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Headed for 2nd fusion

Hi everyone! I thought I'd intro myself. I had a wiltse type fusion (no hardware) in 1984 for a 14mm spondylolisthesis L5-S1. I was 14. The fusion worked and I have lived a very active life, involved in sports, particularly snow skiing, running, and hiking. Fast forward almost 30 years later and now L4 is slipping. I had an MRI 2 years ago, and they recommended fusion. I have a torn disc and 2 large cysts at L4-L5 which are impinging the left 5th nerve root and severe degeneration in the facet joints, which are now grinding bone on bone. I also had mild disc bulging with moderate right and mild left hypertrophy L3-L4. At the time, I wasn't mentally ready to do another fusion. So I've tried managing pain with PT, cortisone injections, and pain meds. I have just kept procrastinating surgery. Last week, I suddenly had enough. I'm sick to death of living in pain. I've slowly been giving up more and more of the things I love, particularly skiing and hiking. I keep attempting hikes (I live close to Yosemite NP) and keep having to turn back :( Anyway, I impulsively emailed my back dr requesting an apt to discuss surgery. I saw him yesterday and we are planning on fusing L4-L5 the 3rd week of June. He wants me to have another MRI and then go straight to his office to go over it. My xrays yesterday showed further slippage of L4 since my last xrays and he wants to see what L3-L4 is doing on MRI before he books the OR at Stanford. We're waiting for insurance pre-authorization.

Anyway, I'm nervous to do this again, but I feel confident in my decision. I just want to get it over with now.

I'm looking forward to getting to know you as I go through this :)
L5-S1 fused in 1984 no hardware for a 1.4 cm grade 2 slip - fusion FAILED
6-20-13 fused L4-L5-S1 with hardware


  • Hi I have just had my facet joint injections done for the forth time trying to put off surgery for as long as I can at L4/L5 L5/S1,so I do understand some what of what your going through. I had 3 surgerys already C3 to C7 , I am sorry to hear what youn are going through but you hve come to the right place, I am sure some body will be able to share there experance with you. Goodluck and I hope every thing goes well.
  • that you have done exceptionally well and been very fortunate if i am reading your post correctly .you have gone 30 years on a fusion and lived a good active life ?? that's a good ..no very good result !!.i wish you well with your new surgery and i hope that you get another 30m years out of it ..let me tell you my little story ..i have had 3 operations on my spine over the last 17 years .the last was ALIF at L4/5/S1 in the last year i have been totally house bound and i have had to give up everything due to intractable pain .before that from the second operation i have been in a world of pain steadily getting worse .i am only 47 and i have many things i would love to do and carry on doing ..my spine has cost me my fist marriage my job as an electrician and my social life .i am now on a massive amount of oxycontin and still in pain ..my life is hell .just make sure that you get a consultant as good as your first one to do your operation ..good luck ..please don't end up like me
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • I just had ALIFL4L5S1 on march 13th and I was doing good but now im having pain down my left side.Im seeing the dr tomorrow.You have come to the right place.We are all very supportive of each other.I am looking forward to listening to your story stay strong kathy
    Kathy B
  • Hi. I also had a fusion of the dame disks as yourself...mine was done May 3rd following an attempt to fix the problem with a diskectomy. Anyway,now you are having pain down left side...I am also. Havev been since surgery...I am also swollen from my foot up to either right before or after kneecap. Do you have any swelling ? ?My doctor says he has seen the nerve pain hang on awhile, but the swelling makes no sense to him...was wondering whether you have swelling issue and what your doctor suggested...mine seems to be totally perplexed and not sure what to do now...mentioned going to University hospital in Denver or just a neurologist down in that area who accept my insurance...since Casper is so small...ugh...
  • I didn't have swelling but I have iced everyday since surgery and it makes a big difference for pain and swelling.I keep jel packs in my freezer.good luck Kathy ps i pm you
    Kathy B
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