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Excellent Paper in Spinal Instability and Spinal Fusion Surgery

BruceBBruce Posts: 516
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:21 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
The following article provides probably the most comprehensive and most unbiased information that I have come across in a long time regarding spinal instability and spinal fusion surgery, including risks and outcome.


It is not too difficult to read but is quite 'medical' in places - I thoroughly recommend anyone who is considering fusion surgery to read it.

Keep positive!


...an old timer here and ex-moderator



  • That made for a very good and interesting read Bruce.

    Thanks Again,
    CHristina :)
  • Thank you Bruce for the great article!

    I had a PLIF in January for spondy, DDD & major numbness in leg/foot + sciatic involvement, etc. Lots of instability @ L4/5 & terrible pain. I am now 24 weeks "out" and continue to feel better every week. The spondy is corrected (I am totally "straight") the DDD is gone (of course, as the disk is gone) and aside from the usual post-op pain in the surgical site (which will continue for some time yet) my muscles are getting stronger, I stand so nice & tall & my leg/foot discomfort have been reduced significantly.

    As was said on the the other thread, fusion surgery, if done for the correct reasons, can be quite helpful. In my case, it corrected 90% of my basic problems (I still have some disk problems @ other levels, but nothing major) and gave me back an almost-normal life. I don't expect to ever bee 100% pain-free, but then, who is?! I can live w/ this, I can function, I can work, I can enjoy life again, etc.

    I have an excellent, caring & conservative NS & that is also "key". If you trust your doc & s/he is technically competent & has explored (with you) all the other options (& believe me I tried them ALL) then when/if you decide on a fusion, you'll be well-informed, prepared and hopeful.

    Fusion surgery is a commmitment to being diligent AFTERWARDS as well: take it slow & easy, don't expect too much too soon, give your body a LONG time to recover & keep positive. When I get "down" some days, I only have to think about how lousy I was last fall & how much better I am now, in spite of the after-pain (which is different than the "before" pain) & I count myself very fortunate that my surgery produced such a helpful result.

    My NS said to figure a year-18 months until we'd know for sure just how I'll eventually feel; but my latest x-rays & MRI show good bone growth, a nice straight spine & no negative indicatons of anything amiss, etc.

    Thank you again, Bruce! As we say here "Ya done good!"

  • Hello all. Thank you Bruce for the many helpful posts!

    The following article from NEJM may interest those with spondy trying to decide whether to have surgery: http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/356/22/2257 the authors also researched patients without spondy.
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