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Spinal fusion L5, S1

Hi al. I've been reading discussions on here for a while now so I thought I would start my own about my situation and would love to here from people who have had or are going to have a spinal fusion.

Over the last couple of years I have had countless injections and two failed microdisectomys. The surgeon who performed these has since retired. I have now been to see the surgeon who has taken over and he tells me that I need a spinal fusion to treat my L5 S1 bulging disc.

My problem is that I have cramps and spasms in my leg which keep me awake most nights. I can cope with the pain in my back pain at the moment. I have read that the pain in your back gets a lot worse after having a fusion. The surgeon tells me that he is hoping to get me talents 50% better than I am now. Which doesn't seem that much to me.

Any advice from people who have had or going to have a fusion would be much appreciated. Thank you

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Comments

  • hi paddyoh

    welcome to spine-health

    surgery is normally suggested after all other attempts have failed to improve and there is still risk to nerves etc.

    everybody situation is unique so members can only share their own experiences and their spine condition could be different to yours.

    i also suffered terrible cramps and spasms before my fusion surgery and they have reduced dramatically.  surgery will always increase pain for the post op period.  i was told 3 years ago that surgery would not reduce back pain, but was being performed to deal with my nerve impingement .

    i have added two links below to help new members with information and these also contain the forum rules.  there is lots of material to research that will give you the power of knowledge.

    welcome to spine health


    aj 


    AJGormit

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    L5/S1 herniation Apr 2013
    nerve root injections Oct 2013
    L5/S1 discectomy Jan 2014
    L5/S1 nerve roo &, facet joint injections & edpidural Jan 2015
    L5/S1 revised discectomy, L4/L5 discectomy & Wallis Inswing Stabilisation L4/L5 May 1st 2015
    L4-S1 TLIF with decompression June 2017
  • Thanks for that. I was just thinking if I can cope with the pain in my back then should I go ahead with a fusion. I am a postal worker and I am worried about my job. It's ok saying yes to a fusion but I have to think of the future as well. Will I be able to do the job I've being doing for the last 16 years



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  • I way I approach thoughts about surgery was what was causing the pain and would that damage my nerves and cause issues from the damage.

    I have had back pain for years but when my nerves in my legs became involved and I developed numbness, I had to assess the future damage that would happen if I didn't have surgery.

    Only your surgeon can answer some of your questions.  I can understand why you are worrying about work and the best thing is to ask your surgeon about the operation, post op and weight restrictions for your future.  Maybe make a list of the things are need to know and take that to your next appointment or call to discuss, if you do not have an appointment set.

    It is difficult and everybodys treatment is different and everybodys view are different, but if your nerves are being damaged by your bulging discs, that is the area to think about and talk to your surgeon, about what would happen if you didn't have surgery.  That way, you can assess with or without surgery to go forward.

    Please keep us updated

    AJ

    AJGormit

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    L5/S1 herniation Apr 2013
    nerve root injections Oct 2013
    L5/S1 discectomy Jan 2014
    L5/S1 nerve roo &, facet joint injections & edpidural Jan 2015
    L5/S1 revised discectomy, L4/L5 discectomy & Wallis Inswing Stabilisation L4/L5 May 1st 2015
    L4-S1 TLIF with decompression June 2017
  • Thanks Aj I'm going to make a appointment with my surgeon and write a whole load of questions down that I can ask him so that I don't forget. The last time I saw him was just over a week ago and he told me there would be a six to nine month wait for a fusion yet I had my pre assessment Monday just gone. I asked the nurse and she said that the pre assessment only lasts 3 months so if you ar having it now then I can only guess you will be having your fusion within 3 months.

  • Good luck with the list of questions.  It really does help to have something to refer to as a tick list sometimes.

    I will look out for your surgery date

    AJ

    AJGormit

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    L5/S1 herniation Apr 2013
    nerve root injections Oct 2013
    L5/S1 discectomy Jan 2014
    L5/S1 nerve roo &, facet joint injections & edpidural Jan 2015
    L5/S1 revised discectomy, L4/L5 discectomy & Wallis Inswing Stabilisation L4/L5 May 1st 2015
    L4-S1 TLIF with decompression June 2017
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  • tjlazerttjlazer TacomaPosts: 44
    edited 03/01/2018 - 2:16 PM

    How bad is the herniation at L5/S1?  You had 2 microdiscectomies, did those help at all?  Did you reherniate?  They say to avoid a Fusion unless you are in so much pain that you are fed up, as a last resort.  There are spine specialists that can do some minimally invasive surgeries from a different angle which might help, that is where I am at now.  They are called Transforaminal decompressions, where they go from the angle not dead center like a normal Micro D.  These are mostly for foraminal stenosis, but can also do a similar one at the L5/S1 level called Translaminar Discectomy.  From what I understand, the Fusion is mostly for instability of the spine, or if you have a slipped vertibrae that needs to be fixed.  But if your nerves are being crushed then a fusion will help too. Depends on how bad it is.  Good luck

  • Sorry for late reply. The only change after the  microdisectomys is that I'm not scared to have a sneeze. Might sound silly but I was laid on my back one night, sneezed, the pain excruciating. All down my left side, I couldn't even turn my neck a centimetre without it bringing on more pain, I spent 4 days min hospital with that.

    I have not reherniated, it's always been the same.

    I have pain from the waist down to the end of my foot on the left side. It's worse if I walk for a while. Or doing any activities that need me to keep my legs bent for a certain amount of time or having my back bent forward.

    The surgeon who operated on both microdisectomys has since retired. I'm seeing a new surgeon who says the next step is fusion. He also says that the S1 nerve could be permanently damaged and they won't no till after surgery because he says that there isn't a test in the world that would show whether it was or not.

    My S1 nerve has always had the L5 disc bulging on to it.


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