Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

5 Level Lumbar Fusion

Rosneck55RRosneck55 Posts: 7
edited 02/15/2015 - 5:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I just found out last September that I have severe DDD on all 5 lumbar levels. I have had the injections for my sciatica, and they have helped somewhat, but I still have pressure, burning and tingling. My doctor told me that I will need a 5 level lumbar fusion. I am very frightened of this, not the pain as much as the disability. Has anyone had this many levels fused, and how did it go? I know that I won't be able to do everything I used to be able to do, but will I still be able to bend over and live a somewhat normal life? Also, how long would this surgery take? It seems really scary to be under anesthesia for a long time.

I am open to all advice! Thank you all so much! So glad that I found this site!
Kathleen Mahoney


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Welcome to Spine-Health

    Use that above hyperlink to help you get started with Spine-Health and navigate through the system.

    If there are any questions, you can always post them here, send Liz or myself a private message or contact Ron rdilauro@veritashealth.com

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I'm fused L3-S1. Once you have any back surgery you have to be careful about body mechanics forever after. I've also had C4-C7 fused. Each surgery was worth it. I'm not pain free but a stable spine helps minimize the pain. Consider getting a 2nd opinion from another Orthopedic Spine Surgeon or Neurosurgeon. Personally I prefer OSS.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • There is someone on the surgery recovery page that had a 12 level fusion! I will try to find his name. I can't imagine. I just had l5 s1 12 weeks ago and my quality of life has greatly improved. Best wishes.
  • I have had three surgeries, with the last having a fusion at level S1-L5, they went in thinking I may need a two level fusion but ended up just decompressing level l4-5, fusing S1-L5 and removing a dime sized bone chip compressing my nerve. I had previously had a Micro discectomy at both levels and an emergency repair for burst disc. A year later, it looks likely they will have to go in and fuse that level. I wish they had just done it all at once because now I will be looking at my fourth surgery in less than four years. I would definitely get a second opinion, but I also lean more towards get it all done in one surgery because this surgery, heal, recover, surgery, heal, recover, cycle is very exhausting. I know that is no where near the intensive fusing you are talking about, but having to go back in for more procedures is very hard.
  • Thanks to everyone for your advice and compassion! I am having a hip replacement next week. I had my knee replaced last year. My hips are bad and I'm hoping that replacing them may help my back, but I know the big fusion is in my not too distant future. I am 59 years old. I have so much compassion for everyone on this sight, especially the young people going through this!

    Blessings to you all!

    Kathleen Mahoney
  • sunshinemimessunshinemime Posts: 1
    edited 09/30/2015 - 8:36 PM
    I had this surgery March 2nd. Was the best thing that ever happened to me. No pain in my legs anymore. Healing is a slow process but I felt no pain in my legs the day after surgery. The first few weeks I was on restrictions no bending, twisting and lifting. After the bone fusion started to mend the restrictions lifted. The only problem I had after surgery was being tired and drained a lot. It's important to eat, take vitamins and stay hydrated. All in all, having this surgery gave me life again. I wish I had gotten it earlier and not suffered all those years with leg pain from the compressed nerves in my back.

    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    ~ spine-health moderator, savage
  • Hi , I had T3-L2 fused back in 2007 and it was the best choice I ever made the healing process took awhile but at the time I had kyphosis (150 degree curve ) and it needed to be corrected I was 17 yrs old I was pain free for years until I had an accident in 2012 that crushed my L3. So this year in August I had to have another surgery which was supposed to be L2-L4 my neurosurgeon took it upon himself to change his mind and he removed L1-L2 and refused me from L1-L5 and it was the worst choice I could have ever made. The pain I have post op is much worse not including all the new issues I have with my knees and hips and drop foot and muscle weakness on the left side. My advise to anyone considering the surgery get a couple opinions make sure you feel safe with the dr you go with and make sure you understand the risks of failure and side effects. Best of luck to you I hope you have a better outcome then I did.
    Michael Murphy
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 729
    edited 09/30/2015 - 8:31 PM
    Dear Kathy...

    A 5 level fusion is a LOT... it's not done so much... I would definitely seek a second opinion. You should also carefully discuss the type of surgical procedure with your doctor as there are a range of optional surgical procedures. (Check out Wikipedia - Fusion Surgery) Assuming you do get the surgery the recovery will be months NOT weeks... especially at your age. We are very close in age and my FULL recovery on first fusion surgery took 12 months and I'm now at 8 months and counting on my second fusion surgery.

    Forum Rule:
    5.06 You agree not to post information that is considered to be formal medical advice.

    Your post contains wording that may be considered as giving medical advice. It is very important that everyone understand that
    there are no medical professionals on this site, so therefore any comments are solely opinions based on personal experiences.
    They should never been taken as medical fact.
    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    It's now about 6 months since your post... did you have surgery..?? Where are you at with your back problems..??
    Harry - 63 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • Rosneck55RRosneck55 Posts: 7
    edited 11/06/2015 - 9:00 AM
    I really appreciate all of the feedback from those of you who have gone through big fusions! I went to see the top guy in Cincinnati for big fusions and he told me that I needed a 10 level fusion due to the scoliosis in my back. Right now I am surviving on steroid injections. My sciatica is my main symptom. I do have some back pain, but not that much, considering how my xrays look. I have an appointment at the [edit] in February. My wish is that he could correct the part of my back that is causing the butt and leg pain, and leave the rest alone.

    If anyone else has any advice or suggestions, I would love to hear it!


    Kathleen Mahoney
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Rosneck55, I had 5 level fusion 10 weeks ago with several issues. I wanted to see how you`re coming along even though we haven`t spoken before. I had a hip replaced and is on the recall list. Thanks, sv13.
Sign In or Register to comment.