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L5/S1 Fusion Surgery for Sciatica? Who has had it?

Hello all,

My doctor has recommend a TLIF spinal fusion at the L5/S1 site. He did my 2nd surgery decompression and stabilization. 4 small screws and 2 small rods to provide stability to the disc. I have now had 2 unsuccessful surgeries in under one year. Mind you, I am 25 years of age.

My butt becomes on fire/numbness type feeling from sitting for more then 30 seconds to a minute, worsens the longer I have to sit. My legs usually only from behind my knee down are extreme tightness, electric sometimes, burning hot, cutting of nerves type feeling, stretching of the skin and so on feelings. Both of them. Not just one but luck of the draw and got bilateral herniation and nerve impingement. I have gotten worse from both surgeons. My current surgeon wants to do a fusion to allow for more room for the nerves, due to him saying I have flat back. And also have DDD and FBSS. He wants to remove the disc and do a fusion for L5/S1. He insists I am out of the box case which I definitely am and he wants to help me and also knows if i don't do it now, within next few years, i'll need a fusion.

The only thing this past surgery helped with was the lower back pain. For the most part that is much better but with the butt and legs worse, you get the point..

I read online many fusions being done for lower back pain but not much about people having a fusion done to help relieve sciatica pain (legs or butt)

I'm looking for people's input who have had the surgery done for sciatica and results/outcomes. I am very scared. I'm severely depressed all the time because of the pain. I am so young and it has ruined my life in every way possible. I want to have some sort of life. I don't know what else to do!

Thanks for your results/outcomes in advance.


Time is of the essence. Thanks all!


  • terror8396tterror8396 Posts: 1,832
    edited 06/24/2013 - 7:22 PM
    my original fusion was for sciatica pain. i had the L5-4 fused which put pressure on the L4-3 which late also had to be fused. before i had sciatica pain in rt leg from the butt down to the knee. it also went across the middle of the back. well i guess so many fusions along with scar tissue made it worse. i had a decompression also and a removal of the metal after 2 years. i had to have a fusion repair with the L3-4 last year. i hear your pain and feel your pain and see your pain. the pain is still there and worse. i think the nerve along the leg was so screwed that it affected the pain along the sciatic nerve. now i have numbness along the left leg from the butt to the knee due to my last fusion in my right leg. it is definitely a crap shoot with fusions and back surgery. would i do it over again if i had to? it is hard to say since originally my pain got better after my first fusion, now it is worse.
    good luck
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Hi Nick - 25yo and suffering like you have, you poor fella.
    I had a fusion of L5/S1 in 2006 for sciatica pain (I was 39), mine went very well indeed. About an 80% reduction in pain, I was back in the gym after a couple of months (this was my 2nd operation). I have to say that I have a different pain now (I've just posted about it) but that is probably nothing to do with the surgery.
    I can't say how yours will affect you, one thing to bear in mind when reading these forums is that many people that post have had bad experiences (I've just posted for the first time about my recent pain - I never posted years ago to say all was well!) so listen to your consultant, it's the best you can do.

    Being young you are likely to recover better now than in the future. Like many people here, I know all about chronic pain (I'm sitting here in awful pain right now!) and how it can dominate your life. I personally am determined not to let it win and I stay as active as it will allow me to.
    Personally I just went with what the consultant recommended, I figured he knew better than me! We make decisions about whether to have surgery based on fear and gut feelings, I'm not saying to ignore those but the fact is the consultants tend to be better informed to suggest the best course of action.

    Good luck buddy - keep us informed.
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