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Questions for newly dx'ed father

Hello all. New here, and writing on behalf of my father. He is 65 years old and has had back issues for a while. A few years ago he had surgery on his spine; I think it was due to spinal stenosis. Recently he's received spinal injections which provide relief only very temporarily. He has also recently started wearing a leg brace on one leg because of pain while walking. Last week he saw a new specialist who has diagnosed him with DDD. He was told that he basically has 2 options - surgical placement of a rod in/thru his spine, or pain medication until the time comes when he is wheelchair-bound. He has multiple health issues (including narcolepsy, cataplexy, low platelet count, pacemaker for nerve issue, hypoglycemia, anemia, etc.) which add to the concern over choosing surgery, particularly the low platelet count; however, he is leaning toward the rod. His doctor told him to talk to his family and come up with a list of questions. That's why I'm here. I would like any input all of you may have regarding spinal rods - what are potential complications, what are newer alternatives, if there is some reason this should not even be considered, etc. Anything that may be even remotely relevant so that I can help him make an informed decision. Thank you.


  • send you the list of questions that I asked my surgeon. I will PM you with them when I get to my home computer. Hopefully they will help or at least get you started on your own list of questions.

    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
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