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Confused, overwhelmed don't know where to start need Lumbar Fusion

I have always had issues with my back but my major pain started in 2010. I started with my chiropractor and wasn't getting any relief so I switched chiros still no relief I went to an orthopedic. My MRI showed a huge herniation at L4-L5 ortho dr said I needed surgery at this point. So I started my hunt for a neurosurgeon. I had a Microdiscectomy done 5/1/2012 after surgery I had immediate relief. I ended up reherniating after a physical therapist pushed to hard to fast. I had another Micro done 2/1/2013 and haven't had any relief since. My doc sent me to a pain dr for nerve blocks to hobble me along because the next step would be a fusion and he didn't want to that yet cause of my age. After several injections nothing has helped, pain dr sent me for a myelogram and basically said that I need a fusion. The disc space is to narrow and is pinching the nerves. It seems like there are a lot of options for fusions. Rods and pins, no rods and pins, anterior, posterior. How do decide??


  • I think we're all confused when we're told we need surgery and we've exhausted every conservative measure to live life without pain. For me, I decided to find the best spine surgeon in a metro Atlanta. It took about six months; I saw two orthopedic surgeons and two neurosurgeons. They all basically agreed on what needed to be done so I picked the guy I felt most comfortable with and he decided on which procedure would suit me best. It was a rough couple weeks after surgery, but 10 months later, I'm enormously improved and glad I went through with it. Good luck!
    Lumbar laminectomy L-4/L-5, 2006
    XLIF with posterior pedicle screws L-4/L-5, 4-23-2013
  • I picked my surgeon based on him being in my insurance network, referal, and the pa (not my suergons) who read my mri glazing over my mri and telling me I needed the Graston Chrio technique which is pretty painful. I left her office and called the suregon. By the time I saw the neuro he told me that the disc collapsed and there was only one way to fix it, tlif fusion.

    I am glad I went with the tlif because my belly was not cut. The used a spacer and bmp material. Back to picking my suergon. My coworker had the same surgery. She actually had two surgeries with my doctor. I told my manager about it and he was so well versed because my coworker was his gf. I don't regret my decision. My fusion worked for it's intended purposes i woke up post op and the nerve and leg pain into my toes were gone. I would considerate a success because of the surgical structure taking.
    40 year old mom
    Tlif July 18
  • I think it is something you need to talk about once you find the surgeon you feel most comfortable with. I would get at least two maybe three different opinions. That's what I did and now I am scheduled for surgery April 9th. I will be having an ALIF L4-S1 w/posterior instrumentation. My surgeon recommended this type of surgery for me because it had a faster recovery time. If he was to perform a PLIF he told me he would be cutting through all my back muscles and makes it longer to recover.
    alif l4-s1
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