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Has anyone gotten good results from fusion of lumbar vertebrae?

I'm going to have fusion of my L3-L4 because of degenerative disc disease, scoliosis and sponylilosthesis. I have degenerative disc disease in levels S1-L5-L4-L3-L2. My question is, Has anyone had great results from a single level fusion or a multilevel fusion (4 level)? It seems that everything on this forum is so negative toward these fusions or just discuss the problems that occur. Does anyone have good to say? I'm scared!


  • I'm 7 weeks post op a single level fusion at L5 & although it's still early days am 100% happy I had the surgery. A lot of people who have great success tend to drop off this site.

    I already have a better range of movement & less pain than prior to surgery.

    Microdiscectomy L5S1 January 2014
    Microdiscectomy L5S1 March 2014
    Fusion L5S1 11th August 2014
  • As of today, 8 weeks post op, I'm doing quite well. I've been walking about 2 miles for the past 6 weeks. I used the walker just while I was in the hospital, Aug 11-14. As for the pain, it's been interesting for me at least. During the first 1-4 weeks the pain moved from the legs to the feet and back up. Some interesting nerve spasms as well. Not driving for almost 6 weeks wasn't a lot of fun either.However, almost all the "odd" stuff has dissipated and I'm starting to get back to some normalcy. I went back to the gym 3 days ago,light treadmill and stair master only but it's a start. I'm scheduled to return to work on Aug 13th.
    I would say that my situation thus far would be deemed a success. However, from what I understand, you really don't know for sure until about a year?
    I hope this helps?
    Bilateral L5 spondylolysis L5 with grade I anterolisthesis L5-S1.
    Stable multilevel degenerative spondylosis contributing to mild canal
    narrowing L2-3 and L3-4.
    360 ALIF & PLIF L-4 - S-1 on 8/11/14
  • Having a T12-S1 fusion, and some old harware removed at the same time. So far so good. I am feelin fine, take a couple of walks a day, the longer one about 30-40 minutes. My surgeon does not want me to go longer than that right now. Before the surgery I could not stand more than a minute or so, now I don't have a problem with that. Walking is also easier, so I guess I can call my surgery a success, especially since I don't take any pain meds.
  • Thank you all for responding. I'm a 52 year old that has always been very active and my job is very physical labor. I was looking forward to more golf and doing things with my grandchildren, then this comes along. It's depressing. I need to hear from people that have dealt with this, to figure out what to do and to know what my life will be like after. I'm dealing with the pain and BCBS denying my surgery. I'm in the middle of 12 weeks of PT to satisfy BCBS, still not knowing if they will deny it again when I finish. I'm scared, angry and down in the dumps dealing with this.
    I'm either fusing L3-L4 or L2-L3-L4-L5-S1 depending what BCBS will approve.
  • If all goes well, you will definitely be able to have fun times with the grandkids. As far as golf, I would ask that from the surgeon, as the twisting motion is not advisable after fusion, at least not for awhile. Remember when Tiger returned to play too soon after his surgery? As far as getting the OK from BCBS, I have the same insurance, but since I am retired,
    Medicare is my primary so whatever Medicare approves they have to pay their share. Let's hope in your case, your surgery will be done according to your medical need, rather than what the burocrats decide. Good luck!
  • ex-gymnasteex-gymnast Posts: 111
    edited 10/04/2014 - 12:34 PM
    I had a L2-4 fusion a year and a half ago and its doing great. I also have major problems from T12-L5, but they decided that since I'm still pretty young (39) that they would only fuse 2 levels to start. It has definitely helped. I do have a lot of pain right now and am having another fusion on the 15th of Oct to fuse my SI joint on the right side. My pain is all coming only on the right and the injection really helped so we're trying this. I would not be doing another fusion if the first one didn't help. And yes, as stated above, the people who are doing well are not on this site anymore. They don't need the support so you see a large number of people who appear to have bad results. It can happen and its not right for everyone and I would get a couple of opinions before making such a big decision and of course your insurance company is being a pain as most are. When it comes to fusions, its a big surgery with a high cost so they want to know that you have tried every other conceivable thing first, physical therapy, injections, medications, and some want to see things like acupuncture or chiropractic on the list. I tried all those things and still needed surgery. If I had it to do again and I were older, I would definitely push for having a multilevel fusion done to avoid having to do what I'm doing. However, the catch is that once you have a level fused the levels above and below the fusion take on a bigger load and degenerate faster so its sort of a catch 22. They went conservative with me which just means that I'll have to have multiple surgeries over my lifetime unless they come up with something better soon. I wish you luck. Let us know what happens
    Severe DDD in S1-T12. 5 disc herniations. 5 compression fractures. Had a 2 level lumbar fusion/decompression on June 12, 2013. L4-5 foraminotomy on Jan 8, 2014, Right SI fusion in Oct 2014. Scheduled for L4-5 fusion to existing fusion on Sept 28, 2015
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