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Bucks spinal fusion of a L5 pars defect - Recovery advice

martynbowdenmmartynbowden Posts: 19
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi everyone,
I have been suffering with extreme back pain for some time. After being diagnosed with grade 1 spondylolisthesis with foraminal narrowing of the L5 roots following an MRI scan, additional scans provided evidence of a bi-lateral pars defect. A pars block injection provided minimal relief but no permanent relief. I have now been referred for a Bucks fusion operation in August, where I have been told that 2 screws will be inserted across the 2 fractures along with small fragments of bone to fuse the defective pars interarticularis.
I am keen to hear from anyone who has experienced anything similar. Any information on the recovery time and how you feel after the operation will be useful. My wife is concerned about how much I will be able to do for myself post op and I am keen to know how long it will take before I can get back to physical activity.
Many thanks everyone.


  • I, too, have been diagnosed with pars defects. Luckily mine don't seem to be very symptomatic at the moment. I do have disc issues, however, which are likely related to the fractures.

    But anyways, when I first found out I had fractures in one of my vertebra I was really scared. I did a ton of reading about it and different treatments. I can't find it right now, but I recall finding a forum in which two folks were talking about a procedure like the one you described. Take it for what it is. A guy on the internet talking about what two other guys on the internet said, none of whom are doctors.

    One of the folks was a father of a 15-17 year old girl. I don't remember the exact age. It took her about a year to fully recover, but at the end of the year she was playing soccer pain free!

    There was also a British guy in his late 20's talking about recovering from the same procedure. He was progressing, but there was no final report on the forum.

    I really wish I could find you the link, but can't pull it up right now. It's out there somewhere, so maybe you'll find it if you scour Google.

    Hope that helps, and best of luck!
  • Hey,
    Thanks for the advice - I'm just hoping I have the same success as the young girl. I'm worried if my recovery is too long I may get medically discharged from the airforce.
  • I'd hate to see them turn their backs on you in your time of need. It's a shame you have to worry about that. I'd love to hear how your recovery goes. Hopefully it never comes to it, but if my pars defects become more symptomatic it'd be nice to know how the surgical route turns out for another active guy.
  • I will make sure I keep you posted.
    I am being treated at the Queens University Hospital in Nottingham where I have been reliable informed they have the best surgeons for this type of treatment.
    I do hope you remain asymptomatic as its not much fun being in pain. I'm currently on morphine, nortriptyline, tamazepam, dihydrocodeine and fentanyl patches and the pain still manages to effect me. Sleeping is virtually impossible!
    The important thing for me will be the length of recovery following the spinal fusion operation, this will ultimately determine whether I will be able to remain on active service in the airforce. I was hoping someone might be able to give me some idea of the recovery period. I may be able to benefit from the world class military rehabilitation facilities at Healey Court, which I hope will make a difference to other peoples normal recovery.
  • Hi Marty!

    I've got Pars Defects too, and mine are also symptomatic as well. As you can see in my siggy, I'm in a world of hurt at the moment. Had another Epi this morning and hope that I can put off my surgery till January. But, my spondy is unstable and moves around in flex/ext a bit, making it questionable if I can/should wait till then.

    Please let us know how you're doing and give an update if you're able!

    Good luck, hon!
  • I would hope that your surgeon has some experience with this procedure in the past. Has the doc not gone over the expected or "usual" recovery experience with you? That would certainly be one of my questions.

    One of my mistakes going in to surgery was getting my hopes up for a quick, complete recovery because I'm young and in good shape. Turns out there are many other factors involved, and nerves are finicky little guys.

    Best of luck to you. I hope you're back on your feet in no time.
  • Hi,
    Thanks for the replies to my post, I thought I was bad but your injuries sound awful. I know how much pain inam feeling so I can completely sympathise with you. I am surviving on constant doses of liquid morphine to get me through the day. My surgery is scheduled for 10th August and If I'm honest I can't wait as anything must be better than the state I'm in now. Luckily I'm in the military and I am being looked after well. I have had extensive physio, pilates and hydro treatment and my core is as strong as it can be, unfortunately this doesn't prevent my pain. All my meds are paid for and I've been told there should be a place a the world famous military rehabilitation unit at Headley Court so if anyone is going to recover it should be me.
    How are you coping? Surely you can't work? How are you surviving?
    I will keep you updated on my progress and please do the same.
    Best wishes
  • Hi,
    I had a direct pars repair with a bone graft taken from my left hip done on 7/14/2011 due to my Spondololysis on my left side at L5.

    To be honest, recovery was harder then i thought it would be, but as the days go by I feel myself getting stronger and stronger.

    I just saw my orthopedic surgeon for my 6wk post op visit, so far he said all looks good. He told me I can now start driving and easy bending/lifting/twisting and i start back to my 'desk' job part time (for the first few wks) on 9/19.

    The most pain I have now is from where they took the bone graft, the pain in my actual back has really lessoned since surgery & would highly recommend having the procedure, once you get past the first few initial 'recovery' weeks, its amazing to feel almost 'normal' again, after over 2yrs of constant pain after a bad fall, I feel great.

    Best of Luck!!!
  • Hello,
    Three weeks ago I had an operation to try to fix the pars defect im my back. They did this by taking a bone graft from my hip and used two screws and a hook to repair the break. About three weeks later I am starting to gradually feel better but still find myself in pain. I'm wondering how all of your recoveries have went now that its been a couple of years since you guys made these posts. I'm only eighteen and find myself worrying that I will always have back pain for the rest of my life. Before I got surgery I had to wear a very uncomfortable back brace for seven months and after the seven months was up my back had failed to heal and I still felt a great amount of pain. After these seven months my doctor told me I needed surgery if I wanted to fix the pars defect. I am hoping for a complete recovery and hope to be able to work out and do the things I love pain free sometime within the next year. Please comment with how you guys are doing now and if you are still experiencing any pain.
  • parsdefectmumpparsdefectmum Posts: 2
    edited 02/26/2014 - 7:59 PM
    My 18 yr old son had a direct repair to L4, just before xmas 2013. He had been in pain since he was 15. After 1 week he needed no pain relief but was a bit sore till about the 4 week mark. Today at eight weeks post surgery he has no pain at all. He is in his brace till the end of March. He walks around 1 to 2 Ks a day. This surgery was done at the xxxx in Melbourne.

    Post edited to remove name of specific hospital. by Liz The Spine-Health Moderator Team.. Please read the Forum rules
  • Hiya,

    I had a L4 Pars Repair done a few days before thanksgiving in November (2013), I will be at the 4 month mark at the end of this month. I also had Pedical screws, hooks, and bone grafts. To be honest, it has been a really really long road for me. Not an easy recovery. I'm able to walk around most of the day. I'm on the stationary bike and doing my physical therapy diligently. Sometimes I also wonder if I am ever going to get back to it all. Still a surprising amount of pain for the timeframe I've been in.

  • bowncebbownce AustraliaPosts: 3
    can you tell me the name/type of procedure performed, my son has a the same problem Bi-Pars frac of the L5, no slippage, no disc problem and no deformity, we see the surgeon on the 25th and we are looking for solutions. 

    I'm favouring the bucks procedure due to its high success rate and return to sports within a short time frame. 
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