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L5-S1 spinal fusion

alyssachataalyssachat Posts: 11
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:55 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
When i turned sixteen i started to realize that i was having numbness and pain through out both my legs. My mom took me to the doctors and after 2 years we finally fiqured out what was wrong. I had a herniated disc at L5. They said i would have to have surgery that summer it was bad. I was eighteen. I had the surgery in July 2011. While in surgery my doctor realized that my disc didnt not look right she said i MIGHT have to have a spinal fusion in a few years. I was sent home the same day and was feeling better. A couple days later my pain started to come back but stronger. In August i started my senior year and could hardly do anything the whole year. After about 8 months i was very annoyed with it i was 19 by this time and i couldnt go out like my friends did and i could barley stand up for more then 5 mintues. I started talking to my doctor again and I had to get more MRI's and she told me that i had DDD and this was the youngest case she had seen. My mom and i had decided to get another doctors look. I went to another doctor and he said i should try steroid injections first. I tried them for 3 months and felt no relivie what so ever. Then we realized surgery was the last option. I just want to hear about people's success with fusions? My surgery went well. I still have the pain. Im wear a brace and a little machine to stimulate my bone growth. I hate being 19 years old and not being able to do ANYTHING i have no idea what caused me to have this problem it is something i have to deal with everyday


  • Hi!

    I am 24 and had a Cervical fusion in June. My neck is doing much better and feels great. Unfortunately my mid back is hurting a lot, and I will be getting an mri on friday.

    I often wondered what caused my problems.. I am healthy, in good shape, rarely drink, don't smoke, don't do illegal drugs. Who knows! Just luck I guess!

    I understand how it is to not be able to do things like a normal young person!

    You have found a great website with lots of supportive people. Feel free to message any time.

    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • It stinks to have luck with this!
    You get surgery to fix it and then something else hurts! lol doesnt make sense to me
    thanks it means alot

    how long have you had the pain for and was it the same through out ?
  • Hi, I had L5/S1 fused in march. It was my 3rd fusion. I am fused from L1 to S1. All of my fusions were successful and I was eventually able to return to somewhat normal activities. A lot of walking at first. I was a competitive swimmer and was allowed back in the pool once the incision healed. Swimming is great for the back. I eventually was able to ride my bike. I worked hard to get back to these activities and still work daily on core and stretching. I am a ski instructor and can still teach altho I did take a leave of absence after the first 2 fusions. Be patient and follow your doctors instructions. Go to PT is that is an option. Its a long slow recovery but the results are worth it.

    Some people have no problems with other vertebrae around the fusion and others do due to lack of movement and putting extra pressure above or below the fusion.

    Good luck on your recovery and let us know how you are doing.

    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.
  • thants amazing and gives me hope that ill be able to leave a normal life and yes i will be doing pt in about 2 more months
  • I had my fusion in may 2011. I still have bad pain in my back my legs have tingling and the sciatic pain hasn't stopped. I'm scheduled for a ct scan on Tuesday.my calfskin down to my feet are killing me. Is this normal
  • Hi,

    I still have back discomfort but none of the symptoms I had before the fusions such as weakness and tingling. I am glad you are having a CT scan to see what is going on. Let us know.

    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.
  • Hi,
    I'm 28 years old and following a MRI scan I was diagnosed with DDD, spondylolisthesis and a bi-lateral pars fracture. After suffering for a long time I have finally had Transforaminal lumbar Interbody fusion sugery in August this year. Basically the surgeon has removed the damaged disc, placed bone fragments in it's place and screwed the whole thing together with 4 screw and 2 metal rods while the vertebrae fuse together.
    I am in the Royal Air Force and I was extremely fit and active playing rugby and loads of other sports. I am determined to get back to doing the things I use to enjoy doing. I am 19 days post op now and feeling really good.
    I went throughout nearly a year of intensive rehab and Physio with the military docs trying to resolve my pain conservatively, however in the end it was obvious surgery was necessary.
    I know what it is like to be in constant pain - Ive lived on morphine for the past 6 months but only 19 days after surgery I'm already starting to come off all my meds. It really sucks being so young and yet so restricted, but use your youth and your health to your advantage and it will assist it a great recovery if you go ahead with the fusion. I am not going to give up. I was up walking around only 2 days after the op and I haven't stopped. I'm determined to be better and stronger than ever.
    Stay positive and don't give up.
  • Congratulations on your successful surgery. It is a long recovery and there will be days you think you will never get better but you do!! It also helps to have been very active before. I have had 3 fusions, fused L1-S1 and I have been able to return to riding my bike and swimming. It took a long time to get back to my bike but the swimming I could do as soon as the incision healed. I walked a lot even tho I hated it. You learn to like something when it all you can do. Keep up the core strengthening when you get the ok too and don't give up on being able to do things. You will be able to!! Good luck and keep us posted.

    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.
  • Its almost been 4 months since my surgery and i have to say im not having alot of leg pain anymore. About 3 weeks ago i accidently feel and was in tons of pain for 3 days. My doctor took an xray and said everything looked fine, she also wanted me to get an mri. Today i had the mri and i should start physical therphy in about a week. I know i should want to go to thearphy but after doing it for my 5th time around im not to excited to start especially how my back already feels
  • I am about 10 months out doing pretty good, I didnt start to feel human again until 6 months, stick with it, it is a bear of an operation to recover from.

    Once the bone heals up all your muscle patterns can be shot from all the pain, so you've got to sort all that out as well, espescially if you were in a bad way preop and who isnt. Takes plenty of time depending on how messed up you are.
  • hi, im also only 19. My ddd is at 2 levels in my thoracic spine though. which is pretty uncommon due to the fact that that is the most stable part of the spine and is not used like the cervical and lumbar regions. i suffer all day, everyday. Every dr. i go see tells me that because of the location of the issue, surgery is almost not even an option. i have literally tried EVERYTHING with absolutely no relief. so i cannot relate to the topic of low back fussions, but i CAN relate in the fact that im 19 too. and feel like im about 95.
  • I am now an 18 year old female. I had surgery April 8,2008 and May 8,2009 I had a fusion of my L5 and S1. I was very active then and I still am today. My sugery was very sucessful and I live a normal life with minor aces and pains even though I have a 10 in scar, screws, and little nerve pain I dont let it stop me. I am back to cheerleading(College) and better than ever I cant even imagine the thought of not having the surgery and living with the pain. I reccommend Dr. edit He is currently in Kansas city he is the best orthopedic doctor!

    Post edited to remove name of medical professional. by Authority Member Liz
  • Katie i def feel the same way you feel even though i did find someone to do my surgery it took a while stay positive though.

    Kristie i love reading peoples post that have positive things to say. Its so hard trying to stay positive when you feel so broken and hurting so much. It gives me hope to pull through with my theraphy and everything else they tell me to do
  • Hey guys,
    Right.... initially after L5/S1 fusion in August I was feeling really positive and doing relatively well, however things seem to have turned for the worse. I am now 3 months post op and in a pretty bad way with pain in my left side. It feels almost like it is coming from inside my hip area or the sacroiliac joint. Is this normal and part of the recovery process or should I start to worry. I'm concerned that I should be further down the road to recovery by now.
    I would appreciate any advice from people that have had a fusion on the recovery process and whether I should be doing better than I currently am?
    Many thanks
  • Hi Martyn,

    I had L5/S1 fused in march. I had a tougher recovery than my other fusions due to ligaments being stretched as they put in a spacer as my disc wasn't good enough to leave in. I am now having SI joint problems on both sides, common after multiple fusions (I am fused L1-S1). I had cortisone injections in the SI joints which offered some relief and verified that it was the SI joint giving me the pain.

    Talk to your surgeon or pain management doctor about possible SI joint dysfunction. Good luck.

    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.
  • Hi Martyn. I had an L5 S1 spinal fusion at the end of July. I have had no real problems and now only experience a bit of pain if I overdo things. Any ache is on the right buttock going down my right leg but I wonder if this is from where the drain hole site was.
    Otherwise the op has completely cured the mechanical problems I was having. I haven't had to take painkillers since 2 weeks after the op.

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