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Level of pain or lifestyle to justify lumbar fusion?

Dear All,

I am writing as I would like the honest opinions of those that have undergone lower lumbar fusion to see if its worth it. I am 32, I was scheduled for a microdiscectomy but ended up having a laminectomy almost 5 years ago. It was not successful, there were surgical complications including a surgical error which resulted in damage to my left leg S1 nerve which resulted in major calf atrophy and I can not go on tip-toes on left foot.

I like many of you suffer with back pain, but my question is what level of pain or lifestyle is considered normal to justify a fusion?

It seems like i have forgotten what pain free is but I am honestly unsure about getting a lumbar fusion. I have over the last 2 years been to doctors and specialists and found a surgeon I feel comfortable with. He has suggested a fusion at L6-S1 (L6 is not a typo, i have an extra disc / vertebra). The thing is, I read through these boards and it almost sounds like every fusion ends in disaster with little or nothing show for it and most are worse off for having it done.

On my worse pain days I wonder what its like for those that live this daily to get any enjoyment from life, I realise there are those that suffer far greater than I do and my heart goes out to them. In my situation I am really just trying to gauge if surgery can bring about a degree of improvement in my life based on the experiences of what others that have been through it. I will say why i am apprehensive about undergoing the surgery.

I manage without taking painkillers everyday, I live a very sedentary lifestyle and through hot baths and ice packs, I can manage most days. I rarely take medication, usually panadol couple times a week as voltarol destroyed my stomach. Recently I have been taking Carisoprodol. Tramadol and Lyrica if I have a bad bad night to get some relief. The pain comes and goes in waves. Symptons shift from leg to leg, its hard to gauge in the left leg as the offending nerve is damaged so pain manifests itself in some kind of bizarre electrical shocks. In the right leg from time to time sciatica along the S1, weird slight burning sensations in feet at night, over the past 6 months a constant back ache (not debilitating but I am going to get very medical here) the disc rupture liquid is leaking into the vertebra and the vertebra has started to go soft. The Dr. said there is instability but not clinical instability. Eitherway looks like at some point in my life I will need the surgery or something similar.

So if your were in my position ( I realise this is hard to answer if your symptoms are far worse) with a level of pain that is manageable through a limited sedentary lifestyle, when necessary medication, the looming prospect of pssible surgery anyway would you do the surgery now or wait till the last possible moment?

Has anyone has a fusion that has improved their lives or are they just to many problems associated with the operation, equipment inserted, screws etc etc to make this worthwhile?

Any experiences or guidance welcome ;-)





  • brvsfan99bbrvsfan99 Posts: 113
    edited 09/24/2012 - 1:46 AM
    Hi Jurgen. I am 31 and have a grade 1 spondy with a bilateral Pars Defect at L5/S1 and some other issues at the same level. I have tingling/numbness, pain, and weakness in my legs. I have opted to have the surgery, ALIF with screws/laminectomy, for a number of reasons (I don't have a date yet, waiting on insurance approval).

    1. The neurological symptoms are getting progressive worse including the weakness and numbness
    2. I'm tired of the instability causing the pain
    3. The disk between L5/S1 is so compressed that I am almost bone on bone at that level
    4. I'm starting to have issues at L3/L4
    5. 2 doctors, 2 PT's, and a chiropractor have said that I need it

    In your case, with your fluid leaking and making your vertebrae soft, that cannot be a good thing. If it gets too soft does it break, dissolve, collapse? That's probably a question you should find the answer to by asking your surgeon. The last thing you want is for your spine to collapse (if that's possible?) or to develop more issues later.

    Ultimately the decision is yours and you need to determine if your quality of life has been impacted. I know there is no guarantee that my pain I'll go away but I will have a more stable spine which, at least in my mind, should help.

    Let us know what you decide. There are many people here that can offer support and experiences, both good and bad.

    Single level L5/S1 360 fusion with 6 screws and a rod (10/29/12)
    Diagnosis: Grade 1-2 spondylolithesis, Pars Defect, L5/S1 disc tear anterior and posterior, DDD, spinal stenosis
  • BkinsBBkins Posts: 364
    edited 09/24/2012 - 3:16 AM
    After having a few fusions and knowing what I do now I would most likely chose to wait until a nerve was clearly being damaged before I would ever have another. It is the last stop on a chain of back surgery's that can be done. In my opinion a fusion starts a chain reaction of damage to other areas of the spine ie: levels up and down. You just don't know if your going to end up better or worse. Lots and lots of people on both sides of that coin. Everybody has a different pain tolerance so that comes into play also. Fusions are done to stabilize the spine at that one or 2 levels that are being shored up.

    Wish you luck on your decision and a pain free night and day.
  • mkim680mmkim680 Posts: 19
    edited 09/25/2012 - 2:44 AM
    I previously had a l5-s1 microdisectomy in 2005 which fixed one problem but contributed to the degeneration of my discs and facet joint. I am only 32 and at this point I have to make a decision whether to get a fusion. I have been on many consultations and the doctors all say the same thing. They all say, "You can live with this or operate." It's a lifestyle choice for me at this point.

    One doctor I visited yesterday, was great. If I were going to have surgery it would be this neurosurgeon. I've done a lot of research and for my condition I would prefer to have a MIS TLIF as open to open ALIF, TLIF, OR PLIF. I have been recommended all of these. I like the fact that MIS causes minimal disruption to the muscles preventing further trauma than necessary. Also, I am not in pain all the time. My pain is there but only gets exacerbated by exercising, sitting too long, wearing improper shoes, or standing. My NS asked me yesterday, does your condition interfere with work, family, with what you love to do, and overall mood? He told me these are great questions to ask yourself if you are contemplating surgery and it's not imminently needed.

    The problem with my disc is that there is an annular tear which effects my left leg when flared up. I am considering surgery to be able to be active again. The only drawback is that the surgeon I visited told me that people in my category of spinal issues have a 75%-80% of getting better due to the previous surgery done and changes that have already taken place in my spine.

  • I had a lumbar fusion 3 months ago. i had already had 2 microdisectomies/ laminectomies in the same spot. i've had problems with that disc for over 2.5 years now. i was putting off the fiusion for a year or more now. had several opinions from docs. most said it was up to me when i did it. what finally pushed me over the edge was a flar up of pain in my lower back that lasted for 2.5 months. i couldn't live like that daily, and finally decided the surgery had to be better than what i was dealing with. at least it wasn't going to be any worse. now at 3 months post-op, i'm starting ot see the light at the end of the tunnel. my low back pain has decreased dramatically in the last week. (doesn't hurt that i was finally allowed to take anti-inflammatory meds again a week ago, and a brand new bed) but whatever it working, it is working. my sciatica is still there, but i have confirmed nerve damage, so i expect that to hang around. but to not feel the aching lower back 24/7 is such a relief.

    you will know when its time to go through with the surgery. when you just can't take another day living with the chronic pain you will know it is time. if you're still not sure, you're not ready for it.
    Microdisectomy / hemi-laminectomy 6/2010 and revision 10/2010
    Cervical fusion C4-5 and C5-6 9/2011
    Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 6/2012
  • I hate to tell you the negative side of it, but i'm with Bkins on this one. I had a 4 level L2-S1 360 fusion with hardware. It was a very lengthy surgery and healing. There is a transferring effect on other vertebre taking the load from the joints you have fused. One year after my lumbar surgery 2010 I needed my left si joint fused then 2011 needed the right si joint fused. I still have a lot of pain, more than before my first surgery. That's my outcome. Others have better results. Fusing does not fix your back, it is done to hopefully have less pain than before the fusion. I would wait until the very end to have a fusion. I could have waited or lived with my back, and would not have gone through with it if i could turn back time.. The best to you and keep us posted, Kevin
  • natannnnatann Posts: 66
    edited 09/25/2012 - 5:36 PM
    I'm 36 and had my first surgery at 25. I've always known I'd need a fusion (2 level). Up untill know I have been able to put it off.
    I go to the dr next week to get mine scheduled.
    The way I gauged it was:
    The daily pain pills are no longer controlling the pain.
    Leg pain and weekness is progressing which is causing further damage.
    I'm no longer able to do my Pilates and am having a hard time sleeping.
    Hope that helps!
    99/00 L4/5 & L5/S1 herniation
    2001 L5/S1 microdisectomy age 25
    severe DDD at surgery level
    2011 pars
    2012 RFA L/3/4/5
    7-02-13 L4/5 l5/S1 360 fusion ALIF PLIF
    DX spondylitis , DDD, scoliosis, and slight kyphosis
  • mky_frkmmky_frk Posts: 51
    edited 09/25/2012 - 5:50 PM
    Hi, I wanted to let you know that I have had 2 back surgeries, both fusions... the first one on 4/9/09 I had L4/S1 fused and it was what I would consider a success. I felt SO much better afterwards and almost immediately had relief. I did manage to get almost 3 good years out of it... with only taking an occasional ibuprofen for pain. However, like it says I have had 2 fusions... The last one that was done 9/6/12 I had L3/L4 added to the fusion and the hardware was taken out and replaced from the previous surgery and it was/is anything BUT success. I didn't have any complications in the hospital from the surgery itself, but here we are 3 weeks out and I can't do ANYTHING! My husband has to help shower me, sometimes help dress me, and I can't do anything without hurting. I can't even stand for even 5 minutes without being in a lot of pain. I actually am going in to the hospital tomorrow for a CT scan and a MRI... and am not looking forward to it at all! I can't lay in bed with out like 5 pillows plus my ice machine, I can't imagine laying on the hard tables without moving!! I do hope that if you do decide to go with the fusion you research EVERYTHING you can and follow ALL the rules! It is a major surgery. I found out AFTER my last surgery that I have 2 more bulging discs that the surgeon says are not surgical at this point plus the one he took out. I am 34... So I am right there with you on age. Just be careful!!

    I wish you the best and keep us all posted on what you decide to do.
    PM me anytime.
    Good luck!
    2 more bulging discs; spinal stenosis; osteoarthritis; reverse lordosis at L3; degenerative disc disease; inflammatory joint disease; nerve root cysts at T1-T3; 2 level PLIF 4/9/09 and 3 level PLIF 9/6/12 with hardware both times
  • RickilalasRRickilalas Posts: 559
    edited 09/25/2012 - 9:39 PM
    Hi Jergen
    Sorry man I just wrote a very long post with a lot of information when I had to make the choice to fuse or not and lost it when I tried to save it
    So because its late and meds are kicking in I will just say I waited to long to do it leaving me with permenate nerve damage. I know on line there are many post against surgery because of bad turn outs but we hardly hear from the ones that go very well. I have had a cervacal fusion then lumbar fusion then a cervical laminectomy and then some nerve roots and hard ware taken out in the lumbar fusionand last was a SCS surgery. I would do each of them again if I had to and would not change what I have had done except done it sooner.

    For you my talk with the doctor would be what happens if we wait and also is this doctor better then the first one you had. The surgeon can make a major difference in the outcome skill is important.
    Personally I would stay away from the new less invasive types right now. In 2006 I was offered a lumbar disc replacement which I am so glad I passed on as its been a problem for those that tested it

    Good Luck. And I will take PMs from anyone
  • EmilyEEmily Posts: 112
    edited 09/26/2012 - 12:57 AM
    Lots of good advice up above.

    From my own experience (I did have clinical instability) I can only agree that you should have the surgery if the operation will fix the muscle weakness you have (beyond what good Physio can) and the pain is unbearable and unmanageable with medication that also allows you to function. I would also strongly recommend getting an opinion from a Spinal surgeon.

    I certainly have never heard of disc material softening the vertebra. I'm assuming it's the way they're explaining endplate inflammation to you, which is not necessarily the same thing.

    So, after 3 operations in 2 years, I'm okay. I will tell you that the core strengthening (Pilates- taught by a Spinal Physio) helps a LOT with residual pain, as does loads of walking. Sitting is never good for back issues, so if you can move and get supervised exercises, that would be a good step!
  • I'm in the same boat as Rick above. I waited so long to have my fusion surgery (PLIF L4-S1) that I ended up with permanent nerve damage to the nerves. My back is stable now and I have very little back pain but I do have a Spinal Cord Stimulator for the nerve pain in my legs. The remaining discs in my back are bulging or herniated but have yet to be symptomatic with the exception of the level just above my fusion. I would do it all again but sooner.

    Out of curiosity, wouldn't fusing L6 to S1 kind of make your back look more like a traditional back by removing the extra disc?

  • I have been struggling with this question mightily since I saw a surgeon who recommended a PLIF/ALIF combo to fix my spondy, DDD, stenosis and a pinched nerve, at at L5/S1.

    For better or worse, I have zero pain. The main problem is that the squeezed nerve is causing some weakness, numbness and tingling. I react very well to the cortisone epidurals, but they produce really dreadful side effects. I am scared about the instability, and that if I don't do something soon I will have permanent nerve damage.

    Three other doctors have told me not to do it. I know I am lucky that I'm not in pain and I'm pretty functional, but I cannot imagine living a life where I have to give up all the things I love, like going for long walks, hiking, riding a bike, being athletic.

    Sorry to steal the OP's thunder, but this stuff has been weighing on my mind really heavily the last few weeks. :/
  • If you have no serious pain no way in hell i would consider surgery simply over the worry of what if i get nerve damage,
    I am prety sure before you ever get nerve damage you will feel pain for a while, Probably even a long while,
    Most cant walk before they even consider surgery, Thats probably why 3 dr,s telling you dont get it as they know the risk is high and 1 surgery can criple a person for life,

    When alternative measures of life style and treatments are still working you stick with it rather then tossing yourself under the buss risking giving up a fearly good life, All it took was 1 surgery for me and surgery itself caused nerve damage and there is no going back in my case,

    I was sold on the clinical trial flexicore artificial disc back in 2004 to be put in my l4l5 thinking my life will improve and life became a living hell from that day on, I managed my life much beter before surgery and assumed maybe worth a shot geting beter when looking back those days were still great compaired to last 8 years of endless injections and pain killers,

    If 3 dr,s agreed on surgery not just 1 then thats diferent, But untill they all agree you need it keep running and dont turn back ! The thought of surgery might just pass like a fart in the wind ! And on that case run against the wind not with !


    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
    edited 09/28/2012 - 10:34 AM
    Hi I am just hitting the 1 year mark from my l4/l5 fusion.I am a 37 yr old slightly overweight female(if that helps about my recovery) I had it done after I herniated a disc and was having leg numbness. I was originally told I would just need the lamicetomy however once I saw the NS he told me he would recommend the fusion. I have to say I am glad I did it. The beginning few months after surgery were hell. I couldn't do anything(shower, wipe myself), little things you don't think of. The pain was so much worse than before the surgery and worse than I ever imagined. Then I would also get horrible back spasms which would bring me to tears. I thought death would be easier I swear for the first few months. I used a walker and began walking immediately per my surgeon. The beginning I was lucky to make it to the bathroom. By 8 weeks I was walking 1-2 miles(while crying from pain) but I did it. I had the surgery in Sept and flew to Disney in March, so I would say by 6 mths I felt good. I do now have to have the screws removed as they can sometimes cause tissue and muscle irritation and pain, and yup thats what I have now I guess. But honestly I am happy I did the surgery. I pray I don't need any more fusions as I don't know if I could do it again!! Good luck and something my NS said to me was you probably won't find alot of positive surgery outcomes on the website as if people healed well they aren't posting anymore. I have to say it made sense as I was posting all the time before and after the surgery, however just logged back on now to look up the hardware removal. Otherwise I don't think I would be on as I feel mine was a success!
  • KevculesKKevcules Posts: 89
    edited 10/02/2012 - 7:26 AM
    Well, these are very good stories of can and did happen. Surgery is a scary thing. I'm almost 3 months post lumbar fusion and still in more pain than before surgery. I can function well but with sciatic nerve pain. I can control it pretty well with gabapentin and tylenol so it's not that severe and should get better.
    I was a skeptic after surgey , as said above, while in a lot of pain,I also thought hard about going to heaven , but I'm still here , PAIN SUCKS!
    If you can't function in life , then consider surgery because it's not always a bad outcome. You have to remind yourself when you come here, people here are the ones who had issues, there are thousands who live life better now, i know some.
    Hopefully I'll be there soon and I wish you the very best on your decison !!

    Different degrees of back pain since 1994
    Cortisone shots Jan/09
    Discectomy and lamenectomy April/09
    L5 - S1 spinal fusion July.13th/12
  • LA_runner_chickLLA_runner_chick Posts: 91
    edited 10/02/2012 - 10:10 AM
    No disrespect to anyone intended, but opening up questions about "at what point do the benefits outweigh the risks" to this forum is bound to get skewed answers. The people who have grappled with the question themselves, opted for surgery and then had a successful outcome aren't hanging out here -- they're out living their lives, making up for lost time!

    Just through regular life, I have run into some people who were really happy with their surgeries: in a pilates class, I met a young woman who'd had her L5/S1 disc removed and a friend of a friend had an X-stop procedure done for stenosis at the same level. Neither one is 100% "whole", but they are both glad they decided to have their surgery.

    Unfort., we all know doctors can be bastards and the medical complex often seems more profit-centered than patient-centered. But I can't believe these surgeries would continue to exist if no one was getting anything out of them, or if they harmed more people than they helped.
  • coastirishccoastirish Posts: 19
    edited 10/12/2012 - 10:11 AM
    Great thread here. I'm 46 and in the same situation, except that I've already decided (mostly) to have the fusion (combo ALIF at L5/S1, with posterior screws). Surgery is scheduled for November 7. Even though I've already gone through the decision process, I still have days when I have doubts. Usually those are "good days" when the pain is manageable.

    One thing I can never seem to settle on is the level of pain. Living with chronic pain for over a year, I don't remember life without it. At this point, I am not able to work, and have limited mobility. I can still walk and get around, but too much of anything always ends with me glued to my heating pad. I'm taking oxycodone daily now; and sometimes it works, sometimes not so much. When it's bad, I am reminded why I decided to go through with the fusion; but when it's under control, I start wondering if I'm crazy to go through with it.

    Then I get on this site and troll through posts looking for people who've had it done already. I do think there are more horror stories on here than successes, but I agree with a couple of you that the successes probably aren't posting anymore. After all, I wasn't on this site until recently, and as much as I'd like to think I'll be on here after I recover and return to "normal" living, I don't know. I'll most likely be back at work full-time, going to my kids' games and concerts, etc.\

    Do any of you ever feel like you've no idea how bad the pain really is? It's such a personal and biased thing. What's bad for me might be totally livable for someone else. Who knows? I get ticked when someone who has never been in this position claims to have a high tolerance to pain, thereby explaining why they haven't "given in" like I have. How do they know? There are days when I'm just lying there, crying, as well as days when I'm thinking that I can live with it and wonder if I'm just being a baby about it. It messes with my mind.

    Okay, don't venting. Deciding whether to have fusion is a big deal and very personal. Good luck, Jurgen! Keep us posted on what you decide and how it goes (unless you're too busy getting back to active living! ;)

  • In my learning experience of the last year dealing with almost 24/7 back pain and trying all the conservative measures, I'm in the same worrisome, day in and day out thought of when I should have my l5-s1 TLIF.
    Matter of fact I'm heading out this weekend, out of state to get my second opinion. I don't expect to hear a diffeent opinion on the procedure I would need for spondylolyisis, with foraminal stenosis, it's more of I'm interested to see if this doctor is who I reallllllllly, realllllllly would want to open my back up.

    I have read soooooooooooooo many posts on this site and others, mostly bad, some good results, and it can't be said enough. People that had successful outcomes are generally not hanging out on pain forums. I also want to chime in what LA runner chick said above, and I think this is really really a good source to go to. I guarantee anybody over 40, knows someone, that's a relative, a friend, a friend of a friend, co worker, etc, that has had some type of back work done, and if you can get their stories too.

    In my case, I'm worried sick that if I have this done, I'll be disabled, permanently from restrictions and or pain, and I don't want to quit working at 41 years old. I've talked to 3 coworkers that have had back surgeries. Two were microdisectomy's and laminectomy's, and they are back doing the same job at work they use to do before hand. Yes they are a little different now, they said their a little stiffer back there and try to limit some of the excessive bending, twisting motion but otherwise, live regular lives.
    Now I know a microd and lami is not the same as a fusion, so I also asked these same coworkers about that. They also mentioned one of our coworkers that works for the same co. in automotive maintenance had a fusion, and he's still an auto mechanic. That made me feel a little better that people are out there, back to living their lives, and no they are not on this board posting, they are working, fishing, eating, drinking, golfing, playing, sleeping, living. They may not be 100 percent symptom free but if they are doing all the above without narcotics, that's pretty darn good.
    I have learned so much in the last year on chronic back pain and I think that's all part of the process of helping to decide if/when to have back surgery.

    LA_runner_chick said:
    No disrespect to anyone intended, but opening up questions about "at what point do the benefits outweigh the risks" to this forum is bound to get skewed answers. The people who have grappled with the question themselves, opted for surgery and then had a successful outcome aren't hanging out here -- they're out living their lives, making up for lost time!

    Just through regular life, I have run into some people who were really happy with their surgeries: in a pilates class, I met a young woman who'd had her L5/S1 disc removed and a friend of a friend had an X-stop procedure done for stenosis at the same level. Neither one is 100% "whole", but they are both glad they decided to have their surgery.

    Unfort., we all know doctors can be bastards and the medical complex often seems more profit-centered than patient-centered. But I can't believe these surgeries would continue to exist if no one was getting anything out of them, or if they harmed more people than they helped.
  • dbarbeau48ddbarbeau48 Posts: 318
    edited 10/13/2012 - 5:36 AM
    I've been here over 4 years now and consider myself to be a good outcome. I can honestly say that when I do post my story I get little or no response. I am usually the last poster in a thread. You can read my back story below in my signature line. So, you ask why am I still here if I am a success story and usually ignored? The answer is simple. I am here to help someone, anyone. I have come so far, from wheelchair to walker to cane to walking 4 to 5 miles a day. I play golf on a regular basis and play well, better than before my fusion. I still have pain but it is pain I can live with.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • Thanks, Dick, for hanging around and letting people know of your success. It is quite helpful to hear from those of us who have gone through with surgical treatment and consider their stories successful. You probably don't hear much after your posts because people feel good about another success, and just rest in that a while. I know that's often true for me.

  • I also like the fact that some of the "success" stories stick around, it gives us a good feeling that it may happen to us too!
    I my case I had suffered with a ruptured disc at L-5 S-1 for many years and was getting overwhelmed with pain trying do my job. It wasn't heavy lifting or pushing , mostly standing still and on my feet for 12 hrs. That's all and I couldn't do it any more. I could walk forever with no issues. The actual "day before" my surgery I was golfing and swinging very hard with no issues. It didn't bother me a bit, but I couldn't do the basic things like talk to someone while standing still for more than 10 minutes. I figured I had no choice but "try" to get better. I'm 3 months post fusion and can finally see the light!
    Everyone has to make their own decisions....Good luck in whatever you decide....

    Different degrees of back pain since 1994
    Cortisone shots Jan/09
    Discectomy and lamenectomy April/09
    L5 - S1 spinal fusion July.13th/12
  • PostACDFPPostACDF Posts: 23
    edited 10/14/2012 - 4:22 PM
    If your dr tells you that surgery might help restore your function, prevent further damage etc, and you dont think you can continue with the pain, limitation, going to work, and other responsibilities, time to think about it. Ask to speak in person with the patients that had same surgery done by your dr. to get an idea where they started and where they are after surgery.
  • poodlemama99ppoodlemama99 Posts: 44
    edited 07/22/2014 - 7:23 AM
    I think many fusion failures are due to lack of knowledge given to the patient regarding recovery and not enough emphasis on physical therapy for recovery. You need to be aware of and accept that you will never be as good as you were before your back went bad. That being said you can certainly be greatly improved from fusion.
    4 level posterolateral fusion L2-S1 with rods and screws and cadaver bone. Spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, sciatica, DDD, facet disease and arthritis. September 2002
  • Looking down the barrel of an L4-L5, L5-S1 progressive fusion. Adult Stem Cell marrow to stimulate the natural fusion. Traditional laminectomy only reherniated. Pain is every day, all day all night, numbness down the leg, nerve damage seems inevitable, unless I adjust my life to "slug" status. I know it is risky, but my quality of life has suffered tremendously, If I do actually do something physical, the price is laying on the sofa for a week, doing nothing but work and lay on the sofa. The way I see it, either way I risk being disabled. We have the technology, and I have one of the best Neurosurgeons in Arizona, I can't help but think "what do I have to lose". Anyone who has had the surgery and can enlighten me further, it would be greatly appreciated!
    Toni in Phoenix
    L4-L5-S1 Anterior Fusion Apr 4 2015
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