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doc says i need a 3 level fusion at age 25 need advice!!

perkins2006pperkins2006 Posts: 7
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am a 25 year young woman. I went to my dr yesterday and he told me I have a back of a 60 year old!..and I need a 3 level fusion s1-l5 l4-l5 l4-l3...I am absolutely terrified I have herd so many bad things about having this done. even the doc says it a 50/50 chance it will work! WHAT!? that extensive of a surgery? those odds scare me to death... I told the doc NO way! then he tells me make your next appt and when you get tired of the pain give me a call.....but the ODDS!! and all I have herd is horror stories none of the good..today as I wake up I hurt so bad I can hardly walk :( stupid stress.. I would love any feed back or any success stories with the 3 level fusion..



  • Hi

    I am 51 and now almost a year after my redo of a one level fusion. I am doing well and know I will NEVER be as I was before the first surgery. If I had any choice (and looking back now) I probably did, I would not have had the operation.

    What I should have done is to consult with a non surgical specialist before the first surgery, absolutely exhausted any and all alternative treatments and then waited till I absolutely needed the operation. The rheumatologist I see now says that he does refer some people for surgery and only if he is convinced it will help. He thinks that's less than one in ten.

    My second surgeon did a brilliant job in fixing the mess in my back, but I can't help wondering if I would have been no worse had I never had the first surgery.

    At your age, you owe it to yourself to get at least a second and possible a third opinion before committing to a course of treatment which is irreversible and for me at least, was very, very tough to recover from.
  • What is the over all condition for the reason of 3 level fusion? Is the posibility there where it can get beter with alternative treatments is what you have to ask yourself,

    Surgery is always risky so you realy have to use up all alternative options before jumping to fusion,

    Get other opinions from diferent specialists who might have a less invasive way to go about recovery without such invasive surgery as fusion of any kind,

    At least your dr is honest about the surgery having 50/50 chance of surgery helping not to mention that leaves 50% chance it can be much worse also after surgery,

    Spine beter be real unstable for persons having fusion and it beter be realy needed and not have any other options because some of us are in a hell of a lot more pain then we were before our surgery,

    I was told i had 80% chance geting beter with artificial disc replacement which now i know was a lie and ended up with multiple surgeries after the 1 st one without any good results,

    Best of luck,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • well my three lowest discs have herniated which cause nerve pain down my legs and in groin...I do have pain all the time and it most defiantly effects my way of life.....today I went to my pcp and I asked for a referral to a different doc or pain management center. I have been to a pain center before and had the steroid epidural inj which did not do good but make me awful sick. but I have never had any real pain meds the other doctor I had said I was to young to take narcotics because I would get addicted soooo s stupid...so I am hoping to try some meds for the massive nerve pain all through out my body I believe I have fibro so I am hoping for a diagnoses of some kind in that department........
    my only fear about getting the surgery is that I it will cause more problems then if I just tried other approaches...

  • Get a second opinion. If you back is that bad, the added stress to L2-L3 will require more surgery most likely withing 5 years of your original surgery (quote from my Dr.).

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • natalie-
    although i am a little older than you, I understand where you are coming from. I also had a 3 level fusion. i had it done at age of 40. it was my third surgery in a year and a half.had 2 diskectomies/laminectomies prior to the fusion. I can tell you this, after recovery from the surgery, which was about 3 months, I felt the best I had felt since the age of 25. I didn't realize what I was missing until I lived without the agony.

    Unfortunately, I am having more problems now, but my mentality now is I am ok for future surgery because I enjoyed my time of feeling great and want that back. not all outcomes are bad. for the past 15 months i was able to do things i hadn't done in years thanks to the fusion.

    you have to be comfortable doing the surgery and confident in your surgeon, but know there are positive outcomes. i came home from the hospital on tylenol and my PT had to make me take pain meds before therapy otherwise I wouldn't have needed pain meds.

    Good luck!
  • I complete agree with you on that...the exact same thing happened to my dad who is three surgeries deep and in a wheelchair cause the first doc did a shi**y job ...so i need more options to see if I can find a new way of treating... I am a medical asst and work for a Internal Medicine doctor so I am also going to ask her to look over my images and get her opinion as well.
  • If injections did not help then its hard to say what disc is actualy causing the pain,
    You can have herniated disc at many levels as many people do and sometimes they never have it pushing on a nerve,

    Or it could be only 1 of the disc causing issue, Fusing all 3 with just the dr speculating on the outcome could be a bad idea,

    Not to mention even removing just part of the disc touching the nerve is less invasive and many do ok with that surgery,

    But the best surgery is no surgery if posible, All alternative treatments should be used up to take pressure off the disc or the discs to see if it may naturaly correct itself if posible, Traction, water thearapy and being that young you might get lucky,

    But it can take a long time but worth it if it pays off in the long run,

    Best of luck to ya,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
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