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Multilevel fusion

Renos64RRenos64 Posts: 77
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have a question about multilevel fusion.

I have already got a fusion on L4L5 and L5S1 but also the levels L1L2, L2L3 and L3L4 are not good; Dehydrated discs. After the fusion I feel a lot of pain above the fused level, which can mean that there is discopathy on L1 to L4.
This months I have a consult about this with my NS.
My questions to prepare myself for this consults are;
1. What are the options?
2. If it have to be fused and the pain is gone, what are the restrictions I will have to deal with the rest of my live?
3. Can it be solved by example: Dynasys to keep a kind of flexibility?
4. Other suggestions and experiences are more than welcome?

Kind Regards,



  • I don't have answers to all of your questions. However, I can tell you that I have L2-L4 fused with rods and screws and will be having L4-S1 fused next week. I anticipate that for the rest of my life I will have to make changes to minimize the stress on my back. This means either not doing certain things that can be harmful to my back, or doing things differently.

    I learned the hard way that once you have a fusion and feel better, you cannot go back to the way you used to do things, otherwise you risk more damage to the other discs.

    As for your options, wait to see what your Dr. says. Maybe you can try conservative treatment and see how that goes.

    Over and over again, we all hear to walk, then walk some more. This gets blood flow to the spine and is helpful.

    Maybe others have some other suggestions or help for you. Good luck.
  • Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for your reply.

    I understand that it will never be as it use to be and that after a multilevel fusion you will be restricted.
    But but I wandering what are you able to do? Walking? siting? Bicycle? Swimming? Light fitness?

    I have tried all kind of therapy for 2 years now, so I have no choice and the whole day laying on bed is no option.


  • Hello,

    I think that there yust one reply on my question, that there is little experience om multilevel (3 or more levels) fusions. If anybody can give me more information or can me bring me in contact with somebody, will be very welcome and helpfull.

    Thanks in advance!

    Regards, Renos.
  • Hi Renos,

    I was advised by the Physical therapist to quit the gym and yoga, there was just too many things I could do to hurt myself. Once I am fused from this next surgery we'll see what I can do. I garden (then pay for it), walk. Basically walking too much, standing or sitting too long all bother me.

    There are a few people on this site with multi-level fusions, hopefully they will read your post and give you some insight.
  • I have a three-level fusion and, yes, I do have to be careful, but life isn't over yet. You can't lift heavy items, you can't do a lot of bending and twisting in awkward positions, but there are ways to get on with an active life. You need most likely to go to physical therapy and learn some good body mechanics. When you have a multi-level fusion, you always risk putting too much stress on the discs above or below (those of us with L5/S1 fused have none below). I garden now, but I have a kneeler/bench that helps me get up and down and I'm careful not to over-do. I walk as much as I can, but this usually means several short walks, as I get a little too twisted and stiff on long walks. I'm hoping I'll build up the ability to go farther. All the best to both of you. Check out all the possibilities and don't let the fusions keep you sedentary. You can still move if you know the correct way!

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Hi Linda,
    Thanks for your advice and shared experience.
    Not doing fusion is no option anymore since I can not move anymore without calling breaktrough pain, only laying on my back is possible. It is not difficult to decide for the option of the posibility of some movement without pain. It will be never like before, but a bareable live and some more fuctional will be very welcome.
    Are still doing rehab after your last surgery?

  • Hi there Reno -

    I am about 16 months post S1-L4 fusion

    I'll never be allowed to Snow Ski,Horse ride, Run or Jog - but my husband manages to do it 8 years post-op

    I struggle when I have to kneel down to put on/tie shoes,stupid leg cramps, it sets off my hamstring every time.

    If I'm careful I can sit, my back feels like it's on a timer: over 20 minutes=ouch! Movies are torture.
    Also -Walking/standing for extended periods and
    -Bending over - only once in a great while, I pay for it if I do any kind of repetitive or prolonged bending.

  • Yes, I have been in physical therapy for almost a year now and I will continue with it in the new year also. I go once a week and we work on loosening up my back and hip muscles, which tend to get very stiff during the week. I'm working full time so spend almost 9 hours a day sitting in a chair. I go get up and take breaks, but it's still very stressful on my back. I have 30 years of service in at my job and am thinking very seriously of retiring, just so I can be out of that damn chair!! I want to be able to garden, walk the dog, quilt (I have a small quilting business and quilt for others on a 14' quilting machine). I stand up to quilt, so I would be pretty comfortable doing that. I just need to lose the desk job.

    Saltzworks - I also get leg cramps if I do too much bending or stooping. One thing that really helped me, and I did it before surgery -- I bought slip-on shoes and a long-handled shoe horn. I stand in the doorway between my living room and kitchen with my back against the door frame and pick my feet up to put my socks on, then stick my toes into my shoes and use the shoe horn to get my feet into the shoes. So much better than trying to lace and tie shoes!!

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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