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L4/L5 & L5 S1 Fusion Worries

TexasChicTTexasChic Posts: 1
edited 11/17/2014 - 4:22 AM in Lower Back Pain
So I am having my 2 level fusion tomorrow morning, Tuesday November 18th in Dallas. I am very scared due to things I have read. I have gone through years of injections, PT, traction, medications, steroids, etc. and nothing has helped the pain. The mylogram showed a fracture in my L5/S1 and severe disc degenerative disease in both levels. The discogram produced the pain I am having in those two levels. The pain I have is in my side and feels like my hip is locked. They say it is from the fractured disc which is leaking the nucleus on my nerves causing this pain. I have lots of weakness and have gone from being an avid golfer, skier, and ice skater to not being able to do those things anymore. I experience my worst pain at night when I lay down. I am not disabled at this point, but I can feel my body deteriorating. I get these spasms in my back on a daily basis. I do not have leg pain at all. I have some numbness in my big toe but that's it. I have stopped doing the things I like. After about an hour of shopping, I am in a lot of pain and have to go home. Here is my question: When do you know this is the right surgery? Has anyone had a fusion at these two levels? What was it like? I could postpone my surgery but I have exhausted all pain management (which doesn't work) and the surgeons say this is my only option left and it isn't a guarantee. I am scared. Some people have said for me to wait till I am almost disabled before I do this surgery. But then I worry about my health and being able to handle the surgery. Right now I am in pretty good health. I am not over weight, I do not smoke or drink, and I am 43 years old. I also have anxiety so I worry about the surgery making me feel confined which will set off my claustrophobic symptoms. Please share any experiences here or comments. I go today for my preop and have tons more questions than my last visit.


  • Anxiety is bad for back issues and you will get more bad symptoms when you are more anxious. Be positive with whatever you are doing. Being positive has a significant effect on results. Have you got several advises from different specialists? How long you have been suffering from this condition?

    Some people believe surgery is the best if your condition restrict your life badly. Whereas some believes it's worth to try conservative treatments at least for 2-3 years (if there is no severe risk or progressing condition). There are many success stories in both approaches.
  • TexasChic,

    I had a 360 fusion at those same levels nearly a year ago. I can only speak from my experience, but I am so glad I had the surgery. Granted, there have been a lot of bad days between now and December of last year, but the overall pain state I was in then vs now is hugely different.

    Only you and your surgeon can make determinations on whether you do it, but in my case, I was missing out on life and the fusion reversed my situation from an observer to an active participant in my own life. Case and point, last thanksgiving I was too exhausted and sore to even stand at my family's thanksgiving dinner. I sat on the sofa and suffered through the entire day. This year, it has been nearly a year and my recovery going well. I am so happy I took the step.

    That said, it is painful and I've cried tears but they have all been on the road to recovery. I only wonder why I waited so long.

    Good luck tomorrow and do let us know how you're doing.
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
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