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Does anyone here have 4 lumbar vertebrae fused?

happyHBmomhhappyHBmom Posts: 2,070
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:47 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Was it done in the same surgery? That's crazy talk, right? Nobody would do such a thing to a person, right?

Even if they had a fracture at L2 and a retrolisthesis at L4.

And a 2mm retrolisthesis while prone is just a little tiny thing anyway.

Right? My PM doctor was scaring me today. I haven't discussed my new results with my neuro yet, but my PM doctor was mumbling something about fusing 4-5 levels. Can they even do that? What does that feel like?


  • HB,

    I wouldn't freak yet, wait till you talk with your surgeon as to what *he* feels is needed. We've seen on here a lot where a PM will say "you need this and that and this" only to find out they were out of their element!

    I would gather they can do all 4 or 5 (hopefully you won't need all that) in one surgery. If it's 360, they might do the front today, and a day or so later finish up posteriorly. Try not to worry too much yet. Wait until the real expert (your surgeon) advises you, okay? :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • But how could you even bend if you had all of those lumbar levels fused?


    OK, I won't freak.

  • MetalneckMetalneck The Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,678
    was originally two level anterior only .... then redone to three level with cage and posterior rods ... and now with new findings of significant stenosis at C3 ... I maybe going for four levels.

    In my experience, with only my three level "360", I currently have only about 5 degrees of motion in any direction - Up - Down - Left - Right.

    Emotion is all over the place (a little humor - very little).


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  • HB,

    Glad to hear you won't freak. :) As to bending, I think her member name is JanD? She went through surgery (huge) due to scoliosis in which she was locked 'straight' from just below her neck, all the way down her lumbar. She has actually learned to "work" with her new back to accomplish day to day tasks..to include flexing enough to shave!

    But again HB, try not to put the cart before the horse as they say due to your PM's comments. :) I can't see my armpits to shave, so I shave and feel to see if it's done! See, there are ways to do even that sort of thing. You're a strong woman, you will be fine. *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,732
    And clip my toe nails. I do have to "contort" a bit. And I have 5 fused vertebrae. All lumbar. I didn't have them all at once. But there have been people on this board who have had that and more.
    But listen to Brenda, don't freak! You would have to hear it straight from the horses mouth!
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • I have 3 cervical levels fused with screws and bone cages and also have 2 fusions with bonecages and screws and an artifical disk in my lumbar region..

  • Brenda they do make mirrors for the shower hun.
  • I knew someone would catch that! Thanks to Lyrica, Brenda does NOT need even a little mirror in *her* shower! (G)

    HB - See, others work around their various amounts of fusions. Life can "still be good" as they say. 8>

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Um, the legs are not always getting shaved as things are now, so having to work around the fusion in the shower is not my major concern. LOL.

    But I do hope to get on a horse again some day. With that many levels fused it seems... unlikely :(
  • Positive attitude, positive attitude, positive attitude.... there ya go, you got it!! :) We can't change the past, but looks like your future is not etched in stone yet HB. *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I have L2-S1 fused with instrementation. 2 separate ops: L2-L4 PLIF in 2003. L4-S1 ALIF in 2010. So there you go: 5 levels. I am also "lucky" to have a cervical spine falling apart (will find out tommorow at Drs).

    For all the metal I have in my spine I still have a decent amount of mobility. Of course if I do too much moving/twisting I am hurting, which is lots of the time. However, my pain, spasms, drop foot etc. have been helped tremendously.

    Anytime I can be of more help, PM me or post in general, I log on every day. Oh yeah, DON'T FREAK OUT!

    Take care,

  • I have all my lumbar area fused. It was done in two operations, the back first. Each surgery was over 6 hours long.
    As for mobility or flexibility, I have no issues bending. I even play golf. However, reaching for something high is a problem as well as laying on my belly.


    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • Intersting. With that many levels I would think you would want to be super careful about overloading the levels above or below (after your healed). Do you use bracing when you work out or do physical labor?

    HB when is your NS appt?

    Good luck >:D<

  • Not until the 28th.

    I was really hoping that I could just do the 2 levels around L2, and that correcting the kyphosis there would stabilize the lower back, and if I was very good with my physical therapy I could rehabilitate my lower spine.

    I wonder if I beg?

    Yes, the PM doctor (who is a physiatrist, BTW) said it would put a lot of strain on my SI, I would assume the upper back as well.

    I will jump off that bridge when I come to it, repeat 100 times. My appointment isn't for another 3 weeks.
  • you had great advice, from the board, and you on the right track. 3 weeeks from now you will know what the NS sees fit, it sounds like a lot of surgery, but wait... I had one NS want to fuse 3 on me, I only did one with a diffetent NS, for my own reasons.
    Just be careful & wish you some relief from your pain!

    Now Brenda, no matter how crappy I fell you always make me laugh, thank you, I nearly peed my pants, with your arm pit story! Thank goodness I am on detrol for my bladder, LOL
  • Yes, Brenda is a godsend. How anyone could make what we're going through funny, I don't know, but she manages it :)
  • I had four vertebrae fused (three-level) L3-S1. It is actually not that rare, I have seen many people with the same fusion on this board. I don't think I had a harder time either with the surgery or with the recovery as many people with two vertebrae fused. So a lot depends on your condition, on your surgeon and on you as an individual. We are all different and respond differently. Mine went well and without any major problems, and I don't think I am any less capable of doing things than I was before. Actually, I think I am much better.

    Wishing you the best for your surgery, and don't freak out, hopefully your surgery will go well.

  • Mine would be either L1-L4 or L1-L5 if he really did decide to do this, and include a vertebrectomy at L2.

    It was just a very unexpected concern. But as has been said, I don't know whether it is one. Maybe I was right and it really is nothing.
  • happyHBmom said:
    Yes, Brenda is a godsend. How anyone could make what we're going through funny, I don't know, but she manages it :)
    Wow, all this over my shaving via the braille method! Wowzers. :) Thanks HB, you're not so bad yourself!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Yep, I just had 4 level lumbar fusion complete with screws, rods, discs, cages and lots of bone. It was done all in one surgery starting with the anterior postition before being flipped over. I am 5 months post op and doing okay. The recovery is long and slow. I'm still learning how to move as I resume housework, gardening and working out. I hope you don't have to go this route but if you do, keep in touch and you'll get lots of support from those that have been there, done that.
  • Goodness, the things they will do to us in the interest of "fixing" us. Hmph, I think it's a conspiracy!


  • I haven't been on the site for quite awhile, but I saw your post and had to respond. I had a 4 level lumbar fusion L2-S1 one year ago. It was all done at one time. They made an incision about 8 inches long on my left side of abdomen. They put in hardware and then turned me over and went through my back with a 13 inch incision and put in rods more screws and bone. I know how you feel. I felt the same way when I found out what they had to do, but I don't think it's any more painful than a 1 or 2 leve fusion. I can bend just fine. Keep us posted and don't freak. Kevin
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