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Two Fusion Surgery...need suggestions please

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone... I'm new here and I'm hoping I can get some valuable information from you guys... Earlier this year my husband hurt his back and i'm gonna write down what the dr's notes say, it's kinda hard for me to understand but maybe some of you know... It says... He shows a small central herniation at 4-5 which is the probable cause of his pain. In addition to this, he has degenerative changes at multiple level discs. He has a very small central bulge at 5-1, with darkening of the remaining three lumbar discs above this. The MRI scan shows a right-sided paracentral herniation at L1-2 but nothing further down that was specifically right-sided.

Ok, they ended up doing a discogram but could not pin point which one was actually the one giving him the pain cuz several hurt while they were doing the procedure. They went in and did a discectomy (i think that's what it's called) but that did no good. They had told him going in that it was not a for sure thing due to them not knowing exactly what disc was hurting him. The X-rays, AP and lateral lumbar films show significant bone spurring at several levels in his lumbar area, worse at the 3-4 level. Ok so now they are wanting to do a fusion. The dr said that they could start at one but since the one above it was on the verge of rupturing and once you fuse then it puts pressure on the one above it so therefore, eventually he will have to have the other one fused so he was thinking why not do both at the same time if it's gonna eventually (about a year later) need to be fused again (the one above). but now that surgery is suppose to be next month he is getting a little nervous. We have not had a second opion as of yet (trying to decide if we need to) We live in Mississippi and it just makes me wonder if there are different alternatives these days. The dr he is going to is suppose to be one of the best in the states but everytime we go to see him, we ask him what would he do if he was in this situation and he says he doesn't know. So i'm wondering if his back is so messed up that he really doesn't know the best option or what. I just know that my husband hurts CONSTANTLY.. he says it feels like the bones are just grinding together. I just know that medicine has come such a long way now days so I'm tring to get as much information as I can before he has this surgery. You hear some people going thru the surgery fine and so glad that they did but then you hear some say they are worse off than before. Has anyone had anything familiar to this problem? has anyone had 2 fusions? if so, what was the outcome... thanks so much, yall!!


  • I think that you should get a second opinion from another qualified surgeon. I went to seven different Drs casue they coulodnt figure out what was wrong. Had MRI and Ct and Myleogram, epidural injections, radio frequency lesioning and finally went to a spine clinic that said MRIs dont show small tears, which can cause lots of pain. I had a discogram and it showed 3 bad discs. Long story short, the Dr wanted to do a three level fusion, and I got . scared and got another opinion. Due to the fact that 3 level fusions are rare and not always reccomended. The next surgeon wanted to only do a 1 level fusion and my insurance company made me go through another discogram, cuz the first one didnt show enough info. I had the second discogram and my surgeon had more accurate info and said I needed a two level fusion. So I had it in Dec. I feel confident that by getting the second opinion, even though I endured more testing, I was able to make a more informed decision.
  • treatment has your husband had?
    I have had a 3 level fusion last May and the outcome is good it is no picnic and not something I would jump into without a lot of research.
    I had block injection, plenty of PT and aquatherapy as well as accupuncture and other natural modalities.
    I ruled out everything I could before surgery and I was able to keep going for a few more years with that.
    Yes, I agree you need to get at least one more opinion. Firstly you want to be absolutely sure the Dr wants to fuse the right discs.
    Many people have disc bulges and dont even know it - we only know about it because we have had scans, so dont be overly concerned if it isn't causing a problem.
    Does you husband have any other pain or numbness such as in his legs or feet? If so what is he doing when it starts? These are the things you need to look at as well and talk to the Dr about.

    I hope you find the right treatment for him soon but yes I have had 3 levels and would do it again but it does need a lot of patience and recovery time.
    Bllessings sara O:)
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  • I had a 2 level fusion with titanium rods and screws after my first back surgery failed to relieve the pain. It was for a medium central disc herniation at L4-5 and a small left foraminal herniatio at L5-S1 with nerve impingement. I had went through conservative measures like PT and epidural injections, and had a ct/myelogram performed. I'm am so glad I wasn't subjected to a tortuous discogram. Well, after the fusion I kept having severe pain and went through another ct/myelogram. All I was told was that I was fusing well, and heard no other details. I was told to hang in there and give it time because the nerve was very swollen and irritated. Months later the pain seem to worsen and my medications were increased. To this day I struggle against chronic back pain and sciatica. I have the option now of having a neurostimulator or morphine pump implanted to help relieve pain, and this means having another surgery.
    Please research all you can about fusions. It is major surgery and the recovery is not like how it's explained at the clinic. It can be long and arduous. Yes, there are people who feel much better afterwards and gradually go on to have a good recovery. If your husband decides to have surgery, he should make sure that the doctors know exactly which levels are giving problems. It is a big decision and both you and him need to be fully informed. I hope your husband finds relief from the pain with whatever option he chooses.
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