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Lumbar Fusion on a Person with Diabetes

Has anyone with diabetes had to have a lumbar fusion? Did you have any complications? Did it help with your chronic pain? My surgeon has recommend a fusion and I'm just trying to get as much info as possible before we proceed with the surgery. TIA for responding.



  • Hi, I am scheduled for 2 level lumbar fusion, front and back, (360), this coming monday. Sept 17th. and i know that diabetic patients heal slower than regular patients. But my doctor has not dicussed any worries regarding this. He knows i am a type 2 diabetic. I take pills though not insulin. The recovery time is going to be slow and long even if you are NOT a diabetic. Fusion just takes a while for the graft to grow to your bones.
    Good Luck to you with your surgery!
  • CJP,

    Good luck to you also. If you feel like it, let me know how it goes. I'll say a prayer for you.

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  • a friend of mine has had 3 fusion surgeries to date. she's a type I diabetic. she's made sure the docs know ahead of time, so they can track her blood sugar post-op more closely. Her 3rd surgery was to redo the 2nd where the hardware came loose, and while the doc was in there, decided she needed the next level up fused as well. i can tell you her last surgery was a little over a year ago and she's at the pool swimming 6 days a week, and has been since about 2 months post surgery. she's the reason i actually went and had my last 2 surgeries. Figured if she could get through them so well, i have a shot. (and she's almost 20 yeard older than i am...)
    Microdisectomy / hemi-laminectomy 6/2010 and revision 10/2010
    Cervical fusion C4-5 and C5-6 9/2011
    Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 6/2012
  • You don't say if your type 1 or 2. Most diabetics that have issues have them because they were/are not well controlled to start with. If your A1C is at or below 6 you should have no issues. Most Dr.'s will mention the fact that diabetics heal differently then non diabetics. I don't know if its true or not but if you have never had any problems healing prior to a fusion surgery you shouldn't have a issue.

    Fuions are not done to deal with chronic pain but to stabilize areas of the spine that need to stabilzed. If you get pain relief from the surgery that is a added bonus.

    You could ask to meet with the hospital endocrinoligist prior to any surgery to see how they handle diabetics in general and if they will meet your needs or if they will do things that you know will help you out. If your on a insulin pump a lot of hospitals these days will allow you to take care of yourself once you are physically able to do so but this has to bee set up in advance.

    Good luck with your decision.
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