spinal fusion anyone?

gma_jAugust 17, 2005

I am scheduled for back surgery Sept 1. I will have L4, L5, and S1 fused and also laminescomy. I am resigned to the fact that I have to have this done to get pain relief, but what I am wondering from any of you, is what the recovery will be like. Such as what do I need at home that will make things easier - the surgeon mentioned to have a walker at home. I am wondering about sitting and sleeping - what others have found the most comfortable. Any info or comments would be very much appreciated.

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Logfrog

Will you be in a brace? I have had all the vertebrae from my sacrum up to my lower ribs fused. I was in a brace for six months. My surgeon warned me NOT to use a walker because it would encourage me to bend forward and that would be the way I would heal. I was allowed to walk, or lie down. He did not want me sitting except on flat hard chair. No sagging soft chairs or couch. You want your spine to be as straight as possible as the fusions take.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 5:08PM
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Logfrog

I should have added that I healed beautifully and no one can tell that anything was changed. I sincerely believe that it was his advice to keep my back as straight as possible for the entire six months was what worked. I know one woman that had hers done about the same time. She sat a lot and while she no longer has pain, when she stands, she looks as bent as she did when she was sitting.
Frog

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 5:12PM
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gma_j

Frog, thanks so much for your info. I'm really looking for this kind of information so I can make a list of things to ask the week before I go into surgery. I will be sure to ask him if I will have a brace and also about not using a walker. It makes sense that you should sit in a straight chair rather than a soft chair or recliner, etc.
These are good things for me to bring up. Also glad to hear that you healed so well. Thanks again, Jeanie

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 7:54PM
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Logfrog

I kept an old cheap walker by the bed. It helped me to get out of bed without putting a strain on my back muscles. I also used it to pull myself up from the toilet. But I didn't walk with it. You may not need a brace. I have an extra vertabra in my spine and that meant I had more to fuse. Also, I was already rather crooked because of scoliosis and I needed to get that straightened out.
Frog

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 8:36PM
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Seamer1

My husband had the same vertibre fused. He had to walk alot, and that helped alot. Bout the only exersise that does anygood. He had a lengthy healing process and wore a back brace while healing.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 6:12PM
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gma_j

Seamer1, thanks for replying. How long ago did your husband have his surgery? How is he doing now? Also, after coming home to recuperate, what was comfortable for him as far as sitting (straight hard chair, recliner, soft chair, etc?) and sleeping? Thanks, Jeanie

    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 10:08PM
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Logfrog

Jeanie, I forgot to mention....the pain that you have been having will most likely be completly gone. You will be comfortable just about anywhere. It will surprise you!! The big problem is to be careful and not mess up the fusions by sitting in positions that allow your butt to sink, as in a recliner, soft chair, etc. Walking is the ideal exercise. I was supposed to walk three miles a day. I'm too lazy for that.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 12:55PM
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perk2

My husband had spinal fusion done 2 years ago (August 20). I would recommend getting a toilet seat riser. It will add about 3-4" in height. It will be much easier for you to get up from. Also PLEASE get shower rails installed in your tub area. It will be much easier to get in and out of the shower. You may also want a seat to put in the shower. My husband found these to be the most useful in his healing. He did very well from the surgery but did get a staph infection and was readmitted for surgery to clean it out. Luckily it was not in the incision from the back but from where they took a part of his hip for a donor bone. He is doing remarkably well from the surgery now. GOOD LUCK TO YOU.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2005 at 9:30PM
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socks

Gma j, when you are up to it, let us all know how you are doing.

Susan

    Bookmark   September 12, 2005 at 11:08PM
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gma_j

Hello Susan and all,
My surgery went very well. It was to have been 2 1/2 hours, but took about 4 as he had found more to repair than he expected. My legs were pain free from the moment I woke up, and needless to say, I am just thrilled. I have three grown daughters that live close so they have been taking turns staying with me. I had 2 really sick days a couple of days after I came home, I guess a reaction to all the narcotic drugs, but since then every day gets better. I try to walk a little more each day. My back, of course, is still very uncomforable when sitting and laying and have to keep trying to find the "just right" position. But it is not painful. Any questions, please let me know. Susan, I appeciate your asking how I am doing? Thanks, Jeanie

    Bookmark   September 13, 2005 at 9:45AM
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Logfrog

That's great!!! I knew you would be surprised to find that the leg pain was gone when you woke up. Now, behave yourself and watch your posture....OK?? Anesthesia makes a lot of people feel like the bottom of the garbage can so as soon as that gets all out of your system, you will feel better.
Froggy

    Bookmark   September 13, 2005 at 8:48PM
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perk2

I am so glad to hear that you are doing well. I've said prayers for you to continue on your healing way. May God Bless.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 9:34PM
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gma_j

Thanks for your prayers, perk2. I really appreciate them as God is my anchor. It's been about 2 1/2 weeks now since surgery and my legs are still pain free. I start physical therapy tomorrow. So far, all is going well. Jeanie

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 1:41PM
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perk2

Jeanie, I am so glad to hear all is going well. Good luck on your therapy as that is an important part in healing. Just don't over do it. Thanks for keeping us informed.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2005 at 8:17PM
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bop62

I'm trying to decide between an artificial disc and a spinal fusion. Any opinions? Thanks.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 10:51AM
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gma_j

bop62, what is going on with your spine? Are you a candidate for an artificial disc? The problems in my spine did not give me the option of artificial discs. (As a sidenote, though, my neurosurgeon was one of the doctors that developed the artificial disc.)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 11:48AM
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agnespuffin

On problem is that some people have bones that are simply not in good shape. The fusions don't knit well, the artificial discs don't set in well either because the surounding bone are not strong enough. Sometimes it takes both fusion and rods to give proper support.

Bop....you need to start a new thread. This one is old post from Aug.2005 and the original poster is getting a copy of all the answers to your questions in his/her email.

Good luck on whatever you decide. Follow your doctor's advice.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 12:34PM
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bop62

I, too, am having difficulty deciding on spinal fusion surgery. I have a lot of pain when I sit to do anything, and since physical therapy for over two years hasn't helped at all, three orthopedic spine specialists recommend a fusion for me at L5S1. Any suggestions before I opt for surgery? Thank you for your comments.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 12:06PM
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gma_j

bop62, before I had my fusion (which were L4, L5, S1) I had a spinal epideral. This only lasted for me for about a month and it was decided with what was going on with me, trying it again was just not worth it.
It has been just over a year since I had my fusion and also a laminectomy and I am pleased. The terrible pain in my legs and feet are gone. Some pain remained in my lower back even after about 9 months, so they gave me an injection thru my tailbone and now am pain=free. My back does still get sore and tired if I overdue or stand too long, but that is a small price to pay for the pain I had been going thru for several years before the surgery.
One thing I would do for sure, if you decided on surgery, do a lot of talking with others about the surgeon you choose.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2006 at 12:18PM
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bop62

I would like to start a new thread and ask questions, but I don't know how to do it. I am the guy with the degenerated disc at L5S1. I don't know if I'm a candidate for artificial disc or not, but the choice is not available to me anyway. So it's either a spinal fusion or continued pain. Pain is not enough to make me cry or anything, but sitting or reclining hurts, so whenever I read, write, eat, etc., I'm in pain. I'm leaning very heavily towards the fusion. I have an excellent spine specialist to operate. Physical therapy for over two years has not helped. Anything else I should consider? Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 11:32AM
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gma_j

bop62, have you had the spinal epidurals --as I mentioned above, didn't work long for me, but I know a couple of people who have had pain relief.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 11:50AM
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bop62

gma, thanks for your reply. No, my doc says epidurals won't work with a degenerated disc. Temporary at best, and he says they work for soft tissue issues, not mechanical disorders. Is this your understanding of epidurals, too?

    Bookmark   November 24, 2006 at 11:46AM
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jaceysgranny

Bop, beneath the advertisement at the top of the page it says
"Post a Message". All you have to do is click on that and it will take you to a place to make your own thread. It's very simple.

I'm seeing a surgeon on 12/11 for bad discs and spinal spinosis. I'm pretty worried about it but also want to be rid of the pain. Good luck to you with your surgery. Let us know how you feel.

Nancy

    Bookmark   November 25, 2006 at 3:33AM
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gma_j

Bop, I also had spinal stenosis along with the bad discs. Sounds like you have a surgeon you trust, so I would trust his judgement on the epidurals. Keep us updated.

Nancy, good luck with your surgery...I had L4, L5, and S1 fused and a laminectomy for the spinal stenosis. I was worried about it also but was so tired of living with the pain. I'm so glad I finally had the surgery. Keep us posted on your progress also.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 7:10PM
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pcr349

Spinal Fusion? I have a herinated disc L4/L5 will possible herination at L3/L4, tried steriod shots and they didn't work, physically therapy, traction etc... My next step is to do a discogram and then decide if it want to do surgery. I am scared to deatht to do this. Can anyone give me any information on procedure and recovery time. Thanks

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 4:19PM
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gma_j

pcr349, what kind of surgery are they talking about? If you let us know, maybe we can give you more information.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 1:06PM
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phoggie

Bump

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 5:41PM
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gma_j

Hi phoggie, I see you bumpted this up. Do you have some questions?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 12:18PM
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yvonnepeterson

I just wanna know how your doing so far and were there any complications. How long has it been since surgery?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 10:20AM
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jackiepie

gma
Did you ever have your surgery? Doctor's are telling me I will need three level spine fusion with rods, and screws Plus a cage in the front. I am soooo scared
What type of surgery did you have? How much pain did you have after the surgery? How long were you in the hospital? How long did it take you to rehab back to "normal"?

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 9:12PM
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