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Fusion of L5-S1 when having SI joint problems

Ok, where do i start. 'All metal' already knows my situation and what my intentions are. To those who don't , I have DDD between L5-S1. It has been suggested that i have fusion but have decided on laser surgery. The reason being i have S I joint pain ( don't overdo the Don Tigny exercises) and am concerned that fusion of this region will exacerbate the SI joint problem. is there anyone here who has undergone fusion of L5-S1 whilst also having SI joint problems and did it make it worse or better ?

Thanks for any thoughts, Ade


  • AllMetalAAllMetal Posts: 1,189
    edited 03/08/2013 - 2:22 PM
    Were you not able to find anyone with details about the gelstix? Are you still planning to schedule a surgery in the next couple of months? I'm posting here so I'll be able to read any other thoughts people might add.

    I also want to add that the screws you see that are into my pelvis, those were placed there to stablize my lumbar as well as to protect the SI Joints. I have not had issues with my SI Joints, but this was an added bonus or "protection". They don't bother me, I wouldn't know they were there really if I hadn't been told... perhaps this is something you could ask your consultant about...
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • Intention is still to go with gelstix if this is an option. Unfortunately, i won't know this until 18th April when i have my first consultation (first available date). It was suggested by the consultant as an option by email based on the information i have supplied him but he won't know whether I can have it until he sees the xrays etc. In the meantime i am still dwelling on it; what are options if I can't have the gelstix, would fusion make matters worse......that sort of thing.

  • The "dwelling" period is one of the worst periods. Clearly you have lots to think about and I hope your surgeon can give you some good information in April, that sure is a long time to wait. Fusion is a tough call. I hope you have a great consultant that you can trust and will give you the best advice. Just be sure to take your list of questions (such as how would a fusion affect your SI Joints) with you and keep us updated. Hopefully some others on this forum can contribute some information as well.
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
  • Had my consultation. Actually decided to speak with two harley street experts who work independently. One was a physician who does not perform surgery but looks at what is required to mend back conservatively. The other is a forward thinking cutting edge surgeon who works with minimally invasive techniques including the use of 'gelstix' to pump up the degen disc. To summarise....both gave virtually the same diagnosis which gives me confidence in their advice. Both exclaimed that I DO NOT need fusion of L5-S1. There is degeneration at this and the level above but no where near to the degree I was originally led to believe. The physician has offered lumbar epidural followed by expert physiotherapy by a back specialist. The surgeon has offered laser treatment to free up the area where there is clearly nerve irritation followed by 'gelstix' at two levels. The gelstix also act to neutralise the high pH associated with DDD which impacts on reparation and the claim is that they can reduce the rate of degeneration. They last up to 5 yrs before thye would need to be replaced. Who knows, In five yrs we could be using stem cell therapy. Anyway, good new for me. The moral of the story is 'don't take the advice of one person as gospel and if you can get away without fusing right now there is a revolution in treatments coming our way that could give us a much healthier future. Good luck all. Incidentally, I am going with epidural and physio with the expectation that i will need the surgery once the epidural wears off.
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