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fusion surgery

barbmbbarbm Posts: 12
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:53 AM in Lower Back Pain
i had to decide between a 2 or 3 level lumbar fusion & i have decided to proceed with the 3 level fusion. mostly because i am told that if i have the 2 level fusion i will need more surgery in time, maybe a year or 2. I can't go through this again so i figure i might as well get it over with.
the mora support i have gotten at this site has made a huge difference. i had no idea so many people are suffering & that there are still so many considerate & caring people in this world.



  • That will be a huge surgery and I hope it all goes well for you. When will you be having it?

    I had a one level 18 months ago which is successful, but the adjacent levels, especially L5-S1, are becoming more painful and further surgery is a possibility later on. My surgeon didn't want to fuse these levels at the time, but in hindsight, I wish he had because of the long recovery period.

    Yeah, lots of caring people here and glad you found us when you did.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • I think you made a good decision. I had 2 levels fused, knowing that I had 3 disc bad. My surgeon advised me to just get the 2 discs done and wait on the 3rd.

    I thought I knew what to expect post surgery, since I have had 2 surgeries prior to my fusion. I was surprised after surgery by how much pain and recovery were actually involved compared to my other procedures.

    Well, I am still having problems, although I have improved. I do not regret having the surgery, but if I had known just how much pain and recovery was involved, I think I would have gone ahead and done 3 levels.

    I feel the same as you on the support here at SH. I have seen a lot of others say the same. It can be lonely, confusing, and depressing dealing with spinal issues. I am glad to have found this site.

    Best of luck with your surgery.
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  • to make sure that the disc above is ok .i am surprised that he /she is doing a fusion knowing that the disk above is suspect .if you need a 3 level doing then a three level should be done .i know that when i went for my discography he checked to see that L3 was ok so he could fuse /L4/L5/S1 he told me that if L3 was unstable that the operation could not be done .maybe i have read your post wrong ? but maybe its time to get another opinion
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • Hi; and i dont know your circumstances but, given the choices you were given i would have taken the same route you did.

    As the saying goes "you can pay me now, or pay me later, but your gonna pay me"

    Hoping you have a normal recovery, and wont have to endure this surgery a 2nd time.
    Which possibility would have been the case if you went with the 2 level.

    Best of luck to ya!
  • it's good to know others would have made the same decision that i made.
    since this is the 4th surgeon i have seen and the discs above & below the pending fusion are good (so far) I would rather go through one big surgery & recovery. Also I exhausted all other options as far a treatments go.
    I know i will be on here post-op, once the pain meds kick in.
    thanks to everyone for their continued support & the best to each of you!

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  • Just checking in with you. Have they set a date for your fusion yet? I am getting anxious for my upcoming appointment with my nuerosurgeon. Hope to find out then if he will do my surgery and how many level(s) it will be.

    Let us know how you are doing, when you are able.

    >: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
  • Hi Barb,

    I have had 3 fusions in 4 years. My 2nd one was L1-L5 and it was my best recovery (if there is such a term!!). I had L5/S1 done the end of march and am still struggling but there were other issues they found once they got inside. Everyone is different and I had a really falling apart spine. I know some people who have a one level fusion and never have any problems or the need for more. My first fusion was L4/L5 and the surgeon said someday I might need more. That someday turned out to be 7 months later so you never can tell. But as I said my spine is a mess (quote from one of my back surgeons!!). Good luck.


    Spinal stenosis, spondolysis, spondolythesis, L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion with instrumentation and bone graft from hip, L1/S1 fusion with replacement disc put in and a nice bolt from my spine to my pelvis; PT, accupuncture, prolotherapy, many cortisone injections, 4 rhizotomies. Currently on tramadol.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • well its been 1 yr since i started the fight of haveing surgery approved by comp.! another hearing coming up mid nov. can only wait and see what the outcome is...
  • First of all, I've been struggling for a few years with my back pain and finding the source of it. Which, as some of you know, can make you feel like you're going crazy until you meet the right doctor that actually knows what to look for. It turns out that I have severe arthritis in the facets in my lower back due to a missing pedicle on the right side. I also have a touch of scoliosis,spina bifida occulta, spondolythesis, and degenerative disc disease. And to top off the congenital abnormalities, I was also born with an L6, an extra vertabrae. I had L3-L5 fused back in May of 2010. Over time my pain only seemed to get worse, not any better. I even tried physical therapy and that didn't even help, again it seemed to make the pain worse and it also made the tingling and numbness in my legs worse, Some ER visits and a CT scan later and the surgeon who did my first fusion deducted that it was a failed fusion. I just had my fusion redone on the 7th and am trying to keep a positive attitude that it will work and that I might have a reprieve from the pain. To Jan, I've heard about rhizotomies but haven't know anyone that has gone through one. Do they actually help and if so, for how long did you feel any relief? And to Barb- I hope you do get your surgery soon and that it do goes well. Workman's comp can be a pain to deal with, they don't want to pay for anything or authorize anything. I hope all does well for you :-)
  • I have had mixed luck with my rhyzotomies. I have had several of them over the years but not a great deal of relief. They are a bit painful as you need to be conscious so they can find the right nerve and then they burn the nerve. Supposedly it is done with radio frequency now and is less painful. I know of people who swear by them and have gotten relief. I will be trying them again as it will be in the SI joint where I have not had the procedure before. And you never know when it just might work. Its always worth trying and the pain of the procedure doesn't last THAT long.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
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