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30 Years old and in need of a two level fusion

KristinTKKristinT Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have ruptured my disks between L4-5 and L5-S1. Am I too young for back surgery? I can still walk, but carrying my children is becoming a problem. Plus I want to have more kids but I don't know if I can go through the pain. My father has a 5 level fusion in his neck and is fused from his L5 up to his Th 7 in his lower back. The fact that he can still walk is a small miracle. I am afraid this is what my future may hold. Anyone else have degenerated disk disease run in their family?


  • I am 32 and had a fusion on feb 1. I have a friend who is 33 and he had a 2 level fusion the week before me.
  • Tough call.
    I would recommend you get a few opinions.
    I would recommend you ask what the alternative is - microdiscectomy? ESI/Shots? PT?

    Either way you will have to adjust your lifestyle and keep your core strong and be careful carrying your child (and future children).

    I would discuss the desire to have more children with both your OBGYN and your surgeon; get perspective from each one on both plans (fusion and more children).

    I am 40 (well 42 but 40 when I blew out my disc) and lost feeling and strength in my leg. I had a microdiscectomy. I still may need a fusion but for me, an avid runner-hiker-fitness finatic, I wanted to do the most conservative option I could considering my circumstance. A lumbar fusion is nothing like a cervical fusion. Your lower spine arries most of the load.

    Some have success, some have continued problems. I think you have to read the boars, educate yourself on the risks and ask yourself...if I have this surgery and the risks presented happen during the surgery, will I regret my decision?

    For me, I wasn't sure the fusion would solve my issues and when I inquired, I realized success was really that people were slightly better but slightly better response from only 80% of the people was lousy considering I had the same odds trying the microd.

    I think it's good you are here, good you know your future goals (with kids), and good you are questioning if this is a good choice for you versus other options.

  • Your post immediately caught my eye.
    PLEASE get several opinions before you do this, and make sure it's what you need.
    I am a 53 yr old chronic pain sufferer who what not much older than you when I had my first fusion surgery and I have had to have 2 more since then. They will no longer operate on me and I am in CONSTANT severe pain and it literally ruined my life.
    PLEASE PLEASE be careful and don't take anything lightly.
    IF the surgery is then something you must have, research your surgeon with a fine tooth comb!!!
    I don't mean to scare you, but this is scary stuff and you need to be well informed.
    I also belong to a chronic pain group and I can't tell you the amount of people on there who have had failed fusions and suffer greatly.
    Take care and I hope all works out well for you.
    I know the promise of pain relief is so tempting....but not if you get more severe pain in the outcome.
    Bless you darling~
  • ruptured my L5-S1 @ 17 while lifting weights. Had it finally operated on when I was almost 30 - ADR 2/24/2004. My neck went bad when I was 35, had 2-level fusion on 8/31/09. Now looking at Posterior to correct C6-C7 nonunion. I will tell you that my lower back was a success and my neck appeared to be successful for about a year until I developed the symptomatic non-union. I remain pain free in lower back, so you can get there too. I would advise you to not procrastinate and get the problem fixed so that you can get back to enjoying life. I have a kid too and holding in my arms with the way my neck feels right now is really tough.

    DDD does seem to run in the family. My mother's neck is fused. Difference is she has always been very careful with herself after surgery, whereas I am very active and tried to do too much last year after my fusion, now having to unfortunately repair it. Drop me a private message if you'd like to know more about your options for your lower back.

  • And have been suffering with back problems for years. Last year I finally had an MRI to find out that I had herniations of L3-L5. After 6 rounds of steroid injections, I finally made the difficult decision to have surgery. I have an 18 month old daughter and want to have another and I couldn't possibly with my back in this condition. Although I don't think I am in as bad a shape as alot of the people here, I definitely couldn't carry on with this pain the rest of my life.

    Although I am only 3 weeks post op, I am optimistic that this was the right decision. Recovery isn't easy, but I feel it will be worth it in the end.
  • I appreciate all the advice. I am holding off for now. I am continuing with the PT and possibly more injections (yet they have NEVER helped the dozen times I have had them). I am thinking about giving up my dream about having another child...I need to be healthy enough to be able to handle my kids now. We will see. I can handle the pain right now. Hopefully I can do it for years. We will see.
  • and has that ruled out ADR {artificial disc replacement} no your are not too young for a fusion many younger that you have had them .i believe that the technology is so far advanced that it was just ten years ago when laminectomies were the flavor of the year ..i have failed back syndrome {as well other back problems} and require ALIF fusion this sept .so i can understand your worries ..make sure that there are no other options talk to your consultant and make sure that you get a few opinions {professional } before you commit to any surgery .as any spinal surgery is not to be taken lightly and as you are young you will more than likely require MORE spinal surgery as the year roll on ..i speak from experience .see my history for details .and good luck what every you decide
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • As hard as it sounds,please don't give up hope. I had my first back surgery at just 18 years old, and my second at 20. I have had the injections countless times also, and I just had another one yesterday, and I think it may be helping. The doctor that did the injection told me that I need to hold on hope, that the injections only help as much as we let them. If we convince ourselves they will not work, the simply won't because we are letting our minds overtake the battle. On the drive home I promised myself I would change my outlook and be as positive as I could be, and whether it is coincidence or not, I am feeling the slightest bit better. I know that I have a fusion in my future, but I will not give up the fight. I have had to give up my passion for sports, which I did for 19 years, but life goes on. Keep your family and friends as close to you as you can, because they will always be there to help you fight.

    I pray that you find the right thing to do, whether it be surgery or not, and I hope things start to look brighter for you.
  • KristinT said:
    I appreciate all the advice. I am holding off for now. I am continuing with the PT and possibly more injections (yet they have NEVER helped the dozen times I have had them). I am thinking about giving up my dream about having another child...I need to be healthy enough to be able to handle my kids now. We will see. I can handle the pain right now. Hopefully I can do it for years. We will see.
    Kristen, I for one am so glad you are holding off. I know I speak from many many years of "BAD", so my judgment is colored. But the thought of even a chance of someone as young as you going through what I have been through ,just makes me want to cry. So, do your research sweetie, I think there are several different options, you should not have to live I constant pain either. Lord, I know how that is. Maybe a well respected pain management Dr. could set you up for some shots or something that would help ease the pain. I am glad you are holding off, but do make sure that it the right thing for you and DO find someone to help you with the pain. And always get 2 even 3 opinions on your surgery from Surgeons with excellent references! That was the first mistake I made, I knew nothing about my surgeon. If I could stop him from EVER doing another surgery....I would! AND NEVER go by those rate a doctor pages. I went to one for a while for pain management and he was a NUT, he started screaming filthy language at his staff on my second visit. Yet his ratings were beyond excellent! (I wonder how much he paid those people, or if they were just relatives ;)
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