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L5-s1 surgery

S666myaSS666mya Posts: 1
edited 03/09/2015 - 10:37 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi, I'm 30years old & have been suffering with chronic back pain for just over 10 years now. I have gone through all pain management treatments such as physo, epidurals & pain relief meds. Today as a last resort I saw a surgeon who has said that I could have a disc decompression and a spinal fusion operation, Just want to know if anyone can relate or has already had the surgery to give me some advice.
Thank you in advance


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

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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • julieJMJjjulieJMJ Posts: 1
    edited 03/11/2015 - 9:37 AM
    Hi S666mya,
    I am actually 30yrs also. I have chronic back pain and five years ago I opted for spinal fusion in L4-S1. Right after the surgery I was very painful and it took a few weeks before that pain subsided. I had to wear a brace for a few months, I still had pain, but Norco helped. I thought for a moment my back pain was better but it came back and worse, and now I had leg pain. I tried more Physical Therapy, and before the surgery I tried everything, shots, relaxation, meditation therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. After a few more months, I started to hear a weird sound coming from my lower back, I called the drs office and they said it was the instrumentation shifting. But the sound got louder and louder, soon I could make the sound by moving a certain way and it became so loud that other people could hear it. I kept calling the drs office, but they just kept telling me it was nothing, until I went to the office and demanded that a nurse come hear it, so they made me make an appt and the nurse finally heard it. She immediately ordered x-rays and saw that my screws were broken. I had to have surgery again. They found that L4-L5 did fuse and he removed the instrumentation for that fusion because I didn't need it any more. I did not fuse in L5-S1, and the screws into S1 had snapped in half, so he had to remove all the rest of the instrumentation but had to leave the ends of the screws in S1 because it would cause more pain and problems to dig them out. Also he was not able to refuse L5-S1 because there was too much scar tissue. Since then I have horrible back and leg pain. They said they could go through my Abdominal to try to fuse from the front, but they would need to move all my intestines out of the way and need a vascular surgeon with them and they didn't even know if that would help. So I wasn't going to try that. I'm at my last resorts now, they suggest a neurotransmitter simulator implant, but I'm going to travel to xxxx Clinic to see a second opinion and if I have any other options.
    Sorry that was so long, but that's my story. My advice to you would to make sure that you've tried everything first. I've tired acupuncture and it helped me for a day or so and I've heard people have had good results from it. Also make sure they've tried all the types of shots you can first: epidurals, facet blocks, and at different levels, just in case. Also massage therapy to loosen tight muscles. Instrumentation failure is not common and my doctor had never had a patient have it happen to him, but I have heard that fusions in general don't always work and can cause leg pain that you didn't have previously. If you do have structural problems with your back, like a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or narrowing, surgery may be the answer. But just be prepared that it might not cure your pain.
    I would just suggest to think a lot about it before you decide. I feel like I didn't research and think about it enough before I had my fusion surgery.
    I hope I helped and if you have questions I am happy to answer them if I can.
    Good Luck
  • msbellammsbella Posts: 3
    edited 03/12/2015 - 5:22 AM
    Good morning! I'm so sorry to hear of your situation. Similarly, my problems stem from an L5S1 disk rupture in August 2009. Since that time, I have had 2 microdiskectomy surgeries and 2 spinal fusion surgeries, all with no success. My first fusion was posterior (from the back) only. My second fusion was done 2/2013 and this time was done anterior/posterior (from the back and abdomen). If I knew then what I know now, I never would have had any of the fusions. I had no choice in my first surgeries as my disk was ruptured and needed to be removed. I have worse back pain than before fusions and also now have permanent nerve damage in my right L5S1 nerve. I've had multiple injections, treatments, and spinal cord stimulator trial all with no success. I have heard of people that have fantastic results from fusions and had great hopes going into mine. They just didn't work for me. Hope this helps at least a little bit. Good luck!!
    Autumn L. Collette
  • Hello, I had a fusion of my L5-S1 under a year ago. Unfortunately I developed blood clots in my calves and Pulmonary Embolism which almost cost me my life. On the bright side the clots were directly related to the surgery so I won't be in the Coumadin clinic forever. I don't have the pain I felt prior to the surgery but after the surgery I now have endurance problems. I'm in pain from excessive standing, walking or sitting. But it's a blessing to be able to stand, walk and sit without crying or moving like a 90 year old. I had no choice but to have the surgery because I had suicidal pain. I couldn't even get out of bed without crying. So if your ready just do it. Yes recovery take a long time but I gained a little bit of my quality of life back so for me it was worth it. Just watch for pain in your legs after the surgery and make sure the brace is ready when you get out of surgery so you can start walking immediately.
    Smile, there's a lot to be thankful for.
  • Cmac06CCmac06 Posts: 1
    edited 03/12/2015 - 3:31 PM
    My Fusion was in 2010 and it was because my disc was gone. Prior to the surgery I had been going for injections, and taking pain killers with some success, but then I took a nasty fall on a concrete floor and that removed all hope not having the surgery. I had anterior fusion at L5/S1 and since then the pain at that spot has subsided. The new problem that I have is, 7 months following surgery my back went into full spasm and has not stopped in almost 4 years now. I take methocarbomal daily and if I don't, the spasms return with a vengeance. I have had MRIs and they all show normal, but yet I have spasms still. I have been through PT, with 4 different therapists and that did nothing for them. 1 month ago I began acupuncture and that has begun to provide some relief, but I go 2 times a week and I missed a week and they were back worse.

    All in all I have to say that if I did not have the spasms, the fusion would be great because it greatly decreased my pain level.
  • I had surgery at L5/S1 for an infection of "unknown origin" in 2002. Prior to surgery, I had herniated disks at L5/S1 and my back would go out for 3-4 days about twice a year. I would take anti-inflammatory meds and muscle relaxers and stay in bed till back felt okay. And then I got the infection that was so painful I couldn't even walk and surgeon said I had about one week to live and infection (size of a baseball) would burst and kill me. Surgeon was in there 3 1/2 hours getting all infection out and didn't do infusion. It resulted in Post Lamenectomy Peripheral Neuropathy. with numbness and excruciating pain in both legs from knees to toes. The surgeon saved my life but the surgery also decreased my quality of life by about 50%. I have been on expensive pain meds for 13 years now. Meds make pain bearable but activity is limited. I think if I hadn't had infection and just infusion, I might have been okay. If you can have laser surgery vs. invasive surgery, you might come out okay. Good luck.
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