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3-Level Lumbar Fusion

LawsLLaws Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:54 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I am a 35yr old female currently contemplating spinal surgery.

I have been told by my surgeon that I require a 3 level fusion of L5/S1, L4/5 & L3/4. My most recent MRI showed advanced degenerative disc disease of L5/S1, with moderate degenerative disc disease disc bulging and central annular tears of L3/4 & L4/5 with a retrolistheis of L5/S1.

I have had epidural and facet joint injections and most recently lumbar rhizotomy with no improvement in my pain and mobility so my next option is spinal fusion.

I would welcome feedback from anyone who has undergone this surgery and how you found the recovery afterwards.

many thanks.


  • I haven't had surgery but I'm sure someone will come along and help you who has had surgery. I have Lumbar DDD also. I just wanted to welcome you to Spine Health. All the best. 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
  • I have had this same surgery. I started out with just l4-5-S1. I had three torn discs and only had a 2 level, hoping that the third one wasnt as bad. Two years later I had another 2 level at l2-3-4. I am recouping from it as it was on Dec 2010. Annular tears dont as a rule heal, so you are at the crossroad I was at. I had discograms to make sure the levels were the painful ones. Wish I would have had the 3 level to begin with, maybe I could have avoided the 2nd surgery, as the level we didnt fuse took the next one with it.
    It is a long recovery, I never got complete pain releif with the first, and then had to redo it. I am now almost 6 months out and was doing great, almost no pain until a month ago when the cage slipped. Still is alot better that before. And after we do something about this cage, I am sure that it will go completely away.
    Dont let my cage slipping scare you, it doesnt happen alot. It was well worth going through, just make sure they are sure of all the discs that are painful. Discogram is the only way to make sure there are no small tears unable to be seen by MRI. Mine were never seen until I had discogram, and it took 2 years and about 7 Drs until I found one that could figure out where pain was coming from.
    Good Luck, and PM me if you have any questions. I will be happy to help...
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  • I hope this works out for you in a hugely positive manner.But take your time,or allow the time,there is no point trying to rush your recovery.It will do what it does,without any help ,LOL.You will be tempted to push it,you can but you will feel it later.
    A few heal quite fast ,many take a year or even longer to fully recover.
    So,it's really only an option for someone who has run out of others & has major restriction of movement,severe loss of comfort/major chronic pain & has exhausted all non-surgical options of rehabilitation.
    I hope you will keep us all posted of your progress,whichever way you you choose ,all the best.
  • Hi Laws,
    I don't know where you are up to by now but I have just read your thread with interest as it could have been written about me!! I'm a 40 yr old female who is about to have a three level fusion ( on the 11 January 2012) of L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1 at the EDIT hospital in Oswestry. If you haven't had your surgery yet or are still undecided about it feel free to contact me and i'll be more than happy to tell you how it's been so far and how the Op and recovery goes :-)


    Post edited to remove name of medical professional and or facility. by Authority Member Liz
  • Hi Kathy,
    Today is Feb 4th so I am not sure if you are available and feeling well enough to check the internet, but I am really curious about how you are doing and from the bottom of my heart I wish you are doing well.
    I am 42 years old. Had a discectomy L4-5 in 2005, then a C5-6 fusion in 2007. Both surgeries were very successful. However in 2009, I fell at the school bathroom, broke my finger and a possible fracture in the back left me with spondylolisthesis. First they tried to make me believe that it was a birth defect but none of the QME's (Medical Doctors of Workers' Comp.) were able to find it in my previous MRI's. Anyway, here is my condition now.. Left leg is numb and has severe, unbearable pain. Right leg has similar pain but numbness is not as severe as the left. I have been told that I needed a 3 level fusion. But because it is workers' comp, I can't go see my own neurosurgeon. I am stuck with their doctors. I have been doing my best not to have the surgery, but since October, it has just been getting worse. Therefore I would really appreciate if you would share your experience when you get a chance.
    Wish the fastest recovery possible.
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