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hello, i am scheduled for a 360 degree two level fusion in few weeks

hi, my name is nessa and obviously i am new to these boards. i am a bit concerned because i have been ghost reading here for a few months and finally decided i needed to post as a newbie as i'm seeking information i've not yet found, but first a bit about myself.

i am a 52-year-old retired therapist. i have grown kids, a dog and a cat and a spouse. i have multiple issues with my back but suffice to say the biggest one is ​spondolosis involving three levels. before i became a pain patient i tried every kind of alternative medicine i could find. i have never had a back surgery as they scare the crap outta me. that said, yep i'm scared outta my mind about this upcoming surgery in august. i currently have a medtronic pain pump in upper buttock/hip area and that has worked very effectively for several years. i like how the pain meds in it bypass my brain and leave me feeling clear headed. that said, recent x-rays and mri has shown progressive degeneration beyond what anyone expected. i've almost a grade three spondolosis and absolutely no curve left in my back. so, i will be having anterior and posterior incisions, with cages put in the front with donated and synthetic bone packed into the cages, and then in the back incisions i will be having more packing of the donated bone matters and rods put in for either two or three levels. i guess that's to be determined at surgery.

i haven't read much on here from people who have had to have the 360 degree fusion that sounds similar to mine in that no one else has had a pain pump implanted at the time of surgery and been able to speak about their experience with pain management post surgery of the incisions and muscle pain being harder to treat (so says the surgeon) because of the high level of opiates in my pain pump. i guess i did not think about that because i do not feel the medication as it bypasses the brain and therefore i figured that would help me but nope. i also have the usual pain down the leg and across the buttock and OA. so if anyone can give me any hints on how they handled their fusions, be it a 360 degree or not i'd appreciate it. im also trying to figure out how much im to not twist, bend, etc. because my neurosurgeon does not use a brace after surgery. he stated that if a brace is used he believes a bigger surgery was needed. i am also curious if anyone has any ideas for dealing with the extra degree of long term isolation i will be dealing with. activities are really minimized for six months to a year depending on what the activity is. i'm already frustrated and bored after six years of chronic pain and the inability to plan anything and count on doing it. there is lots more to say but i have sat here as long as i can. i hope to hear from someone, anyone... peace and out: nessa



  • Hi and welcome to Spine Health.

    I do not have a pain pump but I have had a 360 fusion (2nd of 4 back surgeries - I am fused l1 to S1).

    I did not have a brace after surgery.

    I thought I would have problems finding a comfortable position with incisions on both sides but that was not the case. I was able to be on my back. I was standing the day after surgery and walking the next day. It wasn't easy at first. I was in the hospital 5 days and walked every day when I got home. I went back to work after 3 weeks (I was 58 and in good physical condition with a very strong core).

    I had a bone graft also. It was donor bone.

    Seven months later I had another fusion and the hardware was taken out and more put in. I can't say for sure how long the recovery was since I was still recovering when I had the next surgery. It took 3 years to totally recover and do things I did before surgery. I was very determined!!

    Before going in for surgery I made sure everything I regularly used was counter top level. I found a long handled shoe horn to be helpful. I wear clogs so that was easy but I would wear my running shoes when I went for walks so that made it easier to put them on.

    Elastic pants are a must. Forget about socks, they are overrated. So is shaving your legs. Paint your toenails before surgery.

    I also had and still have a reacher for getting things that are on the floor that I can't bend over to get. I had a plastic stool in my tub/shower and had a safety bar installed.

    Let me know if you have any more questions. The surgery solved the problems I was having - pain, numbness, weakness. My spine started collapsing in on itself so I had the 2nd surgery. Everything was caused by being knocked unconscious by a snowboarder.

    Good luck and keep me 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.
  • yay: a reply so quickly and straight up on topic. i am 52 and not in great health core muscle wise because extensive pain began to limit my mobility, and i liiike to be outside. my injuries came about from an attack. i've never had a back surgery before, which i guess stuns my neurosurgeon. all of your suggestions are helpful; some i had already thought of but there are some i hadn't, so thanks :) one of the things i'm curous about is without the brace, how much were you able to turn? half an inch? any? and do you know at what stage i might have the ability to ride a recumbant bike? i used to be an avid rider but that was lost a long time ago, but i dig riding my recumbant outside in the back yard. i walk with a cane now and have been told i will require a walker for a bit. i was going to avoid a shower seat this time around, but after hearing u suggest it will go ahead and do it. did your spine start collapsing in on itself because of the first surgery? would you mind sharing the name of that diagnosis with me? i have bone on bone S1 to L5. L5 and L4 have a wee bit short of grade 3 spondolosis. i have no curve left in my back. i haven't been able to work for about four years and i still miss it. i worked as a child therapist with infants to late stage adolescents who had survived violent crime. my neurosurgeon has a 98% success rate with the procedures i am having done but i am still feeling afraid of this surgery. part is became the surgeon told me straight out that we who have pain pumps installed are harder to treat for after surgery pain. even though the meds bypass my brain, there are still heavy opiates in my body and he is clear that dose though considered light by the pain specialist given my conditions, is clearly an issue to the neuro. i guess they have a vascular surgeon in the operating room, and an on-call pain specialist in case my pain pump needs is in need of repair or replacement during surgery. they want to keep it in for up to two years to slowly see if my pain is gone or diminished enough to remove it. i guess the concern is the length of time i've lived with my current level of nerve pain and need to find out if it goes away right away, or bits of it does, or not at all. i do hope first for stabilization of my spine; then increased mobility, and pain being what is is now, or less. were you afraid before this surgery? how much help did you need, or do you feel would be or would have been helpful. recovery from your second surgery was lengthy! how did you keep yourself motivated and as you said "determined" and after your second surgery how long were you in the hospital and was the pain etc the same? how long did it take your back to finally fuse? are you able to bend over now? when could you fly in a plane (ohsu dr says six months short flights/year for long ones), no mopping, sweeping, vac. for six months. yay :) but ya know, i'm pretty independent... i laughed at the elastic pants (got a bunch of comfy travel pants that will work great, i were clogs or similar as well, minus socks. shaving legs is overrated anyway :) and i laughed re toenails as i have that listed too. you said you were determined, jani, would you describe what you mean please? i'm a bit concerned about my core muscles being so weak and the numbness and pain i have limit my walking right now. pain is pretty intense and i try for half a mile five times a week walking my dog. my dr said no walking my dog whose eighty lbs after the surgery till fusion takes place, grrr. what kind of PTherapy did you have and when did it start? the number of days you were in the hospital--was that the amount planned from the beginning? my dr. started with three nights, and wow that seems fast to me, but maybe it isn't? what's your opinion? thanks for all your help, and i would like to stay in touch. are you back to work after the last surgery?

    keep in touch,
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