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6 mth check up - what do you think?

Up to my 6 month check Dr was telling me I was fusing ahead of schedule. At my 6 mth check up, Dr said I wasn't fused/healed, it could take up to a year. I was disappointed. This time they had me bend backwards and forward for the X-rays so maybe it showed something. Disappointing visit. I go back in 6 mths - 1 year out. Anyone have a similar situation?
PLIF fusion L4-L5 and Decompression July 31


  • I had to bend forwards and backwards at my 3 month post-op appointment. My surgeon said it can take 2 years before there is a rock solid fusion.
    10/28/13 - ALIF, PSF, decompression at L4/L5 and L5/S1

  • I was told at my 6 month check when looking at the x-ray, that it was too early yet.

    At 18 months I was told (again looking at an x-ray) that I must be fused or my hardware would have either broken or come loose. I never was told that I was fused, but I am nearly 4 years later and am doing ok, so I guess I did fuse. :-)

    I think it can be difficult to be sure if there is fusion unless a CT scan is used.
    I suppose that flexion and extension x-rays would show if there was still movement which would mean fusion had not taken place.

    I hope that you will get good news at your 12 month check. Try to not worry about it in the mean time. If you are getting lots of pain, speak to your doctor, otherwise assume all is going well. :-)

  • it could take up to a year to heal from a fusion. i have had 4 and the first took a year. could not bend lift stand etc for a year and had to wear a brace for 9 months. it takes that long for the fusion to heal, the bones are made into a paste and it has to harden around the screws. if you rush it, it can screw up the fusion then you are really in trouble. take it easy and don't rush things.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Thank you all for your quick responses. I think I was disappointed because I was getting encouraging news up to my 6 mth appt. Fortunately, I'm not in pain, only if I walk to far but it's still much better than before surgery. I feel better hearing from you folks, thanks again. I'll need to wait it out and hope for the best.
    PLIF fusion L4-L5 and Decompression July 31
  • I am a very active 55 yr. old female that was told 2 day ago that I need to either live with this pain, or get the fusion done. I have tried to remain active (spin, weights, etc...), but the pain is getting so bad, that when I get done, I lay on the couch with my knees up to relieve it. Had tingling in my legs, now, just shooting pain going down both legs and in the buttock... it is getting worse. I can no longer do my job (as a flight attendant), as the standing or sitting for too long aggravates it. Just looking for some answers as to if my quality of life will be better, and less painful after the surgery (and yes the long recovery), or if I should live with the pain getting worse. My surgeon is very black and white, and while he did an excellent job with my neck surgery (fusion), I need more guidance and info on all this. Help!
    Melanie E. Feilzer
  • You sound like me!!! I tried everything under the sun to avoid surgery (PT-chiro-injections) but last summer I couldn't walk 200ft without intense sciatic pain and a numb foot. I went to a 3 different drs for opinions and was told by all 3, no amount of PT or injections would help, I needed a fusion. I wasn't prepared for that dx but knew I needed to do something, I wasn't living. I booked the surgery with a Neuro. The surgery and recovery were not as bad as I had expected. Time in the hospital is a blur, the first week home was the worse but not horrible. I remember going out to dinner with hubby and friends after 2 weeks post surgery. I'm very happy I had the surgery, I'm so much better and more active than I was before surgery, I have no regrets. Oh by the way, I was 62 yrs old when I had the surgery. Good luck with your decision, I would suggest getting at least 2 opinions.
    PLIF fusion L4-L5 and Decompression July 31
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 02/17/2014 - 5:39 AM
    I was 54 when I had my lumbar PLIF fusion and decompression of L4/5.

    I had been desperately trying to avoid surgery for over 2 years, and wouldn't even go and talk to a surgeon.
    Then my pain got worse, my walking ability less and my life was shrinking.
    I had to keep lying down (with my knees up too!) to relieve the pain and would even have to do that at work in my breaks.

    I have no regrets about having the surgery. My recovery wasn't as bad as I had feared it would be, although it was long. 3 weeks after surgery my husband and I went out to walk around a public garden. That felt so good!

    Now, my back is not perfect by a long way, but I was warned beforehand that I would always have problems due to so much degeneration of my spine. I went on to have my neck fused at 2 levels.

    My problem was a grade 2 (nearly 3) isthmic spondylolisthesis. When I finally agreed to go and talk to a surgeon he told me that I couldn't avoid surgery any longer or I would end up in a wheelchair and eventually incontinent. My spinal canal was being kinked and he didn't know how I was managing to walk around. That definately helped me to decide! I had surgery about 3 weeks later.

    Melanie, what is your diagnosis?

    Welcome to Spine Health. This is a great place to chat to others who have been through this and learn about your condition and suggested surgery. Do ask any other questions you may have. I suggest that you start your own thread and introduce and give some information about yourself. :-)

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