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L4 L5 S1 Fusion???

Hi All
New to this forum, I had a back injury 8 years ago ( work related) so this is work comp,had 2 or 3 MRI and the Doctor at that time choise to medicate not operate,and here it is 8 plus years later with more poblems, now otheritize has set in and I have knife stabbing pain all the time. Current doctor wanted me to have shop in spine (which I did) to see if this would help.(helped for about two days, now I have severe cramps at night in my bad leg. My qoestion is !!

Should I have the L4 L5 S1 fusion that the doctor said would fix / or help the problem?? (million dollor question)

I'm taking vicodin and lyrica for the pain which is not working anymore .

I,m 66 years old and still work full time and have never lost a days work over this injury
I'm pretty healthy otherwise and want to get this fixed before I retire, does any of this make scence to you-all
or is it just me rambling on LOL

hurting for 8 plus years now.!!

I will try to answer any questions anybody has !
My spell checker is broken also!!


  • I like you suffered and kept working and my surgeon had me try every other option. I did the shots,pt,chyropractor ect with no relief. I am 59 and my dr said if I don't have this surgery now , I will be crippled as I get older.I had L4L5S1 ON MARCH 13TH AND IT WAS A TOUGH SURGERY but its getting better everyday. He said 98% recovery. Im happy I did the surgery. I was cut front and back but it all healed great. Oh I didn't tell you , I clean houses for a living. He said my back will be stronger than ever. I cant wait to get back to work.Good luck with what ever you deside. Welcome to this site ,read everything and you will find your answer. This site got me through everything.People here know your pain and understand. good luck kathy
    Kathy B
  • LizLiz Posts: 8,086
    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
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    dilauro , tamtam or liz

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • bmbutlerbbmbutler Posts: 90
    edited 05/03/2013 - 8:10 AM
    I am having a disk decompression and L4,L5 and S1 fusion in July. Mine will be done from the back and not both sides.

    It is really a decision you have to make for yourself. This forum will give you lots of information, but everyone has to do what is right for them.
  • AllMetalAAllMetal Posts: 1,189
    edited 05/03/2013 - 4:29 PM
    Sounds like you need to find a spine specialist (most likely a orthopedic surgeon that does only spines, but possible neurosurgeon). You need to explain about your time line for retiring, and how that could affect insurance, etc. I personally have always found it beneficial to not just discuss history/present with my doctor but to also discuss in detail the future (not in terms of recovery, future in terms of you life). He will be able to help you determine if and when the surgery would need to occur...Best of luck to you.
    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.
  • wmauctionswwmauctions Posts: 24
    edited 05/04/2013 - 2:38 AM
    Thank you all for the replys
    I started out with a neurosurgeon 8 yrars ago whrn the injury first happened,my case being a New York State Work Comp case which is like talking to the moon and getting nowhare fast, I'm now going to a orthopedic surgeon which does work comp cases,very good doctor. I have had that heart to heart talk with the doctor, I understand what his side of the story is and he understands mine. very honest talk we had. But I'm now to the point that I can't stay in bed more than two or three hours each night, I get the very intenst (extreme) cramps in my weak leg and I'm up the rest of the night. during the day its not to bad but when I'm not active it realy gets me.. LOL I've rambled on enough for now.......LOL
    my next appointment is 5/31/2013 to descide if the shot helped (NOT)

  • What type of shot did you have? (I'm assuming that's what you meant to type and not "shop"). I know that ESIs work best in a series, usually 3... so most people don't see a big difference until after the third one. Something to ask your doctor about, if you are hesitant to do the surgery right now, you could ask his thoughts on having the additional two shots.
    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.
  • Yes spell checker still broken LOL

    the SHOT was Cortisone
  • Ask his thoughts about you completing a series of these cortisone shots. It may or may no be appropriate for you. I did a series and it gave me enough relief to make it from Fall till the summer before having surgery. Wasn't a permanent fix, but did help. Some people though do see some more permanent affects.
    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.
  • The shot helped for three days and I;m back to the knife stabbing pain again
    profile of the doctor I'm seeing

  • AllMetalAAllMetal Posts: 1,189
    edited 05/04/2013 - 5:50 AM
    The very short relief from shot number 1.... that seems pretty standard experience for people on these forums... that's why if you are iffy about surgery, or about surgery right now, I'd certainly ask about the possibility of the series. My second shot gave me NO RELIEF so I almost canceled my 3rd, but the 3rd got me several more months and I was able to finish the school year (I was a teacher)... Again, the series might not be appropriate for you, only your surgeon can say for sure.. but its definitely a conservative treatment option.
    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.
  • inchwormiinchworm Posts: 719
    edited 05/04/2013 - 12:43 PM
    I, too, had a lumbar injury (at age 25) but I didn't have insurance at the time and so I didn't seek medical care--I knew enough to recognize that I'd herniated a disc, at best. When the acute pain/disability from the injury subsided, I forged ahead with my life. For the next 32 years I hardly had a good night's sleep--awoke early every morning with a backache and had various other problems during the day. Finally saw an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in spine and discovered that over the years I'd developed degenerative scoliosis (curvature). After trying injections, Lyrica, PT, etc, none of which helped, he thought a 2-level fusion (L4-S1--as you are considering--would help me. I went forward with the fusion two and a half years ago and it was the BEST thing I could have done for my back! Adjacent disc disease (where the discs above/below the fusion go bad) was a remote possibility for me and is something you need to consider before having surgery, but I would have done it even if he said it was likely to happen to me. In reality, it has happened for me but I won't got into that here.

    I hope this helps you in making your decision. :)

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • I am also having a two level fusion in July, glad to hear yours was successful.
  • I think I have alrerady made my decision. Must move forward.......! and get this fixed
  • wmauctionswwmauctions Posts: 24
    edited 05/08/2013 - 2:51 AM
    After having a severs cramp in my right leg last night I had a period that I was sweating and very Hot ? only lasted about 10 minuites and went away. I've had this before but never connected this to my back problem?? also noticed my right foot has what looks like broken blood vesales , looks like black or blue streakes on the side and top of my foot???
    very interestiong!
  • I am so sorry to hear you are going through such a rough time and you have been going through it for 8 years- I am 25 and am 7 days post-op L5/S1 fusion after suffering for 3 years. I also tried ALL non-surgical treatments and as AllMetal said the cortisone injections gave some relief but not long lasting. I found a neurosurgeon that works at one of the best hospitals around here for a second opinion after seeing an orthopedic simply because it was my nerves we were messing with here and not just bones. My surgeon put it like this- if this pain and lack of mobility (pain when walking, inability to squat, straighten leg, etc) is ruining your quality of life in your eyes, then you need to get this surgery. That hit home for me, as I am young and I was worried about getting the surgery but knew it was the best thing for me as I've lived in the pain for too long. Sounds like you may have the same mindset- living with this pain for too long. What won me over was the success rate that the surgeon gave me and his ability to do it all minimally invasive. Find a surgeon that you are comfortable with and ask all of the questions you need answered in order to make a great decision. There are TONs of places on this forum that tell you what types of questions to ask, and also gives you some feedback from others in the same boat. Keep us updated- and good luck on doing what is best for you!
    Olivia Douglass
    MIS TLIF L5/S1 on 5/1/13
  • Yes (is ruining your quality of life in your eyes) has been for 8 years LOL I'm at that point I can no longer work full time,I'm going to have the surgery one way the other..
  • ex-gymnasteex-gymnast Posts: 111
    edited 05/09/2013 - 1:05 PM
    The sweating and hot flash is likely from the cortisone shot. I get them terribly after the injections. Not sure about the blue foot thing... the hot flashes suck though!
    Severe DDD in S1-T12. 5 disc herniations. 5 compression fractures. Had a 2 level lumbar fusion/decompression on June 12, 2013. L4-5 foraminotomy on Jan 8, 2014, Right SI fusion in Oct 2014. Scheduled for L4-5 fusion to existing fusion on Sept 28, 2015
  • Shari514SShari514 Posts: 120
    edited 05/09/2013 - 2:01 PM
    It is a million dollar question and you're the only one who can answer it. I'm 2 weeks, 2 days post L4, L5 fusion and I'm glad I did it, I felt that I had to go for it. I'm only 51, I've always been healthy, with lots of fun interesting stuff to do and my quality of life was just so reduced due to constant pain and the almost daily use of narcotics. The recovery has been rough, no two ways about it. I don't remember much of the 1st week, including the 4 days in the hospital, but it's now a slow, steady daily improvement. I'm still having some pain, still taking about 4 Percocet a day, but my pain seems different, it feels more like surgical pain and not what I was feeling before. I considered my research on what was wrong with me and how/who to fix it a job and I'm feeling like I chose the best guy in Atlanta and I think I have a good fix. Good luck on your research and in making your decision.
    Lumbar laminectomy L-4/L-5, 2006
    XLIF with posterior pedicle screws L-4/L-5, 4-23-2013
  • Emergency visit to doctor , Once again another MRI ordered now have to wait for work comp to approve!
  • Praying and hoping you all get the answers to your pain and treatment plan, ASAP!! :( I know how it feels to just wait and wait and wait..... :(
    Olivia Douglass
    MIS TLIF L5/S1 on 5/1/13
  • Sorry you are so miserable. Hang in there. Hopefully Worker's Comp hurry and rule in your favor.
    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.
  • I have learned over the past 8 years the only way to deal with Work Comp is with a Work Comp attorney, they work wonders getting around work comp.I have to go to court twice and the judge has ruled in my favor both times saysing that work comp has to give me MRI and treatments.
  • so does that mean you can move on and get mri.I hope so !!!!Good luck keep us posted kathy
    Kathy B
  • wmauctionswwmauctions Posts: 24
    edited 05/22/2013 - 1:07 AM
    Finley got the OK for ther second MRI, just waiting for the appointment date...!!
  • AllMetalAAllMetal Posts: 1,189
    edited 05/22/2013 - 2:48 PM
    That's good news wmauctions! Let us know what the treatment plan is once you have one worked out.
    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.
  • Hope all is well, did you get a treatment plan?
    Olivia Douglass
    MIS TLIF L5/S1 on 5/1/13
  • wmauctionswwmauctions Posts: 24
    edited 06/07/2013 - 4:35 AM
    Finley the second MRI is in my hands and on the way to doctor this afternoon, I cant wait to see the outcome, hopefully its going to good for me.

    no treatment plan yet should now this afternoon!

    Also scared Shi..ess
    for what the doctor is going to say!!

  • Glad you have your appointment this afternoon. I always finding having to wait over a weekend is horrible. Good luck!
    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.
  • Glad you have an appointment this afternoon- keep us updated!! I agree with AllMetal- it stinks to wait over the weekend especially when you've been waiting for so long!
    Olivia Douglass
    MIS TLIF L5/S1 on 5/1/13
  • I understand your pain and frustration. I too am a workers comp patient since Jan. 2010. It can be a pain dealing with them. I did not get an attorney. I was able to finally get surgery approval after appealing things on my own. The Industrial commission said BWC is like all other insurance companies. They deny things because they can. But I went through 3 years of their approvals and denials. They will do the least expensive treatments first. Make sure your doc requests as many diagnosis codes as possible that relate to your injury examples include bulging discs, protruding discs, herniated discs, Good luck to you. :)
    injury 12/29/09. L2 henamgioma L3-S1 desiccation protrusion narrowing, L5-S1 nerve rood displaces, L4-5 annular tear DDD L5-S1. surgery 4/24/12
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