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Back Problems Message Board


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I have two herniated and degenerative disks at L4/5 and L5/S1. My doctor is suggesting a two level fusion and I need some advice. I'm only 31 years old and I'm concerned about my pain and the rest of my back in the future. I've heard that 3 level fusions, which i may end up having, are an absolute nightmare and should be avoided at all cost. I have had considerable chronic pain for 7 years but i would rather live like this than risk having 3 or more fusions in the future. Has anyone out there had a great deal of success with a two level lumbar fusion and has anyone out there had another healthy disk fail because of their fusion. I'm extremely confused and would like to talk to someone that's been in my situation, and about the surgery itself.

Thanks for the help
[QUOTE=MWolcott]I have two herniated and degenerative disks at L4/5 and L5/S1. My doctor is suggesting a two level fusion and I need some advice. I'm only 31 years old and I'm concerned about my pain and the rest of my back in the future. I've heard that 3 level fusions, which i may end up having, are an absolute nightmare and should be avoided at all cost. I have had considerable chronic pain for 7 years but i would rather live like this than risk having 3 or more fusions in the future. Has anyone out there had a great deal of success with a two level lumbar fusion and has anyone out there had another otherwise healthy disk fail because of their fusion? My doctor will not perform a 3 level fusion if my L3/L4 disk does herniate from the added weight. I'm concerned that i may get temporary, short term, pain relief but that i may end up in worse shape in the future. I'm extremely confused and would like to talk to someone that's dealt with this life changing decision.

Thanks so much for the help[/QUOTE]
[QUOTE=MWolcott;2588809][/QUOTE]
I had my Lumbar Fusion at L4/5 and S1. The first fusion I had I used a Bone Donor. Although I followed everything they told me to do I was still in a lot of pain months after surgery. In 2003 I ended up having to have another fusion,but this time they used my own bone. The prior fusion never fully fused. My body rejected the bone from a Donor..This one did heal. I ask that if you're considering using a bone donor do your homework. Ask questions on the success rate. Yes,it does prevent you from healing from two surgeries,but it's better than having to go through another fusion! It has been 7 years since I've had my last fusion. While it's true that I have less problems with pain in that area of my back, I do have problems with my mid-back and neck. I didn't have any problems with these areas before the fusions. I didn't know that having a Fusion made the area above and below it weaker.
I have more problems with my back today than I did before my fusions. Would I have had those problems anyway? No one knows or will give me a straight answer. I cannot tell anyone if they should or shouldn't have a fusion. However, I wish I would have known what questions to ask before I had mine. Please research! If a Doctor gives you surgery as your only option, Please get a second and even a third opinion! (check to make sure your insurance will cover this). Neurosurgeon vs Orthopedic Surgeon?? While both can specialize in Spine Surgery( be sure your Doctor is BOARD CERTIFIED. Don't assume that they are. You'd be surprised.) Only neurosurgeons are trained during their six or seven year residency to perform procedures inside the lining of the spinal canal called the dura. Make sure that if you're seeing a Neurosurgeon they are well trained and experienced in doing SPINE surgery. Some specialize in BRAIN SURGERY and have very little experience in doing Spine Sugery. The same for a Orthopedic Surgeron, make sure you don;t settle on one who specializes in doing mostly joint surgeries,and do very little spine surgeries. Don't be afraid to ask your surgeon about his or her training, practice focus, experience with whatever operation has been recommended, and whether you the patient have been presented all of the options that exist (regardless of whether your surgeon performs all of them or not). Don't be afraid to speak up. It's your body, your spine! Good Luck!
I too am having two level lumbar fusion in Jan. I have no disc height at L5-S1, and my L4-5 is on its way out too. I have tried every conservative treatment known to man and nothing has provided relief. I feel this is my only option. I too am scared but, I am positive and believe in my NS. Do get a 2nd opinion though. Take care!





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