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Had L5/S1 Discectomy last year. Now they're talking about fusion. I'm only 30, need advice.

BrihtwulfBBrihtwulf Posts: 69
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:32 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

In March 2008 I had a discectomy at L5/S1 because of a disc rupture that was causing spinal stenosis. The surgery seemed to improve my condition for a few months (after recovery). Then this winter, this started to go downhill again. Limited mobility, severe pain. I also had to have 2 surgeries to fix my left shoulder and AC joint.

Now it's nearly summer again, I just turned 30, and it's been a little over a year since my surgery. I feel like I'm back to where I started before I even had the surgery. I'm in constant pain, it shoots right to the end of my tail-bone! Then my butt hurts on both sides, and pain starts to shoot down the back of my legs the more active I am. I had an MRI a couple months ago that showed a lot of nerve impingement in the lateral foramina, and some bone edema in the vertebrae.

Now my specialist is bringing out the S-word again (SURGERY). (This is a different person who handled my treatment a year ago). I don't know if I'm ready for something like spinal fusion surgery. Is this going to be the only option to fix my current pain? I'll be seeing a new pain center specialist in the near future, and I was told they are basically the last stop before surgery is the only option left...

Anyone have an opinion or advice?



  • Sorry you have had so many surgeries already. When you have nerve compression and have had surgery at the same location previously, you probably are not in a position where you will want to adopt a "wait and see" attitude.

    Do you have lower back pain and pain in BOTH legs? Is there more pain in your legs or back?
  • hello JJ I am also a 30 year old guy and I have had 2 micro's already and have been told that I need a fusion , the only advise I can offer is what I have been told by my doctor is because of my age he wants me to wait until I can't take the pain anymore which sometimes I wanna throw in the towel but other days I can deal with it. good luck and make sure you get a couple different opinions even if you like your doctor and still want him to treat you ,he/she will understand it if you get a second or even third opinion most even encourage you to get one.
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  • So, I got a referral to a new pain specialist. He even comes recommended by a friend of mine who is a physical therapist at the same hospital. I'm hoping he has some options for me. I ended up in the emergency room a couple days ago, and it took the maximum dosage of morphine they administer without admitting you to get the pain to a tolerable level so I could walk out of there on my own.

    I am using a TENS unit a good deal of the time, I have been upped to a 10mg dose of vicodin, and will be seeing this new specialist hopefully soon. Should know a date tomorrow. A selective nerve root injection to the right of my L5-S1 was ineffective (but then again that doc was a moron and a jerk). Maybe a more direct injection would help. I'm wondering if I'll be able to get by with pain control or if the inflammation and narrowing in my lateral foramina poses the threat of neuropathy?

    The pain is mostly centered in my back, from my L5-S1 all the way to the top of my tail-bone. The pain also radiates into my buttocks. With increased activity/walking, the pain also shoots down the back of my legs (both).

    I'm also being scheduled for an updated MRI of my lumbar spine so they can see if/how much my condition is worsening. I also have arthritic degeneration in my L1 to L4 vertebrae, so perhaps they can compare the condition.

    I just don't know how much a pain doc can help, and if it's a good idea. And I've heard BAD things about the effects of fusion surgery... The thought of it scares the crap out of me.

  • check this procedure out! Regenexx procedure its on utube and the news in colorado. I think I am going to wait for this. sounds easier then a back fusion to me. I already had the cervical fusion and once is enough of that.
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • I'm also in the same boat but I'm older, 46.
    I'm holding off for as long as possible myself. I'm really hoping they hurry up with the stem cell research so they can just clone some new disks for me.....

    Other than that I started a thread on Deca I will keep updated on if it helps or not. After some research it has some very interesting prospects. hey at this point anything is worth a try.

    The Regenexx looks great except for the $10,000.00 part :(

    With time it will only get better and cheaper. Dont expect insurance to ever pay since it's something that will probably really work.
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  • I am sorry you are having problems I had 4 laminectomies/discectomies in 2008, the pain was worse than ever had a new surgeon run new tests and from having 4 lami.disce on L5/S1 it caused L5 to collapse on S1, March 2009 I had a L4-5 atrifical disc replacement (insurance didn't cover $12000.00 what I had to pay) and a fusion at L5/S1. Had the opening doctor not of torn my main vein in my abdominal area I would of been running lifting weights and loving life but that was a set back had to learn how to walk and deal with pain in left leg it swelled to be 10x bigger than the right caused by a blood clot to tell you the whole story would take pages but the upside is when I woke up from back surgery the pain was gone, always good and bad days but now 3 months post op my back is great and I have full range of motion..I wish I would of done this surgery before anything else a real life saver..
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