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Need advise on Surgery for Spondyloptosis L5 / S1

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all..after years of bear able pain and numbness in my left leg from my buttock till my toe and constant back pain..at last i decided to look at surgery as a treatment..was scared of it all these while..

I had tried all kinds of treatment there is from chinese acupuncture to chiropractic and natural treatment etc2..but left with no choice but a surgery in the end..as the doctor warned and said that you are not allowed to have a child unless u have bedrest for the 9 months ! I am 25 years old now and looking forward to settle down so I guess I need it..even though I dont have a candidate for a life partner yet..ok thats another different story..

At the moment, I am extremely confused onto which surgery options I should choose as after much research and many consultations, I realize there is quite a few different approach..and also which doctor I should look for the surgery..

There is the stabilization and decompression..vertebrectomy which consist of removing the L5 bone which seems pretty scary..

Yeah I am just curious if any of you, had a spondyloptosis surgery before ? Please advise..

Thank you, hope all of us will be pain free or have the finance to treat it, even though life problems are always there..God bless ^__^

Washington DC


  • Wow, I am amazed you have carried on this long. I only had 1st degree spondylolisthesis, I cannot imagine how anyone can even walk with your diagnosis! I say research these surgeons thoroughly. Call the hospitals they work at, check there credentials, ask them for patient referrals even. Find the best of the best in Spine specialist and go forward. I never heard of vertebrectomy for spondyloptosis. I have read about it, as it is similar to my dx. I have seen more with partial reduction and fusion. Good luck girl, and keep us posted, Sue
  • Hi Imelda,

    After many years of both back and sciatic pain due to spondy I had decompression surgery last December. I agree with Cali-Sue - research your surgeon and don't be afraid to ask countless questions. You will find some answers on this site. But keep asking your surgeon. If you don't feel comfortable asking now, it may be a sign he/she is just not right for you.

    Another suggestion - plan on a rather long recovery. Everyone is different - but decompression is not a simple surgery. Allow yourself time to heal - it will take awhile. I am nine months out and still battling. My surgery was worth it - but I must say I was not prepared to still have pain this long after it.

    Good luck to you, Jaycey
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  • Paul : Yeah i did have MRI and all the etc diagnosis, XRays..Now its only left with the decision making time which is the hardest..I am scared of choosing the wrong one though..

    Cali-Sue : Wow you do have spondylolisthesis too! At least I dont feel alone..Yeah I did search on lots of potential doctors..but somehow i am still unsure of what i should decide on..Vertebrectomy is not a common procedure i guess as it removed one of the L5 vertebra bone and connecting the L4 and S1 together but with this i need 1 and a half month bedrest !

    Jaycey: Ohh ic after nine months u still had pain ? but was the surgery successful ? or is it common to have pain even after 9 months? I am curious..that means i might heal an even longer time then..
  • Yep, mine was only 1st degree though, but unstable, and I had fusion L4-5 in situ, meaning not any reduction. My surgeon believes reduction can cause more nerve damage. But with your diagnosis, I think they would have to do a partial reduction from what I have read. Gotta have a little bit of alignment in order to get a cage or hardware in I would think. Please do a lot of research, and go with the surgeon you feel best with. Make sure he/she is a spine specialist and has done many surgeries for spondyloptosis, you don't want to be a science experiment :) Good-luck, Sue
  • I had a 11mm slip on l4/l5 at neutral pose with bilateral pars defects. L5/S1 was starting to go as well. I had decompression and laminectomy at both levels and auto graft fusion at L/4-5. Hardware (Dynesys) at both levels. My slip is now reduced to 5mm. It seems like the combo of hard and soft fusion is uncommon. It seems to have worked I am doing very well at 10 weeks out and I am *hoping* to return to my job as a mail carrier in 2-4 weeks if ok with my NS.

    The only conservative treatment I ever had was antiinflammatories...(shocker I know compared with most of the peeps here) the pars defect made my decision very simple and after toughing it out for 18 mos I had the surgery.

    Do all the research you can, find a doctor you trust and really consider your options carefully.
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  • Hi Imedlda,

    I too have / had unstable spondylolisthesis, grade 1, bilateral pars fractures and a few broken discs, annular tears etc. It hasn't been quite the walk in th epark I had hoped (hence my name!) BUT I am STILL hopeful. This is key to the success of ANY procedure you may have in the future.

    These are my few thoughts for what they are worth.
    NS seem to do necks and OS lumbar spines but I am guessing you are in US and then things are different there.
    As for surgery chioces, do YOu really have all these choices? I doubt it. What I mean is, once you have found the surgeon, he/she will have their own ideas of what your treatment options are. From the papers I have read, some docs will reduce and some won't for what appear to be equally sensible answers, but much will depend on YOU the Sugeon and then other factors like are you overweight, smoker, disabled, possible complications and likihood of success on surgical interventions. After all, a foolish doctor will attempt a procedure that will make our backs worse, espcially because mostly, the surgery is elective so each will only do what they are confident in completing.

    I wish you well on your journey. I agree with the others, prepare for a few years recovery on this one. With a bit of luck, you will find Mr Right along the way and have the baby after you've sorted out the back.

    You'll find a few of us Spondy bods on the boards, all with their tales and they are very helpful and supportive.
  • Imelda,

    In answer to your question - yes I think my surgery was successful. In my case I had major nerve problems for many years and tried to put off doing anything about it. It was only after the surgery I learned that one year to 18 months is normal for nerve recovery. There is also the issue that after surgery any little change can make your back unhappy. Sitting on the wrong type of chair or at a desk that is not the correct height for you can irritate a healing spine. These are things you learn to look out for. Keep posting here - there is lots of information and you are definitely not alone. Take care, Jaycey
  • Jaycey: Good to hear that you are healing well now..I was concern about the long healing but it seems inevitable i guess..hope u dont do anything to wreck your healing spine ok..wish u well..

    Cali-sue: Yeah thats true what u said but will it be fine to ask if he did lots of surgeries for spondyloptosis? i am afraid that he will feel as if i dont believe him..perhaps i should ask for his past patients phone no..just to have a chat about their experiences..

    Inafix: Hmm ur L5/S1 is starting to go as well..thats scary to go through surgery all over again then..I myself dont really like medications that much and tried to avoid them if i could especially the painkillers as i think they are not good for our overall long term body..might get dependent on them..

  • Yeah what u mentioned is so true, each different surgeon has their own way of thinking and approach and ideas for the treatment. That is the problem!

    Which makes me even more confused onto which doctor I should choose for the surgery..I hope the doctor that I choose eventually will try his best in avoiding complications and etc2..but I guess reduction is quite risky from the medical literature that I have read..

    Thank you..wish u well on your journey too..hey i see u have a revision PLIF coming soon in september..hope you will be fine and be blessed..

    Keep in touch after u recover from the surgery k..

  • I can not help but remember that so many people forget that they have alot of say about what a doctor can/cannot do to them. When i had my back surgery it told my doctor DO NOT TAKE BONE FROM MY HIP and he didn't. I told the oncology doctor that if i have cancer i refuse to take kemo or radition, they didn't like it but "tough nuggies"!! :)

    Evelyn 8}
    Had PLIF in 2008 and a Laminectomy. One level fusion, L4-L5.
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