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2 or 3 level fusion?

barbmbbarbm Posts: 12
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:53 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi, my name is Barb. I have had lumbar back problems for 5 yrs now. I have been to 4 surgeons, had 2 discograms, epidurals, PT, just to name a few. disks at L2-3, L3-4, & L4-5 are shot.
I have been given the option of having a 2 level fusion or a 3 level fusion. with the 2 level it is most likely i will need another surgery down the road. with a 3 level I am told I will be very stiff & have decreased mobility.
PLEASE, if anyone has faced a similar situation share your thoughts with me. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO, but the pain is to much to bear, i have lost everything i have ever worked for, including my home because i can't work.
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Comments

  • Welcome to SH! You have come to a great place, filled with informative, caring people.

    Sorry to hear of your pain, and losing your home. I am currently waiting for fusion, but am sure that others will chime in who have had two and three levels done.It is tough whether to know whether to go ahead and take care of all three levels now or hold off. Is one of your levels not as bad as the other two, is that why one doctor is saying two levels?

    Wishing you all the best with your decision, and please keep us updated leading up to and post surgery.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • sorry double post
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
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  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i am sorry to hear you have lost everything because you cannot work.. you are not alone in that! i know you are suffering from chronic pain daily and see no light at the end of the tunnel.. i hope that being on the forum will give you some hope!! i cannot help you with your questions but i am sure some spineys will be along to help you.. stop by the "Back and Neck surgery" forum for more input.. good luck to you! Jenny :)
  • I currently have 2 artificial disks at C5-6 and C6-7. Next week I am having a L4-S1 fusion and also have moderate degeneration at L3-4 that is still asymptomatic. My surgeon says due to my age (I'm 35,) he doesn't want to do a 3 level fusion on me. As an athletic trainer having worked in PT for the last 14 years, I totally understand why. The option we decided on was doing a 2 level fusion now because the pain and instability is decreasing my quality of life. We will keep an eye on L3-4 and if it becomes symptomatic, then he will do an artificial disk at that level, which will allow me to keep my mobility. There are a lot of factors involved when it comes to an artificial disk, one of the biggest being the quality of vertebrae/bone density. That is why I cannot have one at L5-S1. I let it go for too long and they started fusing on their own. Maybe this is an option for you. It's worth discussing with your surgeon. Otherwise, based on what I've seen with my own patients, I would go with the 3 level fusion, but that's just my opinion.
  • I currently have 2 artificial disks at C5-6 and C6-7. Next week I am having a L4-S1 fusion and also have moderate degeneration at L3-4 that is still asymptomatic. My surgeon says due to my age (I'm 35,) he doesn't want to do a 3 level fusion on me. As an athletic trainer having worked in PT for the last 14 years, I totally understand why. The option we decided on was doing a 2 level fusion now because the pain and instability is decreasing my quality of life. We will keep an eye on L3-4 and if it becomes symptomatic, then he will do an artificial disk at that level, which will allow me to keep my mobility. There are a lot of factors involved when it comes to an artificial disk, one of the biggest being the quality of vertebrae/bone density. That is why I cannot have one at L5-S1. I let it go for too long and they started fusing on their own. Maybe this is an option for you. It's worth discussing with your surgeon. Otherwise, based on what I've seen with my own patients, I would go with the 3 level fusion, but that's just my opinion.
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  • Sorry for the double post. Still a bit new to this!
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