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Back surgery failed-Could weight loss surgery help?

I had a spinal fusion L4-5 , March of 2010. Even though my surgeon considers it a success, I have been in constant pain since. I can not sit without morphine & percs. I was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia afterwards plus a list of 5-6 other muscle & skeletal issues.
My PM doc is wonderful & has tried every medication & injection he knows of over the last 3 years. I finally decided to make lifestyle changes & moved to a warmer state, Texas & am going to change careers since sitting is impossible. My parents(I am 40 & moved in with them temp while I figure my life out) feel very strongly, that if I had weight loss surgery(lap band), my symptoms would improve.(they think they would disappear but lets get real that isn't going to happen). It looks like I just qualify since I have medical issues. They allow ppl with a BMI of 30+ to have lap band but normal overweight ppl have to be 35+. I am thinking I could lose 50-60lbs which would make me very trim. I have tried to lose weight thru clean diet & exercise but with the meds, the weight will not budge. When you are in pain 24/7, a perfect figure is really the last thing on my mind. I am pretty much open to anything that will/could help me pain.
Has anyone looked into this? Any thoughts/opinions?


  • have you tried to get other medical opinions on your back?
    I ask b/c I had back surgery and my surgeon insisted that "the surgery was/going to be gratifying". It never was.
    What has your surgeon so convinced the surgery was successful? Has he done a subsequent MRI?

    Even if he has, I would still get another opinion. Turns out I had re-herniated and had a lot of scar tissue build up. A 2nd surgery I didn't feel great day 1 but within 3-6 months, I started to see improvement. Then I had a set back and visited a Physiatrist (muscular skeletal doctor) and worked with him team for 4 months. Just a thought before under-going more surgery.

    As for losing weight - of course less weight could help with pain because it's less you are 'carrying' around and yet it is not a sure thing. I know people heavier than me with less pain after surgery. Have you tried tracking calories in/out with a simple smart phone app like MyFitness Pal? When I did that I realized that I was taking in far more calories than I thought. I mean it made me aware of how many pieces of sugar free gum I was having at 5 calories a pop (not a big deal) but then how much coffee I was having with cream and those calories WERE adding up. I did lose 20-25lbs that I had put on post surgery just by tracking calories honestly and realizing I needed to eat a lot more veggies and protein and if I wanted a 'treat' I had to find lower calorie alternatives. It took me a couple of months to get the right mix of food to feel 'full' and lose weight on 1200 calories a day but the app gave me calories back when I walked.

    Good luck - I hope you find some relief. I still have pain so but it's been 3 years since my last surgery and I would say that last 1 year was a huge difference.

    One other thing - are you sleeping? I ask because half my battle with weight was the fact that I couldn't sleep due to pain. The physiatrist helped with that and once I was sleeping, so many other things were easier to focus on.
  • AllMetalAAllMetal Posts: 1,189
    edited 07/22/2013 - 3:40 AM
    I'm going to send you a PM.
    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.
  • paininohioppaininohio Posts: 240
    edited 07/22/2013 - 4:07 AM
    Please remember that this is just my personal opinion, but if 50 pounds would make you very trim, then i personally would NOT go with the lap band surgery.

    That is a major lifestyle change and its permanent. It can cause its own host of problems with malnutrition and other things because the absorption issues that it will cause. To me I would only go with this surgery if it was to save my life; like maybe if I were 400 pounds. But being only 50-60 pounds overweight, I wouldn't even consider it.

  • The lap band actually doesn't cause malabsorption issues. It just makes you feel fuller with smaller amounts of food. However you do have go to the doctor once a month for 12 months for an adjustment to the band. The band is designed for people who need to lose a smaller amount of weight. Like 60 pounds. The gastric bypass and vertical sleeve gastrectomy are for those people who need to lose a considerable amount of weight. I am having a sleeve gastrectomy. Just PM me if you have any questions.

    Discectomies 05/08 and 04/11, fusions L4-5 Feb 9,2012 and L3-L4 June 28,2012, Staph infection washout 3/2/2012, Bulged L5-S1. SCS trial on January 17th, 2014, which was a success! Permanent SCS on February 20th.
  • RTgirl2011RRTgirl2011 Posts: 512
    edited 07/22/2013 - 4:42 AM
    The lap band is not permanent.
    Discectomies 05/08 and 04/11, fusions L4-5 Feb 9,2012 and L3-L4 June 28,2012, Staph infection washout 3/2/2012, Bulged L5-S1. SCS trial on January 17th, 2014, which was a success! Permanent SCS on February 20th.
  • Yes, I was thinking of the gastric bypass. Sorry about that. I tend to get those mixed up.
  • with a back problem I know as I am around 40lbs overweight I too have had a fusion plus two other spinal ops ,I was a swimmer but constant pain has put a stop to that .I know skinny people but they still have back pain ..you should know that your fusion was done to stabilise your spine any pain relief would have been a BONUS and not a guarantee ..many forget that fact !! I know how hard it is living in constant pain I have done it for the last 17 years the last ten being the worst no sleep and pain all the time ..been there got the tee shirt .....
    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
  • aewalseraaewalser Posts: 10
    edited 07/22/2013 - 9:06 AM
    Hi All

    Thanks for you replies. Allmetal, I didn't receive the email. My email is aewalser@gmail.com.

    The only reason I am even contemplating this is because it is just a device put around you stomach & can be removed. My mother had it which is why they are so quick to suggest plus so many friends have had a version of weight loss surgery. No offense to anyone but people are more over weight in Texas than they are in New York which is where I previously lived. I initially was a bit offended since I didn't feel I was big enough even with my post surgery weight gain but it does look like I just squeak by since I have the medical issues. I absolutely could count my calories & need to start doing that. I previously did a clean diet & it is more about having non processed, no sugar, no artificial which did help somewhat but I didn't get back to my pre-surgery weight. I have a lot of nausea from the meds which small bits of food do help with so I think that has been the major culprit. I am working on reducing my pain meds & have gotten off all the fibro meds. I have been walking 4-6 miles daily which helps with the pain.

    I have unfortunately been to 20-30 docs since my surgery. I knew within 6 months something didn't work or was wrong. So far, I have tried everything Eastern & Western medicine that was non invasive. My PM really thought out of the box but even got to a point where he said their was nothing else he could do but Rx meds. MRIs have shown no change since post surgery plus doc even checked other parts of my body. I have had tons of blood work, chiro(6 months) PT 2x, acupuncture(10 weeks), epidurals, trigger point injections, SI injections, massage therapy, back braces, SI joint brace, vitamins, supplements(turmeric is amazing), tried 40+ meds that made me sick, & even work with a personal trainer for 6 months. I pretty much got to a point that I was trying something new every week or 2 weeks depending on if I should see immediate results. I have quite a list of additional supplements to investigate on my phone as well as bio-feedback. My friend even suggested a psychic massage therapist but I moved before I could get in to see her. You hit a point where you are willing to try anything as long as it wont hurt the situation.

    & a major no, I can not sleep. I have to take Ambien, otc diphenhydramine HCL, 10 tart cherries, lavender oil on my forearms, and a magnesium oil on my feet or I take a supplement.

    Very trim to me is 5'6" & 140 lbs. In my opinion, at that size you have a rocking body, perfect curves, muscular & feminine.
  • 5.6" and 140 pounds? Hmm, well I'm Greek, so I think that's a bit on the skinny side. LOL (just trying to get you to smile today) 8-)
  • I was referred to the weight loss surgeon, he said losing weight would help my back tremendously. Where as my surgeon that I currently see says back problems do not come from weight they can happen to anyone fat or skinny. I can see his reasoning for saying that, but I am also 184 pounds overweight. I think in my case losing the weight would definately help my back. Thats why I am choosing to have weight loss surgery.

    Paininohio- You couldn't pay me enough to have a gastric bypass. My neurosurgeon practically begged me not have that procedure because they have to reroute the plumbing as he put it. They just remove 85% percent of your stomach with the sleeve gastrectomy and leave your intestines alone. There are still risks but not as great as the bypass.
    Discectomies 05/08 and 04/11, fusions L4-5 Feb 9,2012 and L3-L4 June 28,2012, Staph infection washout 3/2/2012, Bulged L5-S1. SCS trial on January 17th, 2014, which was a success! Permanent SCS on February 20th.
  • paininohio said:
    5.6" and 140 pounds? Hmm, well I'm Greek, so I think that's a bit on the skinny side. LOL (just trying to get you to smile today) 8-)
    At my appointment with the weight loss doctor, they told me I needed to be 140 pounds and I am 5' 10".
    Discectomies 05/08 and 04/11, fusions L4-5 Feb 9,2012 and L3-L4 June 28,2012, Staph infection washout 3/2/2012, Bulged L5-S1. SCS trial on January 17th, 2014, which was a success! Permanent SCS on February 20th.
  • Unfortunately, even 5'6" 140 is considered on the heavy side of a healthy weight. It would put me at a 23.

    5'10 & 140 puts you on the skinny side of healthy weight. I would take either!!

    Not sure if it is going to show up, but I posted a link to a BMI chart.

  • I don't even want to know what my BMI is LOL, its probably completely off the chart, HOWEVER, I have always been a large woman, and other than my Thyroid (runs in family - big time) and my back, I'm pretty healthy. My doctor was even surprised about my cholesterol. I told him, just because I'm fat doesn't mean that I'm not healthy and eat right. LOL. But I still say, in my opinion, 140 is on the skinny side. 8-)
  • I started with a new PM doctor on Wednesday & he threw out all my previous diagnosis. Interestingly, he said my back surgery did not fail & I do not have fibro, Yeah!! So far, he has diagnosed me with 7 different hip/leg/muscle problems in 3 appointments over 3 days.(went in for injections two days in a row & each time he found something new) He kept finding more but we are stopping with the diagnosis until I see him again in 2 weeks. Unfortunately, they could give me problems with not being able to exercise so still going to have the consultation about the lap band surgery. Afraid with DDD, I could gain more weight & end up damaging my back more. I have a tendency to think I am super woman & I am not.
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