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whats the truth folks ???



  • What is the deal on a discography and how does that effect what does or doesn't happen. In a lot of fusions the disc is taken out so what am I missing?
  • Bkins, my guess on the discography is that the doc wants to make sure that its the disc that is causing the problem. When I had my fusion, my doc wouldn't proceed until he had the results from mine and even then my results made the decision to do a 1 level or 2 level more gray.

    Clandy, just a side note, my surgery fixed what I wanted fixed. Just ended up with other problems afterward.

    Tony, it sounds like you have made your decision. I hope everything works out for the best for you.

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  • It sounds that you have figured out your next step and what is right for you. That is all any of us can do. You know everyone here will be praying for you and God willing - it will be a blessing in your life! Best wishes - Marion
  • you asked about the discography .??
    in my case the surgeon want to see it=f the disc about the damaged levels that would be {L3} is sound because if its not he cant do the operation .he need at least one healthy disc to attach the hardware to .and another problem that differs to most fusions .as i mentioned before many fusions require pre made normal pieces of titanium and they are fitted together lick and meccano set in theater .but in my case ..due to the amount of disease and damage there is not a standard piece of kit that my surgeon can use .SO is its a green light on the operation my surgeon want to do a CT scan and re MRI me then after take some measurements then get the medtronics rep in to see is a piece of kit can be made to fit my spine ..he described it to me like as if i was having a custom kitchen fitted to an odd shaped room {i could not just nip to B and Q get something off the shelf .i would have to get a joiner in and have something built to fit {i used the kitchen analogy because the surgeon knows that we have not long since has a custom fit kitchen fitted!
    {its amazing what get talked about during a consultation!!}.so a lot depends on this discography
    TO ALL
    i do value all your opinions and PM s a fusion is not something to be taken lightly but i am out of options now ..i mean its 3am and yet again i am up .when i should be in bed ..its been like this since the last operation nearly 4 years ago ..surely that's not right is it .
  • Tony,

    Fusions as you know work for some, and not for others; or there are after surgery complications that are rare. My first fusion 'gave me back' my life, no question. I wasn't 'major' educated on 'adjacent level failures, but even if I where, I would still have had the surgery. Everything has risks, right? My last one, not so good - more intervention coming for that mess. In hind site, I still would have underwent my last surgery - (lol) but would have insisted on a plate not my 'wing.' :)

    From what I've seen of your posts Tony, "internally" I think you know what you need to do. I truly hope that the discogram results are such that this experienced surgeon can bring you back to some sort of normalcy. You and I both know, NO surgery is a guarantee, but with what all you have been going through, your choices are getting "easier" (hate that word) to make? Please let us know how it goes. You're really good people Tony. **HUGZ** :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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  • Here is how it is -- you know i've been there and am living it every minute. YOU WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AS YOU WERE WHEN YOU WERE A YOUNG MAN. You need to accept that -- right now. You are a miserable bag of pain at the moment -- yes, you are -- I know -- I've been there. You will have the surgery and the first few days you'll think - this isn't so bad, I think I'm going to be okay. Then you will have days of searing pain again. You will have stiffness and soreness and burning down your legs again and you'll think "why did I do this to myself? I'm so miserable. Why didn't I listen to those who said multi-level fusions were not a good idea?" Then after about 18 months to 2 years (yes, it REALLY takes that long), you will think - "hey! I feel really pretty good!" This is the most DANGEROUS time. This is when you decide you can lift that load of gravel in the wheelbarrow to take it into the back yard. You can split wood if you want from a felled tree. NO YOU CAN'T. You must accept, before you head into a multi-level fusion, that your spine is not normal. Yes, they can fix it for you. Yes, in time the pain will be much relieved. But, you will never go back to doing all you did before. If you do try that, you will damage the discs at other levels. The fused part of your spine with be a fulcrum against which you can damage all your other discs. Resign yourself to a limited physical life, but one without the excruciating pain your are now experiencing. Know that you can have relief, but you must always guard your spine. I really believe you'll be fine. I am -- as long as I make myself realize that I have to take care of my back.
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • After a fusion there will be certain things you won't be able to do again. In my case though, I couldn't do them before because of the chornic back pain - so I'm not too bothered that I can't do certain things now, 6 weeks after a 2-level fusion.

    I'm not sure I agree with the notion that having a fusion always puts added stress on the discs above and below and therefore it seems that people have gone on to have further fusions at adjacent levels. The reason I say this is because when I first hurt my back 5 years ago, it was confirmed at the time through MRI that L5-S1 was the only disc causing the pain.

    After loads of treatment, 2 discectomies etc. (you know what I've had Tony), when I eventually had the discogram before surgery, it confirmed that two discs were pain generators - hence the 2 level fusion 6 weeks ago. What I'm trying to say, and probably not explaining myself very well, is that I ended up with a 2 level fusion when I thought I was going to have a one level.

    Suppose I had a one level fusion up to 5 years ago - then experienced chronic back pain again and had to have another level fused, I would have automatically thought that the first fusion had done the damage. When in fact it was degenetive changes that would have happened anyway - do you see what I mean?

    It may be that at some point in the future I MAY experience further back pain and may need further surgery, who knows - but I firmly believe now that these changes could have happened anyway and may be nothing to do with the surgery I've just had.

    The most important lesson I have learned over the years is that I did not (and would not) do anything to make my back worse. I may decline to do some social activities if I feel it would compromise my back - but I would have done that anyway because of the resulting pain it would give me - I know there are certain things that I won't do again, but to be quite honest, at 53 would I honestly expect to be doing things now that I could do when I was 20 - I don't think so. And I'm more than happy with that.

    If I continue to be protective of my back I don't see why I cannot enjoy life to the fullest of my current abilities. If my circumstances change, they might have changed anyway. The most important thing about having the surgery is that I DO NOT HAVE THE SAME BACK PAIN AS I'VE HAD FOR THE PAST 5 YEARS - AND THAT'S A SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME as far as I'm concerned.

    There are no guarantees and I think you've voiced what everyone facing surgery feels. Your specialist, I'm sure, wouldn't offer any surgery unless he thought you had a good chance of experiencing a better quality of life afterwards.

    It's a decision I also agonised over - but ultimately what kept me going was positive thinking. To be able to fly long-haul to visit my daughter who now works in the USA - all I need now is to be able to try and save the money to get there (which is difficult now I'm on half pay at work!). There are pro's and con's with everything, but I couldn't carry on the way I was. Working was becoming such an issue that, in the end, if I didn't have the surgery it would have affected my ability to do my job. I'm seeing the Occupational Health peeps this Friday who will determine if I'm fit enough to return to work in a months' time - but to be honest, if I'm not, I'm not going to worry because I know I WILL be fit enough to do something else perhaps.

    If I don't do anything stupid, then the surgery would have given me the chance to have options that perhaps I wouldn't have had before.

    It's not long now till you have the discogram - everything seems to depend on the results of this. With your faith in your surgeon, I'm sure whatever the outcome, he will advise and reassure you so that whatever decision you make (and you seem to favour surgery if it is offered) you'll be a 'patient' patient - knowing that for a time you will need the help and support of your lovely wife and family. Accept it with the good grace that it is given and when you're able, you will hopefully be in a position later on to help them if ever they need it in the future.

    I know you're worried about 'personal cares' etc. but that's what family is for. Maybe, Social Services could offer a care package from a male assistant for a short period of time until you are able to do things independently - could you contact them to discuss your concerns first and see what action you may need to take (if that is an option)?

    I hope I'm managing to explain myself properly Tony.
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • have both made very good points and i take it all on board .i think at 3 am this morning when i was up again in pain i start to worry and panic and as a result i tend to get on spine health and just write down what i am feeling .it helps relive the fear!{i know most men would look at other web sites at 3 am in the morning !! if you know what i mean}but not me ..
    yes sue the discography is nearing and i am not too worried about that .i am worried about the results though .and lsteller i understand and agree with you totally about all your comments ..very well put
    i remember my gran at 82 telling me that in her mind she still felt like she was 18 its just her body let her down her mind was a sharp as ever.its hard to think at only 44 my body has let me down and even if i can be fixed i know that i will be restricted in what i can do even if i feel like i an able to do more ....i find myself telling others on here the very same thing ...today i am very tired so all i intend to do is rest
  • I so relate to Linda...and she is certainly the voice of reason!!

    For me, the decision to have surgery was fairly clear. I was in terrible pain; my legs were numb. I could not continue to work at my job...I was...disabled.

    I was going down fast, and the fusion seemed like the only option to become "well" again. I had to take the chance since I did not see much hope without surgery.

    Now...what is "wellness". It certainly isn't what it was 5 years ago for me. I had to have endoscopic surgery last week because of the scar tissue, and have to have it again in 2 weeks, then maybe one more time. I have to wear a bone stimulator, since there was little fusion noted on my 6 month xray. That was 3 months ago...so I'm in limbo for now.

    So, I've had a few wrinkles in the recovery, but I will not look back. As Linda said...the is a long road. I'm still hopeful that I will go on to fuse, and maybe in 6-9 months I will have a similar story as Linda to tell...

    Take care,


  • Hi Straker,

    Sorry to hear your news. It has been a while since I have been on here and I was sorry to see you are still having troubles.

    As you may re-call (or not) I had a PLIF followed by 2nd TLIF next level a year later. Like others have said, I am a success in so far as lower spine finally stable, I'd say my original pains are "gone" (mostly) but I was one of the complications persons (migrated cage crushed L5 and was left for 6 months) and now my pain has been replaced by iatrogenic pain / nerve pain and mechanical pain. Am I worse off? No, not really. I have traded one pain for the other. Do I regret my surgeries? No, I was desperate (and prepared to die.I had reached the end of my rope, as it was then.)

    If you are desperate and can embrace the risks (you should discuss them with your doc and consider what that mean long term) then I think you know what you need to do. If you have doubts, you need to soul search. Is this the right time for you?

    Yes this is a HUGE surgery, huge risks but many people do regain a quality of life post surgery. Hope Straker. I wish you the best in what ever you decide.
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