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2nd spinal fusion

Trw0211TTrw0211 Posts: 3
edited 12/21/2015 - 5:13 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am possibly facing another spinal fusion. My first one was L5-S1 in 2006. The pain and recovery was long and painful and the thought of going through that again makes me cringe. I just had my 2nd steroid injection today. Doctor had terrible bedside manner and I'm not having the 3rd (from him anyway)
For anyone that has had a 2nd spinal fusion, is the recovery any better 10 years later and is 2nd as bad as first?
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  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 901
    Yes... I've had 2 spinal lumbar fusion surgeries in the past 3 years. On the first surgery (PLIF L4-L5-S1) I woke up with zero nerve pain and the recovery was free of complications... but it took a full 12 months to feel 100% normal again. The second surgery (PLIF L5-S1) was due to a broken screw and failed fusion at L5-S1 and this time after surgery I woke with ALL of the siatic pain and MORE as before surgery. It took 4 months of misery before the nerve pain finally went away... but I think that was more related to the L3-L4 disc herniation (that had been crushing my spinal nerve column) that he also repaired. I'm now at 11 months post op on the second surgery and not yet 100% but the doctor says the fusion looks good. He said up front the full recovery would take longer just because it was the second time on the same lumbar segment and my increasing age. Would I do it a 3rd time...? I don't know... I'm like you the thought of it makes me cringe... as recovery is a longggg tough road. For sure I would ask a lot of questions, get lots of images of the problems, get lots of opinions, and explore all options before getting back under the knife.
    Harry - 63 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 901
    Do you still have the hardware in your back from the 2006 surgery..?? Is it all intact..??
    Harry - 63 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
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  • I had my second fusion like 2 years after the first. The first was the S1-L4 2 level fusion and was very rough on me. The 2nd was L3-L4 and was 100% easier on me. My opinion is the lowest level S1-L5 is a rougher surgery for some reason. They did pull my first rod and added a longer one the second surgery but was still a lot easier on me. I was 47 when I had the first one and was in great shape and thought I could handle anything but I was a big baby my wife said. Nothing easy about back surgeries! Hope this help. I've been pretty much pain free for last 5 years and now the next level needs help. It never stops and I'm sick of surgery and being out of work for 3 months at a time. I'm looking at disc replacement if it's at all possible to slow down the chain reaction with doing fusions.
    TLIF L4-S1 2007                                         TLIF L3-L4 2008                                          TLIF L2-L3 2016
  • Thanks so much for the info. Surgeon said my hardware is solid. I am leaning towards agreeing to the surgery but still shudder at the thought of that pain.
    My husband keeps trying to convince me that the surgical pain will be worth it in the end to be "fixed"
    I guess we'll see! Thanks again for replies, I did get a little hope with hearing the L3-4 might be a little easier than L5-S1 was.
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