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Posture lumbar Instrumental Fusion

Hi People, perhaps you can help

My mum is 60 and has been diagnosed with severe degenerative disc disease, after about a year of waiting to see the back surgeon he says there is only one thing that can be done which I mentioned in the subject line. He also says he would prefer not to do it as she will have a 50% chance of walking again after the procedure. He also mentioned that if she does not have it she will eventually not walk either.

She does not want to do the procedure it involves putting a pad with metal around the worst disc and a metal bracket around the area with screws to support the spine and to keep it straightened.

Currently she is just on morphine patches.

Question is this the end for her? Is there no medication that can assist? Being open minded and having done a bit of reading I have seen articles about the use of IGF-1, human growth hormone, testosterone and nandrolene. Will these agents not help in time?

Any suggestions for me? thanks


  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 10/16/2013 - 1:22 AM
    I am sorry to hear about your mum's spine problems.
    Did your surgeon explain why he was only giving a 50% chance of your mum walking again after surgery?
    Generally a higher chance of success is given but it does depend on the problem and what else is going on. Perhaps you could ask why the odds given are oly 50% to help you understand what is going on.

    Can you get another opinion? I think a second or even third opinion would be a good idea. I think especially as this surgeon hasn't given a very encouraging picture for your mum, other surgeons views would be helpful.

    There are many of us on this site with Degenerative Disc Disease. It is quite normal for discs to degenerate but some people are unlucky enough to have this happen earlier and quicker than usual so later in life things can be a mess.

    I had a lumbar fusion of L4/5 which I would say was a success. I had the disc removed and a cage inserted which was filled with the ground up part of my spine that was removed to act as a graft. I then had screws and rods inserted to support my spine as the vertebrae fused together and became stable. This was called a Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF). It dealt with the awful sciatica I was getting in both legs and really improved the pain in my lower back too.

    I do have problems at other levels of my spine too and needed a two level fusion of my neck.

    Sorry, I don't know anything about IGF-1, human growth hormone, testosterone and nandrolene.

    This site is a great place to learn about your mum's problems, the possible surgeries to help her and this forum is a great place to talk to others who are having similar problems who can share their experiences and offer their support.

  • FilletFFillet Posts: 3
    edited 10/16/2013 - 1:40 AM
    Hi, thanks so much for your reply. I have sent her a BBM to find out. She lives in the UK and I live in SA. They mentioned that one of the discs are black? I think that you wait a long time to see specialist in the UK so another opinion is not really an option.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    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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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 10/16/2013 - 4:41 AM
    I know all about the waiting in the UK as I am here too.

    I am sending you some links to articles taken from this site about Degenerated Discs. They do look black on an MRI scan because the water content has mostly gone.




    There are many other articles so do explore.

  • Jenny your are very helpful and I will read through them all thanks. Funny thing is SA is much better in terms of that, you can see a specialist ASAP and be treated ASAP. Oh well.
    One other thing as you seem to know your stuff, as I am at the age of 33 now how could I ensure I don't get this or somehow support not getting this. I am a body builder at 6ft5 and 115kg and lift lots of very heavy weights. Is there tests I should run at a certain age etc. I don't really feel any disc issues yet despite all that heavy iron.

  • Although degenerated discs can be hereditary, as far as I am aware there aren't any tests to see if you are likely to have problems.

    As you lift heavy weights I would certainly say that you should always lift safely (I'm sure you do that).
    I am not really an expert, I have just had lots of experiences from my own spine and that has caused me to read a lot about spinal problems.

    I think the usual things for being healthy will also help to keep your spine healthy. Drinking lots of water, healthy eating, keeping your weight within healthy levels, and not smoking. That is particularly bad for the spine and can affect the discs I have read. I know that many surgeons won't do a spinal fusion on a patient unless they give up smoking as it impedes the fusion. Keeping active without over straining your body must be helpful too.

    Hopefully you won't have problems. :-)

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