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Fusion surgery for Pars defect L4-L5

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

First post ever here. 34 years old with lower back pain for about a year or so. Doctors say 70% degeneration at L4-L5. Likey related to the instability created by bi lateral pars defect.

Pain only in lower back, mainly right side. Bending at the waist is painful and slow.

I can't seem to find much information on surgery options for someone in my shoes. Any knowledge that can be shared on surgery options, past experince and good surgeons in Texas would be greatly appreciated.

I've done all the expected steps before the surgey option. It appears the pars defect will continue to cause instability and in turn pain and contiuned disc wear.

How will a one level fusion effect my once active lifestyle. (kayaking, surfing, etc)

Thank you



  • Hi Texas, I had exactly that- pars defect L4, caused DDD L4-5. Something snapped in my back jumping off a counter when I was 17, and I have had on and off back issues ever since. So after 20 years of nursing and gaining some weight my pars defect started to slip giving me spondylolisthesis L4 on L5. I did 2 years of conservative treatment. I have had back pain for so long, I just ignored it for the most part. What I couldn't ignore was the leg pain, first right and then left, that gave me a limp. I also had a lot of crunching in my back with every slight movement. So I am 11 weeks post PLIF L4-5. My surgeon said my spinous process and bil lamina were just detached sitting in there moving all around, explains the crunching. And yippee, I crunch no more:)!

    This fusion surgery is definitely a long haul. I have only totally been out of my brace for 1 week. I am going to PT. I am suppose to go back to bedside nursing soon, but not feeling ready yet. I have mild pain now- back and SI joints, and occassionally down leg (but no limp). I feel really stiff but am slowly getting more movement. I have read of many Spineys returning to an active lifestyle, but it will definitely take some time. You might check into minimally invasive fusion surgery. Mine was open, 6+ inch incision opened up from L1 to S2, and believe me I can feel all those weak angry muscles that were cut. I will put a link for it here. This video is very informative about fusion in general as well.

    SH is a great site of information and support. So glad you found us. Ask all the questions you like. Take care, Cali-Sue
  • Hi Oh2bback, welcome to SH. You had found a great site full of information and support. I think everyone is different with there symptoms of spondylolisthesis. It really depends how the spondy is affecting the nerves. Texas above has low back pain. I had it too, but it was not my primary concern. What led me to surgery was hip pain that radiated from within my hip join across groin, down inside front of leg to knee and sometimes foot. It started on the right in 4/06 and switched to the left on 2/06. My spondy was unstable, so things were moving around and changing.

    Have you tried any conservative measures? Injections or such? I did get several weeks of relief with these the first 3 times. There is always the concern that waiting will further the nerve damage or make it permanent. It is really a guessing game to some extent.

    The recovery is definitely a long process. Keep reading here on SH and you will get lots of fusion stories.

    Goodluck, Cali-Sue
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  • Hey guys, I had the exact same surgery three months ago due to extreme pain on my left side (L4-L5). I had the surgery due to "bone pain" from the bilateral pars defects. I was still having moderate pain and I returned to the doctor. The doctor told me that none pain is common and put me back in the brace full time as well as forbidding me from doing the extremely light hamstring stretches that his physical therapist provided. Now I am really stiff and I can still "feel" the source of the bone pain that I was having pre-op, but the pain has subsided shince I do nothing other than daily walks. Did anyone experience this? I'm going back for an MRI next week because this isn't really normal. Being 31 years old and active I am hoping that maybe I just pushed things too hard, but havin the same pain 3 months after having an extensive surgery to stop it is a bit unnerving.

    I know this thread is a few years old but it the only one similiar to my situation. What's your thoughts? How are you feeling today? This surgery is tough!
  • Hi Noble I am 9 weeks post op L4 L5 Degenerated discs and herniated, pinched sciatic nerve. The crippling pain dissapated immediately after surgery, I am still dealing with the "reminder pain" especially when I over do it. I was supposed to start PT but numbness started two weeks ago I had to back off. I had a busy weekend with guests so I am in excruciating pain for the last two days. Walking is fine, bending, lifting all irrate terrible. I am extremly frustrated and just want to get back to normal. Like you I am able to walk fine.I am 32 years old. How did your MRI go? I am going back to the Doctor tomorrow so hopefully it is inflammation from overdoing it.
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