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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
After a year and a half of treatment, including: physical therapy, chiro, cortisone injection, anti-inflammatory meds, heat/ice, microdiscectomy surgery, aquatic physical therapy, neurontin, and narcotic pain meds, my Neurosurgeon scheduled me for a lumbar fusion. (L4-L5)

She said she uses plastic cages, and morphogenic bone protein? I think she said it was called... Going in through the front... And that she's going to use a metal clamp between the two vertebrae on the laminas (think that's what they're called), going through the back, right where my scar is from the first surgery, to make it even more stable... And since I am only 22 and otherwise healthy, and a non smoker, that she's going to do the clamp instead of screws and rods.

Has anyone had a fusion like this? And if so, how did it turn out? I have sciatica, and after the first surgery, it got SEVERE after the first two days, then with valium and steroids it got better for about a week, then has slowly gotten worse again. She said that tells her that it's most likely being caused by the problem in the disc space from DDD. Apparently there is still a bulge in the canal, even though she removed all the disc material that was spilled out into it...

So if there is anyone who has had a similar situation and can give me their experience, it would be greatly appreciated. I know it could be a lot worse, but I feel kind of young to be having this kind of back problem already, so talking to people who have been there would be a nice comfort.

Thanks in advance :)



  • I haven't had the type of surgery you are describing, but my back problems started when I was 21 years old so I can totally relate. I have learned that back problems do not discriminate against age, it's totally unfair. Your age should help you to make a good recovery though, so good luck with everything and let us know how you get on. Hugs, Spicey :)
  • Sorry I haven't hear of this type of fusion before. Do you know the name of it?

    I just wanted to say that before any surgery, it really is important to get at least 1 other opinion form an ortho spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon. You just need to be sure you are having what is right for you.

    Blessings Sara
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  • How long until you are scheduled for you surgery?

    I just had a fusion with BMP, but my NS only went in through the back - a PLIF. If your Dr. is going in through the front (ALIF) and the back, it's possible, they do that sometimes; then it sounds like you're getting both.

    I am not familiar with the clamp vs. screws and rods. But since you did not get any relief from the microdiscectomy, you probably really are looking at the fusion now to get relief.

    You can probably count on a lot longer of a recovery period(although since it sounds like your micro failed, then you are probably used to this already) and more restrictions with the full fusion vs. the micro. At least from what I know of my husbands micro recovery vs. my fusion. You just have to be super extremely good at following all the Dr.'s orders on bending lifting twisting etc. to make sure you get healed this time.

    Best of luck and glad you found the site :)
  • I appreciate the comments :)

    Not sure the name of the surgery. My doctor's office is pretty much the best around. One of the partners graduated first in his class, and has given seminars all over the world. They are a really, really good group. Three in the practice. Mine is the only female.

    I considered getting second and third opinions, but my insurance is not the greatest, so I'm not sure what they would cover, and how long they'd take to approve it. I pretty much HAVE to fix my back soon so I can get back to work. I'm a single mother of an Autistic child, moved out at 18, support myself, so this not working thing is really difficult. I have to take care of my son and I have to be able to pay my bills or him and I will end up homeless.

    The best thing about my Neurosurgeon is that she is conservative. She had me try pretty much everything accept acupuncture. She never brought it up, but one of the P.A.'s at the office did. I told him no. I have an insane fear of needles, and acupuncture can't fix a shot disc, so I'd rather not go through it for nothing. The Aquatic physical therapy works awesome for strengthening back muscles, which I think is something I'm gonna end up having to do after fusion, again. I don't mind. It's so much better than regular P.T. The warm water pool provides a much less stressful environment on the back. The way that my Neuro is doing the surgery really sounds like the best idea possible. I've done a lot of research over the past year and a half, and from all the information I've gotten, removing the disc from the front is the best, because you can clear it all out, and securing it in the back as well as the front is double support... And using plastic cages instead of metal, with BMP instead of doing a bone graft. That's what I would choose, if it were all left up to me, and I've done my research on my Dr. She has amazing reviews and satisfactory statistics, so I am pretty confident in her. The bottom line is really that I've tried everything aside from Fusion... No doctor will convince me to continue living like this. At 22 and not being able to bend over the tub to wash my son in the bath... I'd MUCH rather try surgery than deal. I figure if it doesn't work, it doesnt work... But at least I'll know I tried.

    Maybe that's a bad way of looking at things... I don't know. I'm young and haven't been in the whole surgery scene very long like some of the people here. I appreciate all opinions and views, though. I really do. So thank you again!
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