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life changing decision to make about to do or not to do lower and upper back fusion with rods called

renanewmanrrenanewman Posts: 3
edited 09/30/2014 - 10:22 PM in New Member Introductions
my name is rena and i was diagnosed with degenartive disc disease at the age of 18, with bulging discs in lower back. since then i have had 3 surgeries to my lower back last one in 2002. i am 45 year old female who has had a lamenectomy, fusion with parts of my hip bone, fusion with hardware all in lower back. my last surgery helped me for a few years and then about 3-4 years ago i started having severe pain in my lower back leading me back to the burning in my legs mostly the right one with both big toe numbness and tingling at night, now my hands tingle and feel like they are going to sleep and since january myy middle of my back has been hurting me so badly with severe muscle spasms along with all of the other back problems. i put my stuff on hold for over a year to help my husband who had never been sick only to find out last year he needed back lower surgery in which he is finally better and doing well. i missed over a week of work a couple of weeks ago due to all of the back pain and finally decided once again i knew the only way i was going to get some relief was to have another surgery. i tried other alternatives injrctions in the back lost weight etc: so me thinking i had it all figured out i went to myy specialist apt yesterday and med with his right hand man physiciaans assistant. they are the ones who helped my husband and so i switched to these specialist orthopedic surgeons. they recieved all of the tests i had done a few years ago and did their own exrays and found the new problems in the middle of my back. the assistant shared with me the only thing they could do was a T10-S2 fusion with rods and big screws in my hips for support and are concerned about me having the procedure due to the loss of mobility i would lose from having this done also because of myy age being 45 and no guarantee this would fix my problem due to the injections they gave me didnt help at all other than a few days. i feel stuck i am suffering on a daiy basis toughing it out along wih medication intervention in which my goal was to have surgery and get off of all of them during my post op recooping time. i have good insurance and yes this scares me to death and it was if they were trying to talk me out of it when all i am doing is begging or the possibility of relief taking my chances. i guess it is an 8 hour procedure and would loose alot more blood and more recovery time would be needed. i am tough and said i would never do this again but i feel desperate as my quality of life is not what is used to be. my husband is the best but i feel as though he is totally against it after listening to the surgeons right hand man. this surgery is to fuse the lowest of my back all the way to the midde of my back with the use of rods. i guess also one of my vertabraes moves in the opposite direction hoing that makes since, i was hoping they could fix the lower and the middle only but they said that would not work because of the vertabraes in between would eventually crumble and i would then have to have another surgery and still might hsve to at the age of 60. has anyone had this type of surgery and been able to go back into a mostly productive life? i am a counselor and the goal is to be mostly pain free with alot of hard work on my end because like i said i am a fighter so does anyone have feedback for me of any kind regarding this type of procedureand what are the thoughts out there of people with similar stories or even physician feedback please help i have to decide by the 20th when i have myy preop apt. thank you for your time, sinccereky rena


  • LizLiz Posts: 8,835

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,269
    edited 10/01/2014 - 3:45 AM
    so if that is the sole motivation behind wanting to go ahead with surgery, I wouldn't do it......but that's me.
    It is a very large surgery, and it would involve loosing flexibility, as the PA explained to you.
    Surgery is done for two purposes, one to fix an anatomical /mechanical problem, the other is to relieve compression of the cord or the nerve roots. Do some patients get some pain relief, yes, do others wind up with far more pain than they had previous to surgery, yes. There is no way to predict which you will wind up with.
    I would suggest that you talk to the surgeon about spinal cord stimulation, or an intrathecal pain pump and any other options, including bracing or other treatment options before undergoing surgery.....
    And I would also suggest that you talk to at least a few other surgeons to see what they recommend as far as options to consider.
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  • thank you so much for your information. I will say yes I am desperate for some relief also this back situation is not getting better is only getting worse. My quality of life is changing quickly and I am a pretty strog and tough as well as motivated individual. I am curious if I do consider having the surgery what other people who have ben through this same surgery what level were they able to get back to living their life and be productive versus becoming disabled from this sugery.. I will check out the spinal cord stimulation and intrathecal pump. Have you personally known anyone who has had this surgery and what was their outcome. thank you so much for the feedback
  • Sandi is right, this is a big surgery and you should talk to different specialists to allow you to make this decision. This being said, should you decide to go ahead with the surgery, I wanted to tell you that I had one almost as big as yours (T12-S1) seven weeks ago and I am doing very well. Mine was done because of the instability of my spine, and I think it definitely fixed it. As far as losing mobility, well I learned to modify my movements. Right now I am still not allowed to bend, but after my previous fusion I just bent from the hip, with straight back. I also bend my knees a lot, almost to a squat, so i can reach things that are lower. It is not even 2months after my surgery, and I am doing very well. And you think you are old for this kind of surgery? Well, I am 77! Now by no means do I try to convince you to go ahead with the surgery without being sure that for you this is the best solution. Believe me, surgery was the last thing I wanted. But in case you have no better option, I want you to know that this would not be the end of the world. Good luck with your decision!
  • renanewmanrrenanewman Posts: 3
    edited 10/06/2014 - 5:51 PM
    Thank you for the encouraging words if you can do it so can i. i belive our minds are a very powerful thing and we can push to be successful and get better or we can lay in the pain feeling hopeless. i choose to get the problem fixed have a positive attitude and follow doctors orders. i love this forum it has really help me get informed and feel supported. thank you. now i a,m ready for the next responder or continued resposees. rena
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