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Adjacent fusion level curiosity

wally2wwally2 Posts: 75
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello everyone, I am not needing surgery for lumbar disk region yet, However, I am curious as to how many of you who have had lower back disk surgery experienced adjacent level disk problems after surgery vs how many have not. This is especially for those long term surgery recipients. This is my main concern if I need surgery down the road.

Also, my spine surgeon at a well known spine center here in Omaha, NE, has been researching just replacing the disk nucleus for future operations instead of removing the whole disk, does anyone have an idea when this type of research will be reality?


  • Good Question. I was going to ask my Dr. that question tomorrow.

    I was fused at L5-S1. My MRI showed that L3 & L4 are already bugled. My question, How long before they herniate? I guess it depend on how easy I take it?

  • This is the chance we take when we are having a fusion. It will definitely put more stress on the adjacent vertebrae. I guess that is why we have to be careful for the rest of our lives.

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  • I was told that the risk was relatively low, like 10% to 15% - of course it depends upon how well you look after yourself and building up lumbar core muscle strength after fusion is critically important.

    Of all the lumbar joints to have fused, L5-S1 offers the least risk of contributing towards a future adjacent disc herniation
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • on the state of your back. When I first injured mine, I had herniated and or bulging discs on 4 levels however as I only had symptons for the left side L4-5, that was what the Dr did. He only did laminectony & discectomy at the time but did say that due to the state of my other discs I would probably be needing a fusion in the future.
    So 7 years later I had L3-S1 fused and we hope that as long as I look after myself I wont need L2 done (bulging disc and DDD).

    So as which most things there is no clear cut answer.

    Blessings Sara
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