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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Lower Back Pain
I am no stranger to back surgery. My first was for a ruptured disc 26 years ago, worked great, the second was three years ago for another buldging disc, scare tissue and a cyst which gave symptoms of with severe back and leg pain. I was opnly in the hospital 1 night recop at home for 4 weeks and everything has been great unti about 3 weeks and I hurt my back again.My neurosurgeon has suggested to stablize my lower back by using rods and pins and bone grafts. I really like this MD. He has spent hours explaining and going over the surgury he suggests, but I am VERY worried about this extensive 8 hour surgury 5 day hospital stay and 4 week recovery. I have only hear horry stories. Other patients say the leg pain, weekness and numbness is gone but they have constance severe back pain with limited mobility. HELP!!! KR


  • Please check out the surgery section and I feel that you will find lots of info there. One thing to remember is that the failed surgeries are mostly the only ones that keep posting on this forum. Most of the people with success stories have gone on with their life, back to work etc and have little to no time to post here. So you are really looking at a lopsided picture when you look here. I too am fearful of the odds with a fusion but if it is the only thing left to try and you can not manage your pain in any other way it may be what you need to do. Have you tried getting a couple more opinions? That is always a good thing to do when faced with major surgery. Good luck to you and I feel sure that one of the success stories will come along anytime now to offer you support.
  • Please, please, get not only a 2nd opinion but a 3rd and 4th if needed! And, you must make sure that you have found the best surgeon that you can find. Someone who does ONLY the spine, not just any old bones. I had a failed Laminectomy and went straight to a spine fusion, the biggest mistake of my life. I was later told by my my 2nd surgeon, the one who had to perform reconstructive surgery because of the fusion, that I only needed another Laminectomy. That was all I needed, a 2nd Laminectomy and my life would have been so different.

    The last surgery that I had was my 3rd. This was performed by my "good" surgeon. It was a reconstructive surgery to repair the mess that was made from the spine fusion. This surgery lasted over 8 hours and I was in ICU for 4 days. I was in very critical condition. My hospital stay was 7 days in total. I was delirous from the pain and from my body trying to shut down. I had begged my husband to make the surgeons take it back, that I didn't want it after all. That's how delirious I was! Of course with any surgery that last's 8 hours you have to have blood transfusions, but I also had to have them for 2 days after in ICU. The pain from this was worse than anything that I could ever have comprehended!

    I don't want to scare you away from a surgery that you may "have" to have. I just want to let you know what my experience was like. I wouldn't expect yours to be as bad as mine, since mine was reconstructive and I had been cut open both on the front and on the back. That's even harder to recover from. I just want to make sure that a surgeon doesn't have you jump into anything that you don't need. That's why you need more than one or two second opinions. And it's also why I want to make sure that you have the most experienced surgeon possible in this field. As I said, if I would have had the best surgeon from the beginning, I wouldn't have needed that 3rs surgery and my life would have been so different.

    Once you have gotten all of the doc's opinions, and have found the best surgeon, you might have a great life with no or very little pain. I certainly hope so. I hope that I haven't scared you off, I don't want to do that by any means. I just want to give you the best advice that I can so you can make the most informed decision. Keep us up to date on what you decide and I wish you the best of luck. If you have any questions, feel free to pm me any time. I will be happy to answer anything!
    Take care,
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  • thanks for your info, i have decided to get 2nd opionion.ct scan shows disc sliped at l 3 enough to touch nerve but pain has gone down to about a3 out of 10. right leg tingle and some hip pain, i talked to a guy yesterday had fusion low back ,he said no pain down leg anymore but back hurts all the time at level 8 or 9 out 10. i really dont want a fusion now but i dont want to do any permanent damage either. thanks for your help what do you think about my plan. k.r
  • I had severe sciatica with my herniated disk and after all of the surgeries that I have had, I still have a lot of severe nerve damage down my left leg. From my buttocks, thigh, calve, ankle, and foot. The whole thing. But it's nerve damage now rather than the actual sciatica. There is a big difference between the two. Are you having sciatica? I don't remember at this point.

    A 3 out of 10 on the pain scale is great! I stay between a 8 to 9! But you do need to get that 2nd opinion. If there is anything dangerous going on you definatly don't want to ignore that. I wish there had been a message board like this before I had ever had any of my surgeries. Actually, there might have been but I didn't have a personal computer yet. At the time, I didn't even know what sciatic pain was and no doctor was telling me. I just kept going on with this awful pain and dragging my leg behind me when I walked.

    I discovered what was wrong with me about a month before I had to have emergency surgery. I had gone out on my own and had a MRI done. Yes, I had some very bad doctors at that time but I didn't know it yet. That's why I'm urging you to find the best surgeon possible. Seriously, make sure the surgeon ONLY works on spines. I ended up going to a Spine Care Center in Phoenix, where this was their only specialty. I was too naive and trusting to have gone there in the first place. I didn't have any experience with this type of situation and didn't know anyone who did.

    In the end, you will be luckier than I was/am. When you speak to the next doc, tell him your concerns about not wanting any permanent damage in your leg but at the same time you're not overly enthused about the fusion either. If you get two different opinions from 2 doc's, I would suggest a 3rd opinion. It's really the best advice that I can give. This is a decision that can seriously impact the rest of your life and you need to make the best informed decision. Feel free to pm me anytime if you have any questions, and I'll check back here also. I'm wishing you the very best of luck! :H
  • jewels thanks , pain down leg with leg weakness , idont know why it has got so much better. 3wks of 9pain level to 3 now ,does not make me wont fusion. he said to stabilize levels 2and 3 or it will keep on doing this. been 4 years and not had any problems untill now. pulled on heavy equipment on farm and felt something pop . begining of problem. k.r
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  • I remember the exact moment when my own back "popped"! The pain was excruciating! Is the pain in your leg getting worse or better? I know that your back is feeling better but unsure about the leg. For some people "me" after they have surgery the weakness and numbness are still there. Let me know about the leg pain! :SS
  • jewels, pain in low back almost gone, leg weak but tingles, sinsation of tingles and some pain not alot now from hip to knee calf of leg kinda like its asleep, slept all night last night for achange very little pain very confusing.k.r
  • At this rate, you may not need any surgery at all. Let's hope so! I have all of the exact same pain in my leg that you've described, but worse. My leg feels like it's asleep a lot of the time and it always has a "numb & tingly" feel to it. My butt even feels this way on one side only. I have to admit, it feels really uncomfortable to sit on the toilet. Even after all of these years I'm still not used to that weird feeling and I hate it when I have to go pee. Yes, I'm being fairly blunt, but if not here, then where? There are times, actually a lot of them, when I'm just sitting on the sofa and my entire butt and leg will go completely numb, like it's asleep. This just started in the last year. Shrugging my shoulders! At this point I can't stress the point hard enough to get another opinion. This may end up going away all on it's own. Actually, if this is all that you ever have you will be extremely lucky. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed for you! Maybe my toes too!
    Hang in there,
  • i've been suffuring with lower back pain for a good 10yrs before i decided to have my fussion L3-L4-L5

    I've been sleeping on a lazyboy recliner for the last 15yrs
    i decided to have a fussion last july after a good 14 yrs of pain and i honestly have to say its was the worst decission i could have made. at least for me anyway..

    even thought i had to sleep on a recliner....at least i was able to get some sleep and work the next day!

    now 13 months after my fussion and i'm in worst pain then i've ever been in and i'm lucky to get 3-4 hrs sleep each nite...(on my recliner)!

    Now the doctor wants to take out the hardware: six screwss and two rods then i should "feel much better"

    he says thats the only thing it could be..he says some patience can live with the hardware and some can't
    i guess i'm a can't..

    Now i guess i'm hoping to find someone out there that had the hardware removed and got some relief?

    so now i hear about this laser treatment stuff,i'm looking into laser treatment for cronic pain, and i suggests you do the same...try anything before a back fussion or any kind of back surgery
  • KR--- Glad your pain is doing better! Really think about it before surgery. After 4 doctors said I needed surgery I finally had S1-L4 fused in April. I still haven't started to fuse and I have a lot more back and leg pain then pre op. The tingling and numbness is worse to. But there are alot of people out there who have had very successful surgeries. I guess it's kind of a crap shoot. I can say that if nothing else good comes from my surgery at least I have been smoke free for 7 months so that is one very big positive! Good luck in your decision making and try to have patience.
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