Anterior lumbar interbody fusion with posterior l4/l5, l5/s1, fusion, foraminotmies
Sounds like a monster of an operation and decision. Here is my story. Let me know if my facts / wha tthe doc told me, are way too optimistic
I had my apt with a Neuro Surgeon today.
He looked through my MRI’s then went back and re-checked them.
Here is what he told me:
My discs are screwed, I prob have some bone on bone grinding. It is degenerative. I can quit squatting / working out, but it isn’t going to get better. At best I can slow down the degeneration, but my disc looks herniated, and shot. It will go through times it is less or more of a problem, but in time will just keep getting worse. My back can go out walking, sitting, or driving a car. Which is pretty much my experience in the past. He recommends an Anterior lumbar interbody fusion with posterior l4/l5, l5/s1, fusion, foraminotmies. Basically they use metal pins to hold 3 vertebrae in place, opening up the spaces the nerves come out of. This replaced the 2 bad discs. This is done on the back of the spine, and on the front. The front involves thoracic surgery, where they go in through my stomach area, I guess.
• This is a permanent solution. That are will never give me problems again.
• 1% chance of something bad happening, like infection, blood clot, etc…
• He thinks I’ll eventually need it, whether I do it now, or wait.
• The surgery is serious, done under general anesthesia, and would have me in the hospital for 3 or so days. Full recovery can take up to 6 weeks. I’d prob lose a week of work.
I like the guy, but wish I had more time with him. As always you think of questions after the fact. The big question is,
** if I wait to do the surgery, and my vertebrae around those discs keep getting damaged, and my sciatic keeps getting damaged, am I taking a big risk? ***
The other doctor told me I risk permanent nerve damage, weakness in my left leg.
So they are booking an apt for me for end of march. I’ll give them a yes or no by mid march. My plan is to start working out, and see what happens with my back. Then either keep apt and get surgery then, or cancel and wait until it gets as bad as it was a few months ago.
I know if I was still in the state I was in Aug / September, before the injections (3 + 2), this would be a no brainer.
I equate this to a car problem. The car has something wrong with XXXXX. It is rattling, but you can keep driving it. Eventually you will have to pay $$$ to fix it. But you are holding out as it is still drivable. Will this waiting make repair worse in future? Can you live with it, or will it break down? Or is the $$$ the same in a year as it is now, and you just delay payment at the cost of driving a broken car for a year?
Reasons to do surgery:
- I’ll prob lose a week of more of work do to back problems over the next year. (this one balances out with not to do reason)
- I currently have good health insurance, and the future… who knows I could get layed off, or ??
- Work right now is really easy. This is an ideal time as far as work.
- Eventually I will need it. The cumalitive pain, and problems caused by my back will eventually outweigh the pain and recovery time of surgery.
Reasons not to:
- 1% chance of complications
- Lose a week of more of work. (this one balances out with todo: reason)
- Metal in my body stops me from getting MRI’s, Alarms can go off at the airport?, etc…
- Pain, and recovery time.
As I stated before, these estimates and figures may be crazy optomistic given what I've read on here. I'm 40 years old. A hardcore bodybuilder. Reading peoples stories, I feel my symptoms are so minor. Or maybe I just do a good job of ignoring pain and working through it. I dunno. I haven't used anaethesia in years for dental work. And I go into work at time when I can't even straighten my back, and barely walk.
Gymnastics, Martial arts, then 24 years of bodybuilding catch up... 1 ruptured disc, one bulging.