I thought the members of this site deserved to know the results of my surgery since much of the information that led to my choice of procedure came from "spine-health".
I am a 61 year old male who fitness walks half-marathons (13.1 miles), rides bicycles as far as a metric century (62miles), lifts weights, but who is overweight and with heart disease.
In the spring of 2007 I had begun to suffer from sciatica in one leg to the point that it was debilitating to stand for more than a few minutes. Diagnosed with DDD, some of the advice (from orthopedic surgeons) ranged from get a handicapped sticker and park closer to your destination to wait five years and better processes may be available. Of course they would be willing to cut me open and sort out the parts, but no guarantees.
My wife and I had gone from walk/running 7 full marathons (26.2 miles) the year before to none (she did do one without me) the next year because I couldn't train with one leg going numb.
Conventional fusion sounded like a long recovery and a lot of time off work. Micro fusion offered shorter recovery and no hospital stay. No guarantee, but my insurance covered it and only a few days off work.
Eventually I found the one surgeon and hospital in my area that offered out-patient, 2-level, L3-5 spinal fusion. The day after Christmas 2007 at Celebration Health, Dr. Zahrari performed the surgery.
Awakening in sever pain post surgery, I thought someone had run over me with a truck. They wheeled me out of the hospital while I begged my wife for morphine! She drove over every pot hole in Florida on the way home.
I did manage to get back to work in a week, but everything was painful to do. I thought maybe this hadn't been such a great idea. The numbness was gone but that was nothing compared to having to walk like a zombie and chew pain meds like candy.
Well eventually things got better. I managed to walk a 10K (6.2 miles) in early March. And then on the summer solstice, a bit less than 6 months from surgery, we power walked (3:15)a half marathon in Anchorage, AK.
We did a couple more half marathons later in the year and this year plan to train for a full marathon again as well as train for a century (100 mile) bike ride. The sciatica is 99% gone. My back is still often sore and doesn't take shock well, but life is back to the way it used to be mostly.
Dr. Z used appliances and cages during the surgery. He told me after 3 months that I could play golf. That was great as I had never played golf previously. I wish he'd turned me into a Boston qualifier or Pikes Peak runner, but you've got to take what you can get.