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Newbie, do I, don't I have surgery?

webbo80wwebbo80 Posts: 1
edited 05/25/2015 - 9:53 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hello All,
Having read some of the posts on this forum, I felt that I needed to join and seek some help, reassurance and advice.

A little brief history first, I had a Spinal Fusion of S1/L5 approx 20 years ago, and have suffered constantly ever since. The problem I have is that the disks between L4 and L2 and my SI joints are also degenerative and have caused chronic pain for the 20 years. In 1998 I went to see my consultant who told me that things will only get progressively worse and that I should get on with it as I would more than likely be in a wheelchair within 5 years! Wisely or unwisely I have defied that prognosis and have only been using one for the last 2 years when I'm out.

In 2008, I went to get a second opinion from a Neurosurgeon, who told that my condition had worsened and that the vertbrae at L3 had slipped forward and was starting to crush the nerves. At that time he suggested a full fusion from L4/L2 and I thought about it, but as my wife had just had our daughter I decided against it as I was managing my pain.

Fast forward to 2012 and I was called to see my Neuro again, I had new scans done and they show a slight worsening of the L3 slippage and it was suggested again that I might want to consider surgery and when he described some of the complications that may occur, I must admit I bottled it! Now, I was called again at the back end of last year and I saw my Neuro's Registrar, who listened intently as I told him that in the interim years I'd had 3 knee op's and x-ray's of my hips and knees which had shown some wear and tear and arthritis setting in and that these area's were my concern due to the weakness I felt in my legs and feet.

I was sent for some nerve induction tests which concluded that I had historical damage at S1/L5 (no news there then) and that there was also signs of new damage higher up at L3. So, when I went back to see the Registrar again in February, we agreed that surgery was NOT the right path for me due to the problems with my hips and knees, and as long as I promised that IF: I lost control of my bodily functions or my legs got sevrely worse, that I would call them, not them call me!

May 2015, a letter arrived for me to go and see my Neuro again! After a long chat and an examination my Neuro does a complete U turn on the decision of only a couple of months ago, and was now recommending that I have the surgery. To say I was gutted, confused and upset at this is an understatement and I still feel like I'm in shock, But I don't know what to do. Yes I'm frightened, but half of me says, last throw of the dice give it ago?

Is there anyone out there who has been in a similar position and can offer up any reassurance or advice, please drop me a line.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Doug Hell

    Also working with us very closely is Allison Walsh from the Spine-Health company


    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    My legs extremely weak and often times give out. If I carry anything, my legs give out. My PM/neurologist said that is part of my spinal issues.

    When your neuro changed his mind and now recommends surgery, did he explain why? Did testing reveal worsening re your spine? Being confused, upset and in shock would seem to indicate his reasoning didn't completely work for you.
    Sounds like you need more clarification and or have more questions for doctor.

    Maybe doctor did not want to wait for legs to worsen or wait for urinary or bowel involuntary and out of your control.
    Maybe with your conditions, which tests have shown to worsen, he believes worsening in these areas are likely. I don't know.

    You may be at least half kidding about throwing the dice....like .......eenie, meanie, mighty, moe, I pick.....

    Please go into surgery with full understanding.
    Talking with doctor again may help making that decision a lot easier.

    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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