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I am a 78 year old caucasian male who was diagnosed with lumbar stenosis in 2015. I had a lumbar laminectomy in October 2015 to relieve pain in my legs. This surgery was successful in that the pain was relieved almost immediately and after a week in hospital rehab, I was able to come home and walk without assistance or pain. However I was never able to regain complete mobility to the extent I had a year before the laminectomy. I discussed this with my neurosurgeon, but did nothing further other than physical therapy. Then in early May, 2018 I fell as a result of collapse of my left leg. This resulted in a 5 level lumbar fusion on May 4, 2018. I spent a week in the hospital and about 4 weeks in a hospital rehab unit doing physical therapy. When I went home I could walk short distances, but only with a walker. After about 4 months I was essentially pain-free, but still required the walker to walk. When walking I was not totally erect, but tended to lean forward supporting myself on the walker.
At this point, about 10 months since the fusion surgery I am still in essentially the same condition. About a month ago, I contacted a different neurosurgeon to assess my situation. I told him I was pain free, but was concerned by my lack of progress in mobility. He told me that he thought I had recovered ~ 75% of what I would eventually attain and that if I wanted to walk without the walker again I would need further surgery.
We did new Xrays which showed that my spine above the lumbar region was significantly curved forward. His proposed solution was to straighten the upper spine by insertion of 15 - 20 screws and rods. He discussed all of the risks and downsides of this surgery: significant pain in the first month, reduced freedom of movement, potential of failure of one or more of the surgical procedures requiring further surgery to repair, and general surgical risks associated with a surgery requiring 8 - 10 hours of sedation. He estimated a week in the hospital followed by possibly a month in hospital rehab unit before being able to come home. He thought I would be essentially pain free after about 2 months and regain most of the mobility I could expect after about 3 months, with full recovery in 6 - 12 months. He said that he does 3 - 4 similar surgeries a month so he has experience. He emphasized that if I could be satisfied with my current situation I should not do this surgery. Currently I will see him in about a week after I get some tests completed.
I would appreciate any thoughts or comments from members of this group, particularly from anyone who has experienced similar situation. Thank you very much.