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degenerative disc disease and loss of bowel control

I'm new to this forum. I have degenerative disc disease from L2 thru S1. I also have a broken bone on L5. I am fighting with BCBS to have a fusion of my L3-L4. They have denied my surgery and a appeal. I am now dealing with losing control of my bowel. I have to be near a toilet if the urge is there because I can't stop a BM. I guess my first question is will this condition go away once I get this fusion done or am I stuck with this for the rest of my life?
Second, My Doctor gave me two options, First to fuse my L3-L4 or to fuse my S1-L5-L4-L3-L2 all together. I opted to do the L3-L4 because my Doctor said there may be other options in the future. I'm worried I may have made the wrong decision after fighting with BCBS just to get one level fused, have I?


  • RickilalasRRickilalas Posts: 559
    edited 08/30/2014 - 3:14 AM
    Not to scare you but loss of control can be the start of a emergency. Call your doctor. Sometimes they can take you in through emergency room with no preaproval needed from BCBS. I fought them on everything we did. I am so glad I have medicare now and have no problems getting anything done.
    Stay on top of this and get with your doctor or go to a ER with a good spine program at their hospital just in case. Try to use the ER where your surgeon does his work

    Good Luck Hope it works out
  • Sudden loss of bladder or bowel control can be a very serious surgical emergency called Cauda Equina Syndrome. That needs to be discussed with your surgeon TODAY.
    Permanent damage can result if the compression of the spinal nerves are left too long.


    An ER may or may not be familiar with the symptoms of Cauda Equina, in fact some surgeons aren't all that familiar with it. If you can not contact your surgeon print off the information regarding CES that I gave you in the link and bring it with you.
  • Thank you Rickilalas and Sandi for your information. I am going to seek help if I have any of the symptoms getting worse.
    I'm not sure how BCBS can get away with this. I'm going through with 12 weeks of PT now just to satisfy BCBS's criteria for approval. I'm hoping I won't get injured from the PT. My Physical Therapist has seen the x-rays and is being careful with me.

  • Do NOT wait for the symptoms to become worse........worse is loosing permanent control over your bladder or bowels. Waiting too long , if this is Cauda Equina Syndrome can result in PERMANENT injury.
    I know because I have it, twice. Unless you want to have to learn to self cath, and develop a bowel care program, I would be either at the ER, or on the phone with my surgeon.
    The longer you wait, the more likely that you could wind up with permanent injury or in a wheelchair if the compression is severe enough.
  • or symptoms indicating one, the insurance company will not and can not make you continue physical therapy.
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