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l5 s1 spinal fusion

mandimandimmandimandi Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi, Im new here but am in need of some advice to help make the proper choice for my back. Last year I herniated my L5-S1 and with that it spilled over to my branch of nerves on the left side. i had such severe sciatica and back pain i was unable to even walk. From first injury to surgery was 5 months. By the time I went in for surgery I was hunched over and couldn't walk for more the 2 minutes at a time. I under went surgery to repair the herniation and to clean up the area around my nerves in Aug 2010. I never felt as if I was getting better and about a month ago I had another mri done. To find out that I had re herniated the same disc. over the last nine months I have continued to be on pain meds, I have been a human pin cushion for my pain doc. With no relief. Today I seen my nuero surgeon and he gave me two options. to go through another laminectomy or to have a spinal fusion with a spacer. How ever he warns me that if I go with the first and reherniate again my only choice would be the spinal fusion with a spacer. I am 30 years old. I have 3 children. Before all this I was a very active person. but since and with the pain I have had a rough year. I just want to be somewhat normal again and beable to play with my children like I use to. Im at a cross roads as to which option I should choose. I read all these horror stories about other spinal fusions. But they can't all be bad? Right? Im just hoping that their is someone out there around my age that may have a simialar story and can offer me some advice and the pro and cons as to their own surgery. Thanks


  • Mandi,
    I am a male, 39 with kids too. I recently had a fusion. My L4 / L5 - L5 / S1, and I feel I made the right choice. I had chronic pain for years, and it was getting much worse. I almost lost my job as a result. I am 7 weeks post-op, but the pain has changed to operation pain, not the previous pain. That is how I know I made the right decision is the old pain seems to be lower, or in some cases gone.

    The thing about having microdiscectomy, or surgeries to remove disc material is they weaken the spine. I think that if they did not remove bone, you might have a chance at using non-surgical treatments to feel better. When they remove lamina or vertebrae material is when spine weakens the most. A fusion does make the spine less flexible, however it comes down to what is worse. Having unbearable nerve pain, or less flexibility made the choice clear to me.

    Just a little insight, because I fought that battle, of surgery, no surgery, etc...???

    Here was the bottom line for me: Did I try all non- surgical treatments like: PT, medications, stretching, injections, etc, etc. The answer was YES for me on all the non-surgical treatments.

    Finally having the final testing and the fusion I know I made the right choice because my Dr. found 2 ruptured discs that were leaking. No other treatments would have fixed this problem without the risk of multiple surgeries.

    I am NO DOCTOR, but I researched all the choices and options I had, turning down the disc repair because I was convinced I would need surgery after surgery, rather than doing one, a fusion.

    Good luck, and hang in there. Please feel free to IM me with more in depth questions and I will be happy to help. Thanks,
    Left foramina stenosis of L3/L4 (retrolisthesis)
    L2-ilaic revision fusion ( loose screws) with a laminectomy at L3 (cage at L3-L4)
    (PLIF) -@ L4/ L/5 - S1 (cage at L4/L5)
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