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Spine Fusion surgeon cutting front of body and back

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
My surgeon has suggested they open me from the front go under my skin and around to the back. Then they will flip me over and open my back and put in the titanium rods.
L5 S1 One level fusion.

Help --- Not feeling so excited to be healed.


  • Welcome to spine health. :H

    Sorry you have to have surgery.
    Do your homework first. :B
    Personally I would not let anyone do a 360 fusion like that for 1 level.
    Yes they say here and there in articles that fusion sucess rates are better.
    But personally again if your going to fuse you are, if your not your not.

    I had a PLIF posterior lumbar interbody fusion I had a 6 inch scar in my back. They used inside stitches, glue and steri strips on the outside. I was comfortable. Not saying I was perfect. But I remember all to well what it was like having my stomach cut open to for my c sections like it was yesterday. I would not want to put myself through that.
    Now if there were more levels involed then mabye I would think about it. My father in law had 4 levels done and at the time yes a 360 was the best option.

    Its all up to you in the end. Get a second opinion if able as you do not seem comfortable with this one. Then you can compare notes from each surgeon. It does help in the process sometimes. Not always. They both may say the same thing.

    With that level when you go through the back you have access right there.

    You will hear everyone have a different opinion on this. You will hear from people that have had a 360 for 1 level and be fine.

    Its a long recovery no matter how you look at it. To me its a bit longer having being cut open in the front and back.

    GOOD LUCK TO you in your decision. I hope for you a sucessful surgery.
    Terri O:) O:) >:D< >:D<
  • Your surgery is what we refer to in here as a 360 fusion. I had one, a five level one, in April of 2007. Yes its scary. Yes it will hurt during your recovery. And yes, your recovery will take longer. However, this type of surgery gives the fusion a better chance to take so hopefully, no more surgeries will be required.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
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  • I would get a 2nd opinion just for one level for a 360 fusion. Research all that you can.

    On Oct 1st, I was cut from the front only (ALIF)..for the same disc..L5 S1. I am doing great. (I had also had 2 c-sections with my kids.) I had decided on this approach, because I was told by the doctor that the healing process would take longer through the back. The fusion time is the same.

    Did your doctor explain in detail, why you needed the 360 fusion?
  • My Neuro only performed the surgery from the front. I had my surgery in 2004. About 2 yrs ago I started having a lot of back pain once again. It is the same pain that I was having before surgery and in the same spot. I have had numerous injections, PT, X-Ray's, countless MRI's. My neuro is puzzled as to my MRI results. When I have the contrast injection and the MRI is performed again my L5 lights up. But only when the contrast was injected. HAve been tested for bone tumors and infection, which all have come back fine, so I am in the clear in taht department. Basically now he is having me see an Arthritis doc to get his opinion. I am also going to ask my neuro for a CT scan. Seem's like things are better explained in CT's vs. MRI's. Anyway depending on what this other doc say's, my neuro belives that he is going to have to do a second surgery through my back. He is going to put in another plate or rod to stablize the fusion. If I had it all to do again I would asked to have a 360 fusion, since that is what is basically going to happen again.
    If you feel you would like a second opinion, then do so, even a third if you would like. But with my personal experience I wish we would have done the 360 in the first place. Especially since it looks like surgery is once again in my near future!
    I hope this helps a little. And good luck with the decision that you make.
  • I had a one level 360 fusion at L4-L5 and I am very glad that I did. I feel awesome. The first few days in the hospital sucked, but 2 weeks post op I felt good. Really. It was NOWHERE near as bad as I thought it would be. At all. My doctor told me the reason she felt a 360 was warranted in my case was because I'm young. The physical demand on my body is greater than that of someone who is older. That's pretty much the general rule. I mean, compare what a 20 year old's body is going to do on a daily basis, compared to what a 60 year old's will go through. Ya know? It made perfect sense to me, and I also felt that based on the REALLY HIGH success rates for 360's, it was definitely what I wanted. Better safe than sorry! That's just my personal philosophy. I'm glad my surgeon wanted to be on the safer side. I also have a brace, soft velcro brace, but rigid in the back around the spine, which I love. Some surgeon's do not prescribe braces, and have their reasons they believe it to be the right thing to do... But for me personally, I'm really glad I have my brace. If I go without it for a long period of time, my back starts to hurt. If I wear it, I can do a lot more, then take it off and relax and my body doesn't hurt. She said it's just extra support... And again, better safe than sorry. I also am going to start physical therapy at some point. Another thing some doctors prescribe and other's don't. For me, I feel safer learning to do things the ergonomic way, and in a way that is least stressful on my body. I feel I can best heal and get my body back into shape under the guidance of a professional, not on my own. I feel that also is safer, better safe than sorry.

    Everybody has their own views, and their own reasoning, and that's totally cool. I respect that. For my personal situation, I am very glad my doctor chose the safer side of everything for me, anterior AND posterior, brace, and physical therapy. I feel I got the best of everything, and the best all around plan. And so far so good. I am close to 6 weeks post op, and I feel like I'm 6 months to a year post op! Can't wait to see how I feel then! :)

    I wouldn't worry too much, it really shouldn't be too bad if you are prepared. I was VERY pleasantly surprised when I got home from the hospital, how fast I started to feel good. I hope that happens for you, too :) Good luck with your surgery!
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  • I have an upcoming L4/L5 360 with titanium disc and hardwear. Faster fusion for my active life I guess. I need a disc replacement because mine is almost gone. I can't wait to have it over and Lo, I hope I am like you. I will let everyone know.
  • I, too, had a one level 360 fusion at L4-L5. My surgeon explained that with the degree of instability I had it would improve the chance of success and therefore reduce the chance of having to have another surgery.

    My front incision healed much faster than the back incision. For about the first couple of weeks it was more sore than the back incision but not awful.

    Like others have said it is always good to consider getting a second opinion.

  • Mine was the total opposite. My back felt fine but the incision on my stomach KILLED and actually still hurts if I cough or sneeze or laugh too hard... It was crappy as hell. How long is your stomach incision? And your back?
  • My front incision is about 4 inches and I think the back one is about 6 inches. Actually, the most painful spot was right at the top of my back incision - not sure why.
  • Mine is about 6 inches, and mine may be more tender because the bottom of it isn't too far from my 10 inch long horizontal scar from my c-section with my son. I still can't believe how sensitive it still is. I can't feel anything if I run my finger down the incision, which was the same with my csection incision, but inside it still hurts at times. The bottom of my front incision hurts the most. Lol.
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