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360 degree spinal fusion

Audrey13AAudrey13 Posts: 2
edited 01/24/2015 - 7:12 PM in New Member Introductions
My partner is scheduled for a 360 degree spinal fusion, due to a botched micro-discectomy 2 years ago for a disc bulge on L5/S1... He used to be so fit and strong; the surgery was in order to minimise the time he spent in pain (normally 2-3 days per month) prior to him joining the fire service. He's now reliant on crutches and can't even put his socks on. I'm his carer now. He's only 26... He's reluctant for further surgery. Anyone out there had such a procedure at such a young age? We don't know what to do.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    There is no reason he should continue to suffer, there is help out there. He needs to become his own health advocate and go out and get a few more opinions from qualified surgeons. Sometimes we all become comfortable and accept what we are told by our doctors and for some there is no other options. For others, myself included there are answers and the ability to move forward and live a good life. Hopefully his next procedure will prove that theory.
    Wish you both the best,
  • I had a 360 two level fusion at L4-S1 a year ago. I was 34, so a bit older than your partner but still young. It's a major surgery and very painful. But now, a year out, I am very happy I had it. Make sure you do your homework and ask as many questions you can. His surgeon should be more than happy to answer them. Do not feel pressured into surgery. It is a long road and not for everyone. But for me, I wish I had done it sooner. In retrospect things are always easier to see though.
    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
  • Audrey13AAudrey13 Posts: 2
    edited 01/25/2015 - 3:24 PM
    Sorry I'm new to this whole forum thingy so apologies if I'm not doing it in quite the right way!

    Just to clarify, we've had 4 different opinions, including from the top surgeon available to us on the NHS. All agree that the only viable option for him to potentially get better is the operation, however all agree that it is a huge gamble and do not want to give any assurances that it will in fact work.

    He has quite extensive scar tissue and nerve damage from the previous surgery, and we've been told the ultimate best case scenario is he will be 50% better a year post op, and will need further ops at 10-15 year intervals for the rest of his life.

    All of the surgeons have told us there is a risk of retrograde ejaculation and advised us to freeze his sperm ahead of any potential surgery. They've also told us he could end up in no less pain, but with more restricted movement. Or (ultimate worst case scenario) in a wheelchair.

    He has seen physios, chiropractors, a pain psychologist, and is currently under the care of a consultant anaesthetist/ pain management specialist (who actually thinks further surgery is a bad idea).

    He has tried so many pain killers I can hardly remember but in short; gabapentin, pre-gabalin, morphine sulphate, naproxen, amitriptyline, tramadol... The list is longer but I can't quite remember! They've all had negative side effects and basically, not worked. He's had nerve root injections in his spinal area too.

    He currently takes codeine, paracetamol and diclofenac. Plus diazepam and naproxen when he has really bad days. His legs also give way due to numbness, meaning he falls frequently and when this happens he ends up hospitalised on a morphine PCA and oxygen, plus his usual meds; and in some cases ketamine.

    So in short, we've had a lot of opinions, quite a lot of experience, and seem no further forward on making a decision.

    I realise the Internet is generally littered with either very positive or very negative reviews of almost everything, as people don't tend to post "average" reviews (forgive the massive generalisation please!), but we just want to know if there's anything else out there?

    Any more options? Any ideas? We really don't know what to do and none of the medical professionals want or indeed can tell us what's best. We are utterly lost and any anecdotal advice or input is so greatly appreciated.

    Thank you all for your time and concern.

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