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Spinal Fusion for disc herniation at l4-l5

Hi everyone, I joined this site to try to learn about this surgery. I am 15 and I had an MRI that revealed an acute disc herniation at the L4-5 level. My doc said he suggested a spinal fusion. I am a little nervous, and we are going to get other second opinions, but what advice/knowledge of this surgery can you share with me?


  • You have posed an interesting question as we don't get too many people your age with disc problems that require fusion. I can point you in the direction so you can learn about the various types of fusion that are currently performed and when and why fusion is recommended.

    What I cannot tell you is whether the surgery would be desirable or beneficial to you. Sometimes it is recommended that people your age find a pediatric spinal specialist because your bones are still growing, and not all spinal surgeons will be experienced in dealing with this circumstance.

    It is very important that you get a number of opinions from the best, most qualified spine surgeons that you can find. Be sure you are seeing someone who is Fellowship-trained -- this can be either a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic SPINE surgeon (not to be confused with any other type of orthopedic surgeon). If possible I would suggest you try to find a pediatric spinal surgeon. You will probably have to go to a large children's hospital or teaching university to locate one.

    Don't let anyone lead you to think that fusion is going to be a quick fix to your problems, and that when you recover, you will be "good as new." No one can predict the outcome of a spine surgery...they can only quote statistics. Once the back is surgically altered, it is never quit the same, even if surgery goes perfectly.

    I hope some of the younger members will chime in with their thoughts...and remember, none of us are doctors. We only are sharing our thoughts and personal experiences here on the forum.

    Here is a link to some information and a video on fusion from this website: http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/spinal-fusion


    The L4-5 segment takes the brunt of movement so it is often the first to develop problems. In your case, it is especially important to do your research, learn as much as you can about your options, gather a variety of opinions from specialists and explore whether there are any good options other than surgery.
  • Hi,

    Did you do something to hurt your spine?

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