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operation or not

wjstoneywwjstoney Posts: 17
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
I,ve had a bad back on and off for about 20 years,just recently in the last year It's gotton worse,I've gotton 4 epidorals,been going to the chiropractor,now pain management,my L4 and L5 are shot,there Is no coushion left in between,went to the doc and asked about operation,he says If I can deal and live with the pain do so,I understand what he's saying,but my back Is killing me,so he brings out a little model of the spine and where the discs are shows me all this hardware Involved/screws,rods etc.,tells me all the complications /Infection,nerve damage,spinal leakage?...say there Is a 80% chance this operation will relieve some of the pain...like 60 to 70%......18%=no change....2%=worse then I was before,now my head Is spinning,not knowing which way to go?...do I just live with the pain,and deal with it getting worse? and wondering for years If I have gotton this operation would I have been better off? I'm so cofused on weather to go for it and get It?
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13

Comments

  • Nice to see you :H .
    I have to tell you that I have been putting off major surgery for a very long time. I am getting a fusion done on September 28th, next month. I have already had a discectomy.

    It is a personal desicion, it really is. I have finally said I want my life back no matter what, inleast I have tried!

    There is a lot of support here, ask all the questions you want. Welcome!!!!!!!!!!!!! :O)
  • yes..I feel this is a great place for support,im bran new here,only a couple of hours,..I'm so nervous on the decision to have this surgey,after the doc showed me a model of the spine,..and all the hardware involved in this fusion,..the screws,and rods,and that cage thing..omg....he suggested if i can just deal with the pain and get by,it would be better,I told him I cant take it no more....so we will take it from there.....good luck keep us posted
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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,515
    the decision to have spinal surgery or not is a very personal item. its something that you need to completely understand and discuss with your doctor and with your family.

    as with any surgery, there are risks and there are impacts.

    this is a formal spine-health article that you should read: 38 questions to ask your surgeon before having surgery

    to me, there are some basic questions that you need to get answers for:

    having surgery
    - what type of surgery is it?
    - what are the risks?
    - what is the general recovery period?
    - what are the long term impacts/restrictions/etc?
    - when can i return to work?
    - will i still have pain after surgery?
    - will this surgery completely correct the problem?

    not having surgery
    - what risks do i face if i dont have surgery?
    - can my condition get worse?
    - will i do permanent damage by not having surgery?
    - can things heal themselves?
    - without surgery, what treatments should i consider?

    those questions along with any other you can think of is something you need to consider. i would write down all of your questions, your concerns, your fears about having surgery or not. make sure you discuss them all with your doctor and your family.

    there is no question that having spinal surgery will have some impact on your day to day living. that is not meant to be negative. i've already had seven spinal surgeries, two complete shoulder replacements, i have an upcoming total hip replacement this year and facing the other hip to be replaced. sure, i have had some impacts along the way, but i am still kicking , screaming and fighting every day.

    but some of the biggest impacts you will face are not your own, it will be your family. they are the ones who may not completely understand your situation and condition. they realize that because of your surgery, you may not be able to do everything, so some workload will be directed to them.

    now is the time to have all the talks, discussions, tears and fears about any potential surgery.

    if surgery is the option you are considering, then i strongly suggest you start researching all about the surgery that is being recommended. become an expert on the procedure. there are many spine-health resources that can provide you with details as well as detailed videos.

    i hope you find your stay at spine-health very informative. i always view new members in two ways.
    i look forward to getting to know new members and make sure we have the environment in which they can learn, but on the same hand, becoming a member here means that you have some medical problem that is already causing concern. so, from that point of view, i wish i didnt have to see new members.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • I'm finding this site to be very vast in information,so much so, im gonna have to call it a night,and countinue tomorrow...so far its answered alot of questions....thanks again
  • you have already had some good advice and there are many good people on here with years or back/neck/leg/foot pain/ operations / pain clinics etc so you are in the right place .in my opinion .i would take statistics with a pinch of salt .because i have known people on here have operations and within a year they are back to where they were before they started .{including me } i know that it gets to the stage where you are in agony .they you have no real choice .you will require surgery .but please be aware that even if you get a good result if very very rear that all pain will go for every.and there is a very good chance that withing ten years max that you will have to have revision surgey and there is also a good chance they you will be on strong pain killers for a very long time .my consultant has already told me that i will be in pain until the day i die as my spine is passed any chance of repair and the operation that i am having is ALIF {anterior lumber interbody fusion] is only being done to prevent more damage as my spine is unstable ..my advice should you decide to go down the surgical route is make sure you find the beat consultant you can and if you are not happy with what he/she says then go some place else ..its your back and you want the best .here in the UK we have some specialist spine centres and we do a lot more than the us with ADR {artificial disc replacement} you may be a candidate ? good luck with what every you decide ..meanwhile have you tried a TENS ?
    tony{UK}
    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
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  • I barely remember when my surgeon showed me the model of the spine and the hardware... I was having a mild panic attack!

    Ron's post about the decision to have surgery is great.

    My pain was to the point where I could barely do my job, and I was beginning to have a lot of depression from it. I tried conservative approaches, but they either barely helped or made things worse!

    I am about 2 months post op and I am glad I had surgery. Although it was painful- even the day after surgery I had less pain than I had before surgery. It has been an uphill battle since then, and I hope it just continues to get better. YES, I still have pain, but I am able to manager with less medications and the pain is no where near my pre surgery pain.

    I wish you the best with your decision. Make sure you get a second opinion.
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • thank you both for your opinion,I researched a little about Artifical Disk Replacement,if I understand correctly,it's fairly new,and don't really have a long track record here in the states,for them to study long term,...I understand that each person has a different outcome with this operation,some good,and some bad,...I'm hoping that I have as good of an outcome as you Donnabe,this is my second doctor I've had been to,the first one just wanted to do PT,I went to a second one,(*note both very good doctors In there own way)second one,was trying to stear me away from it,deal with it,but he said"your def gonna need an operation down the road",I'm thinking why not do it now and get it over with,why wait till I cant do anything at all,and wait till the pain gets alot worse?<<<this second doctor comes high rated,in operations,..help my cousins wife after a first doctor screwed up.,..I would Imagine that If you got an excelent Doc,the outcome might be better?....I might be rambling on...but I'm nervous as hell,...especially after I saw all that hardware,...I think my heart stopped for a minute.....thanks again
  • this second doctor comes high rated,in operations,..help my cousins wife after a first doctor screwed up.,..I would Imagine that If you got an excelent Doc,the outcome might be better?....I might be rambling on...but I'm nervous as hell,...especially after I saw all that hardware,...I think my heart stopped for a minute.....thanks again
  • I had the l4/l5 spinal fusion with artifical disk replacement on September 28th. The pain after surgery is far worse than I could have imagined. I swore I made the worst mistake ever, my original back pain was gone but what I was having for 2 weeks after was absolute hell. I am 17 days post op and finally feeling better. I am walking 20 minutes 4 times a day. The original back pain is gone, still some surgerical pain, back spasms etc left but so far I am very happy with my decision. Good luck and keep us posted
  • I had the l4/l5 spinal fusion with artifical disk replacement on September 28th. The pain after surgery is far worse than I could have imagined. I swore I made the worst mistake ever, my original back pain was gone but what I was having for 2 weeks after was absolute hell. I am 17 days post op and finally feeling better. I am walking 20 minutes 4 times a day. The original back pain is gone, still some surgerical pain, back spasms etc left but so far I am very happy with my decision. Good luck and keep us posted
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