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New on Board, Spine Surgeon Appt. 12/07

essmoe29eessmoe29 Posts: 317
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi! I've had lower back pain & sciatica for years and am tired of the figurative trips through the revolving door for treatment - facet block works for a few days, then pain again, two epidural steroid injections providing four months of relief and the third and last epi injection relieving pain for just two weeks, chiropractic worked for a short time, PT worked for a shjort time, yada-ya. X-Ray diagnoses prior to 11/19/10 MRI: degenerated disks, moderate scoliosis, grade 1 spondylolisthesis, facet arthritis. MRI showed, at L5-S1: everything was normal; L4-5: mild spondylolisthesis, "Noted is a broad left disk protrusion encroaching the left neural foramen and exiting left L-4 nerve root," "mild degenative hypertrophy of facet joints"; L3-4: broad bulging annulus, mild right paracentral disk protrusion, mild bilateral foraminal stenosis, mild degenerative hypertrophy facet joints; L2-3: disk space is narrowed and dessicated, mild bulging annulus and mild right paracentral disk protrusion; L1-2: minimal bulging annulus causing mild compromise of neural foramina, "noted is degenerative atrophy of facet joints" (not mild). X-Rays done same date showed worsened ("severe") scoliosis. This time I'm going to a comprehensive spine center (excellent reputation). Dec. 7 I'll see an orthopedic spine surgeon, who, according to the doc I just saw, is a perfectionist, spent 14 hours in the OR on a case, and can make my spine straight, to which I responded, "No way will I have a fusion." I'm having PT, am hoping for the easiest and most effective (long-term) treatment, and am doing Internet research on treatments. Any ideas? I'm new on this board. Thanks!!!


  • Hello Ess and Welcome to Spine-health!! There are alot of knowledgable and caring people here....

    And yes fusions are very scary....Please do as much research as you can...you are your best health care advocate!!

    I just wanted to say HI!!
  • His idea as to treatment is, "You need a fusion," adding that my curvature is 60 degrees and ten years from now I'll start having sores on my right buttock bearing most of my sitting weight on that side, plus there will be organ dysfunction. I've been aware that curvatures often increase 1-2 degrees/year, but on the other hand, since I started feeling better as a result of PT, I can tell distinctly that the curvature has improved as a result of reduction of "favoring" of my lumbar spine. Now I have one other thing to say: I'm NOT having the surgery! It's too risky, and each time (mercifully only twice) someone (meaning the orthopedist and a friend) has advised me to have it done, I've felt horrible anxiety for a while afterward (is something trying to tell me something, if you know what I mean - that I really should avoid the procedure - the risk, etc.
  • i can understand that you would feel anxious when spinal surgery is given as a treatment for you, most people are scared when having this

    and it is entirely up to you as to have surgery or not and we would support you either way

    can i ask what is it that is too risky, as you say

    having said that, yes there are risks involed, which your surgeon will state, but apart from the "known ' risks, is there anything specific that is of concern to you?
    take care
  • Nope - nothing with respect to my state of health, just the usual risks. Let's face it, back surgery is risky, since the surgeon has to operate on structures that adjoin or are part of the peripheral nervous system, and I hate the idea of there more being to the recuperation than what's involved in garden variety procedures such as appendectomy. With fusion, as Dr. Whoozit (pseudonym) said, I'd need a home health aide and a PT who makes house calls, and I'm not the type who wants to go through all that rigmarole. Instead, I'd want to be active in a shorter time than that. It's a huge can of worms I don't want to be, and am afraid to be bothered with.
  • can understand the fear, it is major surgery, of a very important area, and as such, there are risks, each one of us, has to weigh up if the benefits outweigh the risks, or more serious permanent damage is being done if left

    for some, it can take awhile to become comfortable enough with the surgeon and procedure and knowing its a long recovery

    take care
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