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L3-4 TLIF & Decompression

dapopo315ddapopo315 Posts: 40
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:36 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello to everyone, I am new to this site. I am a 41 year old police officer who hurt my back while on duty, needless to say I'm not impressed with workman's comp thing so far. Everything started on June 1, 2009, w/c sent me to a Spinal Specialist Pain Management doctor first. To make a long story short, after 8 injections (6 of them done after he admitted that he lost my MRI), 2 ½ months of physical therapy, him telling me that he couldn't see anything on the MRI to explain why I was complaining of pain, stopping all pain medication, telling me I just had to go back to work & work on my endurance . . . this genius sent me for another “Hi-resolution” MRI. After he read it, he told me he had been treating the wrong vertebra in my back. (ARE YOU KIDDING ME) For 4 months he was treating my L5-S1 area, then after looking at the new MRI he saw that my L3-4 was where the problem seemed to be. He then sent me to see a Spinal Surgeon, thank god.

Now I am scheduled for a L3-4 TLIF & Decompression surgery for October 14, 2009. I am scared to death & don't really know what to expect. The doctor said I would have it done at an outpatient surgical center then the night of my surgery I'd be transported to a rehabilitation center for 2 days. He is supposed to be sending me out a packet of information but I've not received as of yet.

I'm scared to death, so many questions running through my head. How bad is the pain afterwards? How big of an incision will I have? Will the muscles in my back be cut? How long is estimated recovery? Yada, yada, yada . . . . . My biggest fear is weather or not I will be able to keep being a police officer after I get done. I am in a lot of pain whenever I stand up strait or bend back & to the left. I was given a script for Vicodin 5mg/500mg & it isn't helping the pain AT ALL.

Any help or advise to ease my anxiety & fear would be greatly appreciated.


  • If it is possible under the workman's comp situation, I would suggest you get another opinion before undergoing such a major surgery. I can't imagine that a qualified doctor could treat you for so long at the wrong level. Perhaps there is injury at both levels.

    In any case, I would not feel comfortable having such a discrepancy in the diagnosis. It is always a good idea to get more than one opinion when contemplating surgery. In your case, I would say it is essential.

    Good luck.

    Read about fusion here:


  • you may also want to look into an artificial disk replacement [ADR]. it is now being done in the usa and would provide you with more flexibility to perform your job as a police officer. also make sure your surgeon is good and experienced...check him out carefully.
    keep us informed as you get more info....pete
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  • I have heard lots of horror stories about dealing with w/c. Take a look at the insurance section and you will find lots of folks dealing with the same issues with w/c. Please check out the surgery topic and find the list of post op needs. It is extremely helpful to be prepared for recovery. If it is at all possible to get a second opinion I would highly advise it. Good luck and please keep us posted.
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