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Multi-level spinal fusion

My neurosurgeon is suggesting a multi-level spinal fusion to treat my scoliosis, stenosis and degeneration at multiple levels. The recommendation is to use pedicel screws to fuse four levels with consequential down time of 8-10 weeks. I am scared to death of the aftermath in large measure due to the absence of post-op testimonials from actual patients which have endured the procedure who speak of positive outcomes; and/or who do hesitate to say they would do it again without wavering. Has anyone undergone this procedure who cares to comment upon the quality of their life after multi-level fusion?


  • terror8396tterror8396 Posts: 1,832
    edited 04/13/2014 - 10:32 AM
    i had to wear a brace. ask the doctor if you will get one and why not if not. i could not lift bend climb for almost a year. 5lbs the most for lifting. i wore my brace for 9 months the first fusion and 1 month for the second. they make a graph out of your bone which they make into a paste to ;make the hardware solid. don't do anythng heavy for at least 9 months or the graph will break. expect pain for a long time and maybe if you are lucky the pain could go away after a while or maybe not. do everyting to the letter your doctor says. if not, you could ruin your fusion you can have all sorts of complications depending on the lenght of your surgery. i had a leakage of spinal fluid, a staph infection and blood clots but that does not mean you will. i was out for 12 hours and in the hospital for 10 days. good luck
    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.
  • I lead a great life, one I wouldn't have had without the surgeries. No pain meds, though I do have pain.... I'm about to work full time as a teacher and come home and take care of my family. I will say my house isn't as clean and orderly as I'd like...
    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.
  • John,
    I had a 5 level lumbar fusion in 2007. Like Jon, I had to wear a turtle shell brace, 9 months prior to surgery, and 6 months post surgery. My recovery took more than a year. Today, my spine is stable. I walk and play golf. I still have pain, mostly due to nerve damage from a spinal infection, but I can do whatever I want.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • more like 18/.24 months you have a very optimistic consultant {they are by nature } do yourself a massive favour get another opinion from an orthopaedic consultant and do your homework viz a v recovery trust me its no walk in the park I am 2 and a bit years post ALIF [that's anterior lumbar interbody fusion}that's where they go in through your abdominal area .it is a massive operation and you won't be the same again ..also remember that a fusion is done for spinal integrity not pain relief .I say time and time again and I repeat what my consultant told me that any pain relief would be a bonus and not a guarantee ..good luck please do your home work as you are making a life changing decision
    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
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 04/14/2014 - 8:36 AM

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Week after this I will be having my 3rd fusion in 30 years. I am 53 year old female. I will be fused from T-10 all the way down thru my pelvis. Both my former fusions fused very well, so well that I am told that is why my back is so bad now. My cervical spine is scheduled "next", although I'm not sure if there will be a "next". I have suffered from severe pain for 30 years, any advice out there?
    Monica m. Cochran
  • I have only had a C7 -C5 fusion and I wish someone had told me that fusion is done for spinal integrity and not pain relief before I had mine 4 years ago yesterday. I suffer from chronic nerve pain and have been diagnosed with failed neck surgery syndrome, among other things. I had an awesome doctor that came highly recommended and had never had any kind of surgery before and will never have one again if I can avoid it.
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