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Fusion Poll

ouch2oouch2 Posts: 1,270
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:53 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi All!I am still waiting for a fusion, and am not sure as of yet how many levels it would be. I was currious to see what the different diagnosis were for people to have a fusion...ie DDD, disc herniations, facet problems, impingement, stenosis, spondy ? For those of you that don't mind answering, here is the poll.

" What was the diagnosis that you were given that made fusion surgery your best surgical intervention?"

Thanks everyone...here's to a pain reduced day for everyone! (very damp and rainy here...very bad pain day)

>:D< Karen
>:D< >:-D< : Karen
L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
adr L5-S1 Feb 2012


  • Howdy Karen,

    For me:

    C5/6 - Risk of paralysis, DDD (spondylosis), herniation on the cord and osteophytes.

    C6/7 - Stop further damage due to rapid herniation (instant loss of strength and feeling when the disk went).

    [Pending] Revision C5/6/7 add to T2 - Stenosis, calcification blocking exit foremen, vertebra crack that isn't/won't heal, loss of feeling and strength increasing.

    L2/3/4 (pending) Herniations at these levels multiple directions at each level, osteophytes. Leg weakness.

    I guess that's what you're looking for? Pain wise not yet to "wanting surgery" for the L2/3/4, but leg weakness may override.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • for me, I had L4/L5 fusion with decompression due to Grade 2 spondylolisthesis with severe stenosis. I also had facet joint hypertrophy and degenerated discs with the L4/L5 disc almost completely gone and the vertebrae bone on bone.

    I only had 1 level fused even though the disc above and below are degenerated. Hope they will hold out!

  • I have severe herniation at L5-S1, instantly lost significant feeling and strength in left leg.

    Tried MicroD...failed right away.
    Was told by some fusion was the 'best' option to free the nerve and never have to 'worry' about that level again.

    However, I went with the conservative doctors and did a revision MicroD. I can't say I made the right decision or not. It was right for me.

    - I have not regained any feeling
    - Pain levels went down from 7-10 to 3-4
    - Got almost all my leg, ankle strength back. I no longer walk with a limp and can push up and walk on my toes.

    Flip side:
    - I was worried fusion was last resort and if things went wrong, I would have regretted not trying more conservative.
    - I worried single level fusion would have created a need for another fusion quickly b/c L4/L5 was showing DDD and bulge.
    - My age...fairly young 40 something. Hoping to buy time.

    My thoughts now?
    - I know if I go down hill and pain levels increase, I will go for a fusion if that is my only option vs. 'live with it'. Why? Because I have numbness in the groin/perineum and don't want to risk nerve damage to bladdar/bowel nerves.

    NOTE: I don't have any facet joint issues, I don't have stenosis or other issues. I literally blew out the disc (annulus tear) and have DDD at other levels. My spine is otherwise stable (per the doctor) so I had less contributing factors in my decision.
  • I had spondy and bulging disc at L5/S1. The main reason for fusion was due to my disc space at L5/S1 was almost vertical instead of horizontal like it should be. I had a very extreme case of the bottom curvature of my spine.

    I had my surgery on 3/18/11. I had PLIF, 2 cages, rods & screws. The surgeon had a big mess of bone grit to clean up. He also had a hard time due to everything be really tight in the area.

    I am almost 10 weeks post-op and things are going good. I still have slight nerve pain in my left leg and back area. I still have muscle spasms occasionally. This is my last week for my brace. I am doing stretching exercises in PT. As for meds, I am finally down to Tramadol (ultram) now. I sometimes take Norco but not very often.

    All in all, things are going pretty good. My next appointment and x-rays will be June 22 to see if there is bone growth.

    Good luck everyone!
  • for your quick responses. For myself, when I started this back pain journey, I had an MRI which showed ddd and impingement at L5/S1 with L4/L5 starting to go. At that time a probable one level fusion was discussed. Where I live wait times are sooo slow, my symptoms increased and went for another MRI. This one showed the same as first, plus two more bulges, impingement both sides of L5 nerve root, facet problems at L3-S1 and stenosis.

    I go to see neuro next month, and am now trying to speculate whether it would still be a one level, or now 2 or three? I don't know if these other levels are decreasing due to the wait for the L5/S1 fusion or just "because".

    I agree with you Dnice,that don't want to do last resort if more conservative messures might help, but am worried how fast I seem to have deteriorated in past 8 months.For herniations I see that some have discetomy, while others go for fusion and wasn't sure if this was because of some having other issues as well...ie facet, stenosis.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Glad to see that you are doing well 10 weeks post op! You will be in my thoughts for continued pain reduction and solid fusion. I see that you had two cages, did you have a two level fusion then?

    All the best to you!

    gentle >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Hurt myself while lifting at work.
    X-rays and MRI showed l4l5/l5s1, herniation's.
    Did 5 months of all consertive treatments, along with 2nd and 3rd opinion's
    I had all the symptons back,leg pain and weakness,tingling,wet feeling in legs. Along with most other symptons.

    Work comp. then approved a 2 level TLIF fusion.
    Pre-surgical x-rays showed the l4l5/l5s1 disc's were completely gone, i was then bone on bone.

    10 months post-surgical CTscan shows a complete fusion at l4l5, but no signs of fusion at l5s1.
    June i will be 15 months post-surgical, and getting another CTscan. If l5s1 is still not showing a fusion NS will submit to work comp. for a revision surgery doing a ALIF, with a plate to stabilize my spine.

    Still having same pains i did pre-surgical.
    So now it wait and see!
  • He had stenosis and was told that he would be in a wheelchair within six months if he did not have surgery. Fusion was L4/5 and he has never looked back. He now does most of what he did before and he is a very active guy for 66. He has had no pain whatsoever since the incision healed and is on no medication.
  • Haven't heard too much about the hubby and how he's doing. This news sounds absolutely wonderful!!! Excellent, and Congrats for you and your hubby!!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I have had 3 fusions. The first was L4/L5 slipping causing numbness and weakness in R leg and R big toe. #2 was L1-L4 collapsing in on themselves, causing a bone spur to grow and press on nerve. #3 was L5 slipping forward and disc disintegrating. Same symptoms as first fusion. All fusions were successful. I also have other issues with my spine (stenois, spondy, etc) all due to an accident.


    Spinal stenosis, spondolysis, spondolythesis, L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion with instrumentation and bone graft from hip, L1/S1 fusion with replacement disc put in and a nice bolt from my spine to my pelvis; PT, accupuncture, prolotherapy, many cortisone injections, 4 rhizotomies. Currently on tramadol.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • I just had one level done at L5/S1. I had 2 cages put in that one disc space. He wanted it as stable as possible due to the severity of the angle of that space.

    My L4/L5 area is already starting to go but not bad enough to warrent a fusion yet. My L4/L5 is starting to bulge and I have mild bilateral foraminal stenosis. I predict my L4/L5 will need to be fused in the very near future.

  • I had a fall & landed back first onto a steel rail.It weakened the disc s1/L-5 & it ruptured 3 separate times over a two year period.For that 2 yrs i tried conservative rehab,but without permanent success.Surgeon advised fusion after disc ruptured for the third time.
    First fusion,didnt take,Revision fusion on the 20th Jan 2011
    Still have serious weakness & discomfort.Am on 40 mg of oxycontin,plus paracode 4 times a day,Gabapentim for muscle spasims.
    Have a CT scan in four weeks to confirm fusion has taken this time.
    I am very worried,as it dosen't feel any different really to the first experience which didnt fuse.
  • I was offered and tried conservative treatments first for about 5 years.

    Over the years I've had ruptured discs due to DDD (for which I had two microdiscectomies), osteoarthritis of the facet joints and foraminal stenosis.

    I've had numerous MRIs, normal x-rays, and lots of different diagnostic tests, my last one being a Discography (which confirmed which discs were generating pain, and therefore, how many levels the fusion would be).

    I had a 2-level Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion last July - the good thing about this is they take away the facet joints, smash them all up, get rid of the rubbish and then put it in the cages to promote natural bone growth - this means, I'm sure, that I don't have facet joint osteoarthritis any more, unless someone knows otherwise????).

    Today I had another diagnostic injection to the right SI joint and left screw head - which might be causing my ongoing back pain :/ who knows.

    I hope everything goes well for you.
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • Howdy Brenda, I hear ya on the not wanting to do surgery just yet, but weakness and pain prevail.Wishing you all the best in your journey. I believe it was you that spoke of your foot turning inward. My left foot is now doing this (sometime it catches when I walk)nerves again I believe.

    Jelly, I hope your other discs hold out and remain strong for you.

    Dnice,Hope that your spine remains strong and micro d works out for you.

    Blazer, Sorry that you are having pre surgical pain. You will be in my thoughts as you wait to see about revision.

    Beaver and Janiski, So happy for you that things are going well post surgery.

    Sheba and Babs,All the best in the future for your ongoing issues.

    Sue, Sure hope that they smash up my facets and get rid of them. One less thing to worry about. How did you feel after SI joint injection?

    Getting anxious for my appointment. Wanting to see exactly what they are going to do, and at how many levels. I am a planner, so want to know exactly what I am getting into.

    Here's to pain relief for all...another rainy day here today...oh joy.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Yes. I started limping like a year and a half ago, and the foot thing (noticed by co-workers first) started maybe 6 months later? It it more straight vs pointing in where as it is suppose to be pointed 'out' a little for normal. As was described to me, I tend to walk 'guarded' or 'stiff' or 'like I might fall down.'

    The limp isn't due to pain, but weakness of the left leg. That (the weakness) is the only thing that might tip the scale on whether I will convince my brain to have upper lumbar surgery - otherwise trying to hold off. The neck 'redo' and the L5/S1 are pretty much a no brainer for me sadly.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • L4-L5 is torn and herniated. I also have slight retrolithesis at L4 or L5(can't remember which). I've trie conservative treatment for 2 years and decided to do the surgery now before things get worse. So my 360 fusion is scheduled for July 25 :)
  • I had atlantoaxial facet osteoarthritis and bone spurs on my C1. I had my C1/C2 fused shortly after I finally got a diagnosis, which followed a year of never-ending headaches, muscle spasms in my neck, and overall agony.
    I am 7 weeks post-op and am thankful to be getting stronger every day, and for not having a headache since my surgery.
    Good luck!
    April 2011 C1-C2 Fusion (Brooks wiring)
    January 2012 C1-C2 Revision Fusion (Harms Technique)
    2010 - current: Trigger Point Injections, Epidural Injections, Bilateral C2-C3 Radiofrequency Ablations
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