Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Awaiting L4 L5 S1 PLIF fusion in UK on nhs.

mazza74mmazza74 Posts: 21
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi, my name is Marie.I am 36 and had emergency discectomy laminectomy at L4/L5 september 2010 for Cauda Equina Syndrome. Since then I have had further prolapse at L4/L5 and L5/S1 as both of these. Have degenerative disk disease. I also have foramina narrowing at L5/S1 which is permanently crushing the sciatic nerves.I live in the UK and the nhs were slow to diagnose Cauda Equina Syndrome despite lots of red flag signs. As a result I am left with nerve damage, pain in the back, hips, buttocks,hips, thighs, calves, heels, feet and toes. I am lucky I can just about walk albeit very slowly and with a stick, but I do have leg weakness, foot drop and paraesthesia of the feet. My whole world has been turned upside down. I also have a 2 year old daughter, and feel awful that I cannot do lots of activities with her that I would like to do. To make matters worse she was born 14 weeks premature weighing a tiny 1lb 14oz. She spent her first 3 months in the neonatal unit fighting for her life. Thankfully she is fit and healthy now. My neurosurgeon has put me on his NHS fusion waiting list. He has put me on his urgent list, but that is still about 30 people in front of me with regular cancellations due to medical emergencies. I have already gone down the route of nerve root block injections, physio, hydrotherapy to very limited succces and a recent discogram which confirmed that I would benefit from the fusion surgery. It is a two level PLIF I will be having, but due to previous surgery they will need to go in slightly off centre due to existing scar tissue. If any of you would care to share your experiences of PLIF 2 level L4 L5 + L5 S1 fusion I would love to hear from you. Also if anyone had this done on NHS how long did you have to wait for surgery and what was your recovery. Like? Thanks guys - this website is a life saver.


  • Hi Marie. I have had a PLIF fusion of L5S1 on the NHS 2 months ago. I had an MRI to diagnose the problem in July 2010, a discogram to confirm the diagnosis in December 2010 and saw the consultant who suggested a fusion in January 2011. I eventually had the fusion op at the end of July. I was told there was a 6 month waiting list which suited me as I had a 12 week window to recover in between playing violin for Scottish/Regency dancing.

    I was in hospital for 3 days and was walking a mile on the treadmill the day after I came out of hospital. I am now up to around 5 miles a day. I saw the physio a week after surgery and was given exercises to do 3 times a day. I was told I should bend and generally get the area as mobile as possible. The only restriction I have is on carrying more than a paint pot in weight. Although I found sitting difficult for the first few weeks that has now got better. I find if I do too much my right buttock and leg ache but I think that might be due to where the drain hole was and the muscles still being sore. I was only given paracetamol and diclofenac after I left hospital but I haven't really taken any painkillers for back pain since a couple of weeks after the operation.

    My problem was end stage degeneration of the disc and I was bone on bone - no nerve pain but the vertebrae moved and I had severe muscle spasms whenever I lay flat. I did walk 7 miles a day in the 6 months before the op to try and strengthen my legs and the physios reckoned this aided my recovery.

  • Thanks for your reply, its good to read a success story as theree are plenty of messages related fusions gone wrong. Have you been able to return to work?
  • Hi Marie. Although I don't go out to work, I do play in a dance band. At the moment I can only manage to play for about an hour at a time before I get aches down my right buttock and leg (I am a fiddle player). I need to be able to play for upwards of 4 hours at a time so I deliberately chose to delay the op slightly so I had 12 weeks to recover before our next gig. I'm hoping that I will be able to play ok for that. Generally I feel better than before the op - I can bend easier and I can actually sleep in a bed and lie down flat so for me the op has been a real success (so far!).

  • Hi Marie I had cauda equina in 2009 and again in 2010. I have since been awaiting a surgery date for further discectomies and cages inserting with bone grafts and rods and bolts. I have had 4 cancelled dates so far. Every day is a struggle and I am on cartloads of medication including morphine just to be able to drag myself around. I have two children and feel guilty for not being able to do things with them like I used to. I was hoping for surgery this year but that's highly unlikely now. Feeling low. Hope you get your surgery soon.
  • Guys and girls,

    I've said this many times and it does work.... If you have repeated cancellations or a huge wait for surgery, email or ring your MP and get them on the case. They like this kind of work because they know they can get results for you and it is excellent PR for them and their party. I did it after my third cancellation. My MP spoke directly with the hospital CEO and I had my op three days later.

    L5-S1 herniation. Both knee meniscus tear. L4-5 herniation - 2 x nerve block injections. L4-5 discectomy. L1-2 nerve block injection. L4-5 reherniation - TLIF fusion. 2016: L1-2 and L5-S1 retrolistheses and multiple facet joint degeneration.
  • Hi my G.P. wrote letters because I was so incapacitated and I had a disabled daughter and Grandson to care for. I also bombarded the hospital CEO publicly on twitter she asked me to PM her! My operation was cancelled twice due to people breaking their necks can't really argue with that! Even with all of the above I waited 10 months on the NHS finally having my fusion April 28th this year. I was in hospital 4 days I could have stayed longer. I was able to get myself snacks etc within a week. I did sleep a lot but to be expected after a 5 hour op. Unfortunately I still have very weak legs and my balance is very bad. I still get tired very quickly but I am 60 years old. I have been referred back to a neurologist to look for a further diagnosis. I no longer have pain which is wonderful. I am afraid you just have to keep being a nuisance contacting your M.P is a good idea. Unfortunately mine belongs to the party in power and is useless. Good Luck.
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.