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Confused about pending surgeries

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,082
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi folks,
I am so confused! Maybe someone can help me?
Is a fusion different than Artifical disc replacement? I am having both cervical and lumbar surgery (one in October and the lumbar is in December.) The first surgery is called an anterior cervical discectomy fusion C3-7 + or - 1.
But what confuses me is that the doctor doing the surgery is talking about using artifical dics called Prestige or Prevail. He is an excellent surgeon and is on the cutting edge ( no pun intended ) "of height for life" and spinal innovations from medtronics company.

In Dec. if I feel up to it ( and he claims I will ) I am having Lumbar surgery ( I had it once in 2000 with good results- no fusion ) this time I am having L3, S1 fusion 3 discs. The paperwork says: Open ALIF/ Post Lami Fusion L2 S1 +/-
I really am not sure what I am in for.
Can anyone please help me?
Gratefully yours,
Matelasse : :S


  • Yes, I too would be confused as they are different surgeries. Maybe your Dr hadn't made up his mind as to which is the best one for you.
    A fusion is where they remove the disc and replace it with a bone graft which can be taken either from your bone, cadaver bone or sometimes they use a bone growth hormone (BMP). That flls the gap where your disc used to be everything is held in place with screws and rods. Eventually the graft will fuse itself to the vertebrae creating a "fusion"
    A disc replacement is different as even though the old disc is removed, it is replaced with an artifucual one. I dont know as much about these but they do these differnent surgeries for different conditions.

    I am a bit suprised that he would want to do 2 big surgeries within several months of each other.
    It takes a while to recover and I had L3-S1 done (also had correction to scoliosis and other things) in May and I am still not up to par yet. Getting there but am still having PT and minumal BLT-bending lifting twisting.

    I really think you need to go back and see your Dr, get hime to explain the procedure to you properly so you will know what to expect. ALIF is where the incision is throguh the abdomen.
    You also need to find out about recovery period so you can arrange for help at home etc.

    There is a great thread here about what you need before hospital. Have a look at that as I think it includes some questions for your Dr. DOnt be overwhelmed by the lists as most things are not necessary or may not apply to you.
    WIthout a doubt you will need long handled reachers!
    Hope this has helped you a bit and there is also videos you can watch on this site that may help as well.
    PM me if you need to
    Blessings Sara O:)

  • hello matelasse, welcome to sh. there is a lot of information and support here on the forum. i think you need to do a lot of research. here on sh go to the treatment-surgery page for lots of articles and videos. browse the site as it is full of information about conditions and surgeries. you might also try the spineuniverse website
    or just google the surgeries and you are sure to find lots of info. those are 2 major surgeries with potentially long recoveries. make sure you are well informed. write down questions for your doctor and take a notepad with you to your appointments. if you are feeling confused, uninformed, then you need to speak at length with your surgeon until you have all your questions answered.
    have you exhausted all conservative measures? as surgery should always be a last resort when nothing else is relieving your pain. i presume the cervical surgery is scheduled first because statistically it is a shorter recovery than lumbar, although each person and experience is different. also your lumbar surgery says anterior and posterior, so sounds like maybe it is a 360 degree fusion, which means opening the abdomen and the back. please get yourself informed so you can make an educated decision about all of this. good-luck, :) sue
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  • Matelasse, did you find out any more from your Dr. I would be really interested in hearing what he said.

    Sara O:)
  • Jeez. That's a lot of stuff going on. I really can't believe your Dr would do those two major surgeries THAT close together. In fact, I can't believe he would give you a time frame for BOTH already. One is enough to handle to begin with. You need to prepare yourself for that one, understand everything, get everything you need.... Have the surgery, focus on THAT recovery... And THEN whenever it is you feel ready for the next one, begin the planning for that. My Dr. won't even do a Discectomy and a one level fusion within 6 weeks of each other, let ALONE something that major. I actually don't think my Dr would do two of those major surgeries within one year. But like the others say, each person is different... And as each person is different, so is each doctor.

    I definitely don't think you should agree to any surgeries until they are FULLY explained to you. If I were you, I'd make a list of all the questions I had... Write them all down, and make an appointment JUST to ask the questions. I did that and had a great wealth of answers from it. Could maybe work for you too?

    Anyway, that's a lottttttt going on for ya, so I wish you the best and hope things go as you'd like them to. Good luck :)
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