"Simple Fusion"???

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Lakeside
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 10/28/2007 6:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Is there such a thing?  Hi all!  Just saw my PM & he looked at my new MRI vs my old one from last spring & said my spondy is worse...moving things forward & taking a disc along, which is causing my present major back & leg pain (including total numbness in right foot & burning along whole sciatic nerve).  He's suggesting some ESI's to settle things down but wants me to see my neuro doc about a possible "simple fusion" @ L4/L5 to stabilize things & help w/ the radiculopathy, etc.  No instrumentation, "just" a fusion....
 
Anyone here to speak from experience?  How long did you put it off? (I teach FT right now & I'm about 3 years to retirement....could I wait??)  How bad was it?  Did it help?  Would you do it again?  Would you have done anything else?
 
My head is swimming----I thought I was improving until a few weeks ago when I started (again) with the horrible back/leg/foot pain....
 
Thanks soooo much!
 
~Lakeside
2 lumbar surgeries for L4-L5-S1 cystic tumor & post-surgical CSF leak complications. (Fall of '06). Central canal stenosis, severe degnerative arthrosis, grade 1 (21% shift) spondylolisthesis @ L5-S1 area, sensory & nerve function loss & radiculopathy in r leg/foot, on-going facet pain, sacral/illiac pain, lots of epidural fibrosis @ L5/S1.


Chutz
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9090
   Posted 10/29/2007 6:58 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Lakeside,

Nice to meet you! I have never heard of a 'simple fusion'! You mess with the spine and it's complex! I have a collapsed disk at L5/S1 and have lived with it for nearing 10 years. I have pain issues but from talking to an orthopedic surgeon...his advice was leave it alone. Spinal surgery is 'iffy' at best and dangerous at worst. You may have to go there some day but if you can hold out, I would. I'm not a doc nor pretend to be...just my opinion here. Your back sounds worse than mine but I have no plans for surgery. When they offered a referral to a back surgeon I refused.

Keep in touch...
Chutz
Co-Mod Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
~~~
Fibromyalgia, Ulcerative Colitis, Insulin dependent diabetic, collapsed disk, dermatitis herpetiformus, osteo arthritis in spine and other locations.
***************

The only difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has it's limits. Albert Einstein: (1879-1955)


ollie624
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 10/29/2007 1:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi lakeside, I have had 3 surgeries the last was a 2 level fusion with cages and a bone graft 3 years ago. Just got new mri and now have 4 buldging disks they want to do another fusion  and I am waiting as long as possable. That would be 4 fused levels. I dont know what a simple fusion is either but my advice is to wait as long as you can  . Only thing you have to watch is nerve damage. If you wait to long.I would wait as long as you can stand the pain i know not easy at all the pain is very difficult but only you know what you can handle.There is no sure thing when it comes to fusion. If you trust your doc listen to him but remember that it is your pain and your back. I hope you feel better and if you decide on fusion i hope it works and your recovery is easy.

Lakeside
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 10/29/2007 5:29 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you all! It's such a tough decision, as the pain is all-comsuming & altho I've had worse, I can't imagine tolerating this until retirement (3 years). Or for much longer.....
Then again, I freshly remember waking up after my 2 previous lumbar "digs" & thinking "Whoa! I can't even NAME this pain!" Feels like a ditch spade in your low back & then they pour in some some alcohol...sorry for the "squirm factor" here, but I never ever felt something like that before, ever. So to think of undergoing it again, for a 3rd time......
Yet.....the nerve/disc/back pain is soooo bad....How could it get worse? (Well, I suppose it certainly could!)

Ugh! We shouldn't have to make these decisions, right?!

Thanks again to all----and anyone else who has some words of wisdom!
~ Lake
2 lumbar surgeries for L4-L5-S1 cystic tumor & post-surgical CSF leak complications. (Fall of '06). Central canal stenosis, severe degnerative arthrosis, grade 1 (21% shift) spondylolisthesis @ L5-S1 area, sensory & nerve function loss & radiculopathy in r leg/foot, on-going facet pain, sacral/illiac pain, lots of epidural fibrosis @ L5/S1.


straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13481
   Posted 10/29/2007 6:22 PM (GMT -7)   

Hello Lake,

Aw, my heart goes out to you. Yes, I think I can explain what your dr meant by a "simple fusion". Before they came out with the rods, the pedicle screws, now the cages, none of this crappy hardware was around to be put in the body. The fusion was done here in my town by sometimes an orthopedic & neurosurgeon, they worked as a team. Thats when insurance companies allowed drs to be drs. They would either take the bone graft from your hip or from the bone bank. That was your usual fusion, until they came out with all the hardware. When they first started using hardware not everyone was a candidate for it. They were really selective about who got hardware and who didn't. Then, the next thing you know everyone needs hardware. Wrong, not everyone needs it. I would never consider the hardware personally. You are trying to trick the body into accepting something that shouldn't be there and its a no win situation. I know personally of numerous people who had instrumentation surgery and regretted it. In a year every single one of them was back in the operating room having the hardware removed. They had intense pain from the hardware every stinking day. They went thru hell recovery wise and never got any better. You have had previous surgeries so you know what I am talking about. The drs forget to tell patients that the body can and does reject instrumentation and the rate is very high.

Most people complained of the graft area in the hip as being more painfull than the actual surgery. That was the biggest complaint. You know about the nerve pain, let it go too long and it can become permanent and no surgery can fix that. You can also end up dragging a leg around forever by waiting too long, this happened to a good friend of mine. You can loose control of your bladder & bowels.

It takes a good year to totally heal and recover from a fusion and don't let anyone tell you any different. You may be even longer since you have had 2 priors.

Above all find yourself a good neurosurgeon to do your surgery. These guys are alot more qualified to get in there around nerves versus an ortho. Ok, sorry its so long, my 2 cents. I have seen thousands of these done.

Susie



Lakeside
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 138
   Posted 10/30/2007 6:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you Susie---a great explanation. I, also, know people who have had the "instrumentated" fusion& they have been thru the depths of ..... well, as you stated!

I see my PM doc next week for an ESI, hopefully to quiet things down & then see my neuro doc in Dec for a 1 yr check up. PM doc said I should ask about my options, but was suggesting that "simple" fusion...

Thank you & everyone else for all the advice & wisdom...I've been a bit "down" this week, as it is the anniversary of all this disruption of a former "normal" life.... I am still caught between "no longer and not yet" as to who, exactly, I am now....! I just hurt constantly & this MRI news has caught me by surprise, as I thought I was getting better... But, well, it could be worse, right?!

Wishing you all a peaceful night. Lake Michigan is suitably noisy tonight, but for me, it's a lullaby! Rest well, all!

~ Lakeside
2 lumbar surgeries for L4-L5-S1 cystic tumor & post-surgical CSF leak complications. (Fall of '06). Central canal stenosis, severe degnerative arthrosis, grade 1 (21% shift) spondylolisthesis @ L5-S1 area, sensory & nerve function loss & radiculopathy in r leg/foot, on-going facet pain, sacral/illiac pain, lots of epidural fibrosis @ L5/S1.

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