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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Are you having a one level fusion, L4-L5, or are they doing L5-S1 also? This won't make much difference in how you feel, but it can take a longer healing time.

I am fused from L3 to S1 and am pleased with the results. It did take three surgeries to resolve my pain...but finally they figured out the source of my pain, and resolved it. I've just had lumbar surgeries so don't know if it is comparable to a cervical fusion or not. My three surgeries were all posterior. I'm not sure what the benefit is of doing both PLIF and might ask that of your surgeon.

As far as I am concerned, the most important decision you will make is the selection of the surgeon. It is always a good idea to get several opinions as there are different ways to approach a problem and doctors do vary sometimes on the diagnosis and what is needed to remedy the issues. You want to be sure you are going to the most experienced, best qualified surgeon that is available to you.

Regarding the fusion itself, it is a big surgery and takes time to recover from...about a year for the new bone to set up strong and hard, even though you will have bone growth much earlier than that. The first week or so is rough, but since this is not your first time at the rodeo, you will have some idea of what to expect. As long as you are prepared for a long recovery that requires patience, you should be fine.
Thanks for the info and advice!! I really appreciate it. I have been trying to prepare my wife for what is coming, i don't think she grasps how tuff this is going to be. They are fusing from S1 to L3 as both discs at L5-S1 and L4 are flat and have both bone and disc matter closing off the nerve canal and putting pressure on the nerves to both legs. Not fun. Legs always feel weak, and constant pain in right. Surgery scares me for the fact of the long recovery. I have already been determined permanently disabled, because of my neck, back and heart, so work is not an issue. thank god i was able to work for over 30 years and paid into the system!! I am able to afford a medicare advantage program. so my insurance is good. My wife depends on me for quite a lot. and i fear after the surgery, she sees how much i am going to be laid up she will have a hard time. the last thing is i am also a smoker and a type 2 diabetic. i do not use alcohol at all. no illegal drugs. (who has time for that nonsense) but i do smoke. usually a pack or less a day. tried quitting several times and always fell back to it. But on a good note when i had the neck fusion and plate, i still smoked and the fusion worked great . i got a solid fusion. only problem is it just pushed everything down a level so my neck and left arm pain really hasn't been helped much. anyway thanks again for your advise!!
Hi, thanks for the info and advise!! I am having both L5-S1 and L4 fused so the fusion will be from S1 to L3. I think i have a great surgeon. i don't know if it is okay to post a doctors name here but his name is James C. Weis with the OAA group in Allentown PA. I checked as much as i could find on him and everything i found was positive. he apparently has done lecturing nation wide on new advanced procedures and when I talked to him, he was competent, and confident. The long healing time is my big concern, as well as the long time to be out under anesthesia. 4 to 6 hour surgery? not looking forward to that!!. My poor wife really does not know what she is in for as far as having to help me during recovery. I worry mostly about her and how she is going to handle this. she does not seem to grasp how involved and serious this surgery is. i tried to get her to watch a video on which shows the PLIF/TLIF (yes i am getting both) surgeries, and she acted like she was not interested. More rather scared to see it, is what i really think. I am putting a lot on her, and she is my rock, and i fear i am putting too much on her this time.

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