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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:39 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
so I was wondering...is their a higher success rate among fusion's in people in our group? I would think by cleaing out the disc and taking the pressure off them, this would help a great deal

after a year on pain management, I can't take the drugs anymore. I can feel I am addicted, and they dont help much anymore. I am going to see my doctor on the 31st for a AXIALIF 2L. I am going to the best doctor in the nation for it, but still not sure.


  • Just curious. What is "Our Group"?
  • Best wishes for your surgery. Does your MRI show moderate to severe DDD? I have mild DDD from L1-S1 and it doesn't feel mild pain to me it's terrible pain. I wish there would be more done for me. It's good if you can get a 2nd opinion for your surgery. I hope someone comes along to give their experience or check blue box above. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
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  • I have no idea about the success rate. I have severe DDD in L4-5 and L5-S1 and my lower back pain is severe despite having a 2 level TLIF/laminectomy. It always feels like someone is kicking me in the behind with a steel toed boot. Sorry, there's no other way I can describe it LOL. Anyway, please keep us posted on your upcoming surgery and I hope it's a complete success. Take care
  • Hi Mavrick77 - it's tough to say success rate.
    Success is really in the 'eye of the beholder'. That is why most doctors give statistics.
    They claim fusion has 80% success rate but who defines success. From what I've read, it's if the patient is even mildy better.

    At the surface it seems fusion would solve the problem. But another perspective is that you are removing one of the body'd natural shock absorbers and that means the vertabrae above/below have to handle the extra load on the body. In addition, you are putting hardware (breaking bones in essence and screwing them back together). From there you ahve to wait for the body along with bone stimulator to grow bones together.

    So while it seems 'simple', there's more to it. There is also risk of the surgery, infection, and what not.

    That being said "the best doctor in the nation" is just another 'title'. You have to find a doctor that can help your situation. I think if the doctor is highly reputable, then you might have a higher chance of getting an explanation that makes sense.

    I agree on addiction to pain meds. It's a concern of mine. I guess my question is what other options have been considered. I'm sorry but I'm not familiar with your case.

    I guess there are just so many options between conservative treatment and fusion. I hope your appointment gives you some information that makes sense and helps you figure out a good path for you.

    Good luck
  • Follow up to my prior post . . .I was thinking about my reply this morning. I hope my response was not rude because I didn't intend it to be. I posted a lot of rebuttal to Maverick77's initial thought because even my husband didn't understand why I was not sure about a fusion. When I explained to him the research I did he started to realize maybe there was more to it. But he met 2 doctors that explained why a fusion was better.

    When we met the final doctor, he explained both perspectives and he also explained a lot more mechanically on the back and why PT works for DDD. He also supported inversion table but clearly explained why that helps with disc height and not a free floating piece of disc material pressing on the nerve. He also was able to explain better than I could to my husband about the seriousness of a lumbar fusion. At this point my husband already had a sense but was still unsure if I was wasting time on trying the revision.

    Anyhow . . .I was just giving food for thought on why fusion is not really simple. That being said, I have met people that had a fusion 20 years ago and are still very happy and haven't gone back under. I've also met more people that were told they needed a fusion and would be back within 2 years. They are 10-20 years later and still living normal lives without surgery. They did PT and other conservative treatements.

    So at the end of the day, it is about your individual situation, your lifestyle, and really on the risk/benefit analysis. For me, I'm 40 and while I'm hurting, I just do not believe I'm in enough pain and that my disc height is that bad to warrant a fusion without trying revision surgery.

    However, my new doctor is very cautious. He looked at images from 1 month ago. So we are regrouping in a few weeks b/c he thinks he'd like to ensure I stay status quo and take new images to see how I have changed in 2 months since the last set of images. If no change, he still stands by revision. If for some reason I am much worse, he'll let me know if revision microdiscectomy won't work.

    I've seen 6 doctors, talked to my PCP Doctor, and am lucky to have a company doctor who has also given me insight. I am also getting another remote opinion (via work agreement with Spine Clinic). I've spent a lot of time reading (thanks to material provided by folks here) to help understand the decision.

    If I end up going for fusion down the road, I will know I have exhausted my other options first.

    Again, I hope your appt goes well.
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