officer alive.

    Hope this information helps!
  • Hey all, I am having a 360 fusion in 29 days and counting. I had a laminotomy and discectomy in May of last year. I reinjured the same disc in March of this year and come to find out that L5 S1 is also injured. I was working as a certified nurse aide prior to injury, and its looking like I won't be returning following surgery, which is kinda okay, I was going to school to become a RN, but that looks like its out of the pic for now, if anyone can give me insight about the 360 surgery, I would appreciate all I can get. I go on the 28th of this month for pre surgery testing. Thanks.
  • Count on gastrointestinal issues after surgery. Constipation is a big problem. Depending on how they make the anterior incision, wearing PJ's or sweatpants with elastic can irritate your staples.

    Plan to eat healthy (very healthy) for a week leading up to surgery. It wouldn't hurt to also take stool softners the day before surgery.

    After surgery, my back bothered me less than the anterior issues. Getting in and out of bed the first few times isn't comfortable.

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • Hi all i'm in the exact same position as Doug, on the 11/02/12 I had a 360 degree 3 level fusion (L3/4 L4/5 & L5/S1) I am a serving police officer with 14 yrs service. At the moment the "job" seem to want to pension me out ill health which for me would be devastating mentaly and physically. I'm now 5ish weeks post surgery after an op where anything that could go wrong did go wrong but i'm pleased to say I feel really good, my mobility and pain has already improved compared to before the op and at last the future looks brighter. That may sound like a very odd thing to say considering that i'm single which = 1 wage to pay the bills and the mortgage so if work pension me off I will without a doubt lose my home as there is no way I will be able to afford it. However if that is the price I have to pay for that feeling of standing tall , straight and relatively pain free that I had when I stood up for the first time after having the op then so be it. It felt AMAZING. so far no regrets about having the op but it would be interesting to know how Doug got on in the end.
  • My husband is a career firefighter for the government and was told last week that it was time for a spinal fusion L3, L4 and L5 (he injured his back when he was a teenager). His back starting acting up about 6 yrs ago. He has been in the government as a firefighter for almost 13 yrs.

    What money we had put aside for retirement was used about three years ago do the me losing my job and the economy. We are freaking out to say the least.

    He is only 40 yrs old and we are not sure what to do. He loves being a firefighter and wants to return to work IF he has this done.

    I would love some feedback from some firefighters. thank you for your time
  • buick48bbuick48 Posts: 6
    edited 08/15/2012 - 10:44 AM
    I had C4-C7 fusion, discectomy and bone grafts done in 9/09. I have been in pain from almost day one since the surgery. Been to some pretty crappy PT's and gotten really not much relief. I try to keep in shape, Duh, but I can't sit for long periods, stand for long periods or lift heavy objects without pain. I still get some numbness in my left shoulder, arm and hand, but infrequently. It was not a job related injury, but I'm sure 21 years as a cop has made it worse. I am wondering if it is safe to do my job. My primary care doc at the time was shocked I was only out of work for 8 weeks and then sent back to full duty. I don't see the same doc anymore, he is not with that same practice. Now, almost 3 years later, I am wondering how smart that was. I am having problems above and below the surgery area. So, I guess my question is, should I be working as a cop and is it safe. I don't hesitate, but wonder what will happen every time I get in a fight or wrestling match with a scumbag. If someone has an answer I would appreciate it.
Sign In or Register to comment.