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Does "moderate" central canal stenosis mean that fusion w/be a "must"

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Also have retrostilotheis of ~ 4 mm (according to MRI of years ago). Not sure if it's a pain generator viz. a discogram but surgeons have recommended ADR or fusion there as I have extensive DDD.

It seems to me that w/more disc narrowing due to DDD, the central canal w/cause inevitable pressure on the cauda equina there.

I"m confused.

Thanks for your time. - m


  • I have seen a surgeon who said that fusion surgery is not inevitable for me, despite my grade 2 spondylolisthesis. I have moderate central canal stenosis in addition to all sorts of problems, as you can see below.
    I am trying to avoid surgery by every means possible to me.

    Do you have sciatica? How far down your legs do you get it. I have it in both legs, down into my toes on both feet. I manage with the pain levels quite well I think (having read about other people's stories on this forum).

    I think the main factors for a green light for surgery seem to be any bowel or bladder problems, lack of ability to use feet and legs (not just pain) and being unable to cope with the pain.

    I am not an expert, but am learning lots through reading here.

    Hopefully others will add their experiences and knowledge too.
  • HI J,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond.

    I have sciatica and new foraminal stenosis pain that feels like a hammer on the shin that was recently taken care of by an epidural. I have a numb foot but the pain's controlled by Morontin. How about yourself?

    What scares me is that Central Canal Stenosis disc bulge bulges on the cauda equina and it's so refreshing to read that fusion is not a foregone conclusion. I"m getting an opinion deliberately from a conservative surgeon but maybe I should cancel this as your consult said what I want to hear!!

    I wonder too about modic/endplate changes (have it too) if autofusion is OK if one level was positive from a discogram. I'll ask this question.

    I am very sorry to read of your thoracic problems as surgery in this area isn't nice - massive understatement.

    Also, I sure would hate to wait for CES symptoms to occur before getting a sudden fusion. But I"m a great worrier!

    OK, too wordy.

    I wish you well; nice to "meet" you.
  • Hi Mudywaters,
    I would definately see your surgeon to hear what he says about your personal case.
    I, like you, chose my surgeon because he believes that surgery is very much the last option. He does offer all sorts of other pain management options, but for me I just had 3 options. Physiotherapy, using core stability exercises (he thinks highly of pilates and fit ball), Epidural injections to deal with pain so that physiotherapy can continue (he said that any help recieved would only be temporary), or spinal decompression surgery with fusion.

    I had been told my another doctor that she thought it was inevitable that one day I would have to have surgery. She actually said it was amazing that I am managing to walk about. However, I told myself that I AM able to walk about and these days I don't regularly take pain medications. I definately have limitations on what I can do, but until I feel I can't cope, I am continuing with lots of walking, exercise,healthy diet (have lots about 25 pounds), drinking lots of water.

    I also worry a bit about the Thoracic problems, but only found out about them from my MRI report. The doctor didn't mention them, so hey, I shouldn't worry about them too much unless they cause more serious problems.

    Remember that cauda equina problems are very rare. Just be aware of what they are and get immediate help if you get them. I know just what you mean about not wanting to have an emergency situation. My surgeon said that it was unlikely to get problems in this way, and that any progression in my stenosis symptoms was likely to happen slowly.
    I try to get on with my life as much as possible, but be aware of new sensations and pains.

    I sometimes feel that I am very boring and all I talk about is my back. (I think my family and friends feel this way too!) It is so nice to have found a place where I can discuss my spine problems and not feel that I am boring people.

    And you thought you were too wordy!!

    Would love to hear what your surgeon says, especially about if autofusion is ok or if it causes other problems.

    Take care.
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