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big surgery coming up

neverstoppersnneverstoppers Posts: 30
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello all. My case is a bit rare i know. however, i would like to know if anybody has had a full back spinal fusion. my doctors are talking about doing a fusion from l5 to t5. ..
he told me the risks of, not being able to control bowel or bladder. and 'gental numbness'. he also said that i will get a headache when i awake because of spinal cord leakage but i will be laying down.
but anyways the reasoning for them having to do all of this is because my back is really i guess you can say deformed now because of the failed spinal fusion.
my spinal fusion now is from s1- l4. they are saying they have to move it up because its just not going to be stable at hte lower levels because of the cancer i had in my back. and they damage a of tissue and such from the tumor removal.
i have talked to a nurse friend of mine, who also is a medical biller who says he sees this some what a lot. i mean its not un heard of.
but i am just freaked out that i am going from a s1-l4. to almost my whole spine.
but i already had have two surgeries. the first one was for the cancer removal and they did a spinal fusion there. it did not fuse so they did anther one. and this one quickly failed.
so has anybody heard of ortro docs moving the fusion all the way up the back to make it more stable to atain a successful fusion?
are there any other risk factors that could happen. like could i be parlized.

i could post a picture of my x-ray i took. if need be.



  • That's a whole lot of fusion. There are some folks on here who have had many levels fused. Actually, my roommate from college has a rod that runs from the bottom of her spine all the way up to the T/C juncture at the top of the back. I sometimes feel terribly sorry for myself with a three-level fusion. I hope you have recovered well from the cancer and aren't looking at more complications from that. Some of us have so very much for which to be thankful. I wish you the very best.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • my cancer has been gone for four years. so thats good. my doctors basically have told me it wont come back. but without actually saying that because they dont want to get sued.

    i am using a device from ortrofix spinal stim. it looks very promosing i hope it helps.

    i just want this to work
  • Have you had more than this one opinion? For something this drastic you really want to be sure you are seeing the best surgeon for this extensive a surgery. Usually the only time so many levels are fused is due to something like extensive scoliosis or a bad accident when the spine has to be reconstructed.

    Since you did not fuse the first two surgeries, I would want to know about the risk of non-fusion once again, and what would happen then since they are attempting to fuse so many levels.

    I just think it is really important that you go to a spine clinic or spinal surgeon that is used to doing very difficult, complicated spinal reconstructive surgeries....
  • hi neverstoppers, Have you gotten a 2nd, or 3rd opinion? I'm sure the surgery has been done many times before, but if I were in your shoes I'd feel much more confident if I got a few opinions before deciding to go through with it. If you could post your Xray it might also help us give you advice, you never know! :)

    I'm also so glad to hear the cancer has gone away!
  • well i have two different doctors i see. one is orthopedic, and one is orthopedic oncologist. both of them have said the best opition for me is to move it up
  • why didn't my picture post on the bottom?
  • well i feel confident in my doctor. he has done many of these before he told me at least. and i think if i posted my x-ray you could see why they would need to do a full fusion i guess you can say.
    its basically because my back is sticking out. like a hump. and it prevents me from standing up staright, which obiviously is causing stress on other parts of the body. which causes more pain.
  • That is quite an x-ray...

    I am glad you have confidence in your surgeon. This will really be a major reconstruction of your spine and I would think you will need to be really careful during your recovery.

    When do you anticipate having this surgery?
  • the surgery will be next friday. it was pre planed a long time ago. since last summer my doctors told me that i will need anther surgery but said they should leave it up to me when to have it. they said they are not going to force it on me. but i knew if i wanted to live a normal life i need to have this done. i know i will never be pain free. but i could at least walk, upright. and that in it self will cause less pain.
    yeah i am going to be super careful during recovery. i am going to eat a lot of protein and take these calicum and other bone growing/healing vitamins supplement i found at the health store.
    and i am only going to go to school for three days next semester. only 4 hours on two days, the other day one hour.
    i am going to be careful and just take baby steps. maybe not go to the walker as fast.
    and yes it is a major surgery, but my surgerion has said he has done these before. and some lady on here messaged me saying she had to have a whole spine and they had to remove bone too make it less deformed.
    so at least i know some one else is out there.

    i hope its like my last surgery but with as big as it is who knows. usually after spinal fusions your back doesnt hurt you as much in the post-op in the hospital. obviously when you do your daily activitys will be the true test.
    but last time my back did not hurt much at all, well when they make you roll to check the sores and to get up for the first time it did.
    is this commman with people. that there back doesn't hurt much after the spinal fusions IN the hospitals. all i can remember is hip pain from the graphs they took which they are not taking this time
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