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Fusion Surgery

EMS GuyEEMS Guy Posts: 916
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
The article contained at the website listed below appeared in the Wall Street Journal on December 20th. I did have a spinal fusion done back in 2007 so I'm not posting this to keep anyone from considering the option. However, the story provides information and poses a few questions that patients may want to discuss with their surgeons before having surgery.

URL Removed - link was broken.

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Post Edited by Administrator Dave
Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2


  • I've believed for a while now that too many fusions are being done unnecessarily and the reason is because of the money being made by surgeons, hospitals and the med device makers. I've had doctors agree with me on this too. It's a shame how the unknowing public gets sucked into this treatment.
    If someone has backpain and needs their back stabilized then they should find a doctor who uses Prolotherapy and have that done first before considering surgery. But Prolo will never become widely used because there isn't money in it for the drug companies or the doctors.
    Medical care is a buyer beware situation and I now look at every doctor that I go to as a possible Bernie Madoff clone, nothing more than a greedy thug.
    Don't trust any doctor, regardless of how fancy his title is, do your due diligence.
  • Thanks for making others aware of the article. A friend gave me the article and it does make for interesting reading especially if one is considering fusion surgery. We need to be informed consumers.
  • While I understand the message you are trying to get across, aren't you sending a conflicting message of sorts? I read what you are writing as "don't trust any doctor unless they offer you Prolotherapy".

    While I agree there are many in the medical profession who are out to make a buck or two, not all are. Aren't you being unnecessarily unfair in lumping all of them into the same category as Bernie Madoff? I for one know several who are genuinely interested in what is best for the patient, and are not "just in it for the money".

    I think that the medical profession is becoming increasingly more complex, as more and more patients demand what they think they should be getting in the realm of tests and treatments. Isn't this ...
    OZONE said:
    they should find a doctor who uses Prolotherapy and have that done first before considering surgery
    just adding to the problem? I know you have extensive personal experience in Prolotherapy, but are you really expert enough in it to say that every spine instability patient should try it first?

    We are all of us now, so much more prepared by what we learn here and from other sources. Don't we owe it to ourselves and to each other to make certain we don't confuse the issue by making statements that could potentially muddy the waters even more?

  • I've followed your updates with extreme interest. I actually had almost the exact same procedure as you November 30 2010, it was L4-s1 alif with minimally invasive hardware from the back. Doctor evidently was getting a better kickback for nuvasive's new system as he switched from the sextant a month before my surgery. I am also 37. I would say the only difference is he claims to have used BMP both anterior and on the facet joints also. Haven't heard about that on SH but that's what he told me.

    A couple questions I had for you though if you have time: would you pm me that article, as spine health blocked the link.

    And I haven't read any recent posts as to how you feel, and I also am experiencing some ED issues that you talked about. Did it finally go away? Are you back to being able to do the things that you could do? Roof a shed, work on cars, plant a tree, carry a ladder? etc.

    Unfortunately, a lot of what I hear is a success is that people can walk, or swim, or travel. Or go back to a desk job. I really want to know if anyone our age went back to painting their house, putting in a fence, coaching little league baseball, or anything else that requires a healthy back. And if good fortune has found you doing these things again, how long did it take for that to happen?
  • haglandc said:
    I read what you are writing as "don't trust any doctor unless they offer you Prolotherapy".

    OZONE said:
    they should find a doctor who uses Prolotherapy and have that done first before considering surgery

    About what you read into what I said, don't trust ANY one doctor's opinion on ANYTHING unless it's an emergency situation and I need immediate medical care. We are consumers and must research everything we possibly can before making a healthcare decision, particularly for chronic illnesses which traditional medicine handles poorly.

    Yes, IMO anyone facing fusion surgery should consult with a doctor who uses Prolo to stabilize the spine because there is a good possibility that the ligaments are the cause of the problem and not what the MRI says. I left out "should consult with" in the original post.

    People can view their doctor in whatever light they want to but I will always question a doctors motives when they give me their diagnosis.

  • You need to check with the population of patients that had a fusion more than two years ago to see if they are leading an "active" life. It takes the bone a good year to set up to the point that it is hard and strong, and it can take up to two years in some cases, like a multi-level fusion.

    I know a couple people whose backs are even stronger now than prior to their fusions, and they have only needed one surgery. But I would have to say they are in the minority....
  • Hi. Right after reading your post I PM'd you with a request to email the article to me. So far I haven't received it. If you could try resending it to ostrich1944@yahoo.com I'd appreciate it. Thanks so much. Essmoe
  • With the holidays, I've been away from my computer. Anyone wanting further information about this story you can Google (or other search engine) the Louisville Couier Journal. Yesterday, they had a huge article about this very topic and physicians. I won't put the link on here so that I don't violate any rules or potential business for spine surgeons.

    Weaveman - I had my surgery in Jan 07 and can do much more than I used to be able to do. I had a new functional capacity exam last March and all almost all permenant restrictions were lifted. I still cannot lift more than 120 lbs past my shoulder height, but it's not like I was doing that a lot before surgery. I play sports with my kids and enjoy golf. That being said, I usually have to medicate after a golf game due to all the twisting at my waist. I plan to go snow skiing with my kids in two weeks. So, I'm not really impacted too much by what I do. I let common sense take over on some things in making the decision on what to do. Sliding into bases playing softball is out as is running. I enjoy walking, but running just puts too much stress on my lower back. Swimming is actually good for my back and I try to do as much as I can. Recovery comes slow. Don't rush things. The first six months after surgery I took it real easy with sports. I helped coach my son's baseball teams, but it was a hands off approach.

    Unfortunately, the ED issue has not corrected itself. The doctors thought it would, but it didn't. With medication though, things are good. I think I'm the only person receiving ED medication compliments of workers compensation!

    Essmoe29 - I'll get to your PM in just a little bit. Have to get the kids on the bus this morning.

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • The holidays are a busy time. I forgive ya! Essmoe
  • Hi all,

    I've emailed the WSJ article post to individuals who requested the link. If you did not get the link and had requested it from me, just let me know and I'll send it to you.

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • I would like the link. I have personal interest in it. Thanks
  • I just PM'd it to you. Happy reading!
    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • I would love a copy
    1/16/2013 Minimally invasive TLIF with rods, screws, and cage on L5/S1 joint to treat grade 2 spondylolysthesis, pars defect, degenerative disc disease. Dealt with chronic pain & nerve issues since at least 2007.
  • Keith, could I have a copy of the link too please? :-)
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