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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 140
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Spinal Lumbar Fusion Surgery

Has anyone had this surgery?  I have severe arthritis which is the root of my back problems.  The bottom discs, number 4 and 5, are basically gone.  I have had 3 epidural injections which do absolutely nothing for me.  I am currently on pain medications (gabapentin and tramadol), and I use a Tens unit.  However, I have recently seen an orthopedic surgeon who suggests it is time for the lumbar fusin which would insert titanium between these discs.  He said if I do not have this surgery, eventually I would wind up in a wheelchair.  I am terrified of this surgery.  I plan to see a neurosurgeon for a second opinion.  On a daily basis I have pain; some days are better than others, but when I have a bad day, I am in agony.  I have heard some horror stories, and I have heard some success stories.  If anyone has had experience with this type of procedure, I would very much appreciate your thoughts.  Thank you!

Valued Contributor
Posts: 684
Registered: ‎06-02-2010

Re: Spinal Lumbar Fusion Surgery

Good morning, @Bubby Mommy .  I've had spinal fusioin of L3,L4, L5, S1.  I woke up in the post-op in no pain.  Sure, there was pain from the surgery but that was nothing like 3 1/2 hours before.  I was up and walking with a walker about 7 hours later.  The next morning I was walking upo a short flight of stairs. 

 

I am 2 1/2 years out.  Healing is a process but we can help ourselves with it. Increase calicum intake before surgery.  If you can walk before surgery - walk.  Even if it is just down the driveway.  Go to physical therapy.  Go to every appointment.  Do what they show you.  And, walk.  Walk as much as you can. 

 

I have lost a little range of motion but I couldn't continue to live in the pain.   

Valued Contributor
Posts: 930
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Spinal Lumbar Fusion Surgery

Yes!  I had a lumbar fusion in 2020.  I actually had a cage built around my 3 lower discs.  I had to have 2 surgeries - one from the front to place "4 hooks."  The next surgery was through my back.  I was in a great deal of pain the night after the back surgery.  I was in the hospital for a week and then I was transferred to a rehab facility where I stayed for 3 weeks under going therapy.  I was on pain meds for most of the first 2 weeks.  When I went home I had an in-home nurse and therapist come to my house a few times a week for 3 weeks.

 

My pain has now returned 2 years later, but in another disc.  The surgeon recommends a spinal injection this time, which I have not done yet.

 

This surgery is not tor the faint of heart, but if you need it you have to have it done.  I don't mean to scare you or discouage you.  Your surgery may be different than mine.  But you should discuss in detail with your doctor what to expect after the surgery, something my surgeon did not warn me about.

 

Good luck!

Honored Contributor
Posts: 27,541
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Spinal Lumbar Fusion Surgery

If your ortho doc is a spine surgeon specialist, I would trust him, I dont think you need a neurosurgeon, maybe the opinion of another spine doc. My hubby had spine surgery 20 years ago and his spine doc was amazing. 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 30,187
Registered: ‎05-10-2010

Re: Spinal Lumbar Fusion Surgery

I'll tell you what a doctor recently told me about something different.  He said ignore the horror stories people will be anxious to tell you and don't do a Google search.  I'm glad you are going to see a neurosurgeon.  I know that disc procedure you are talking about was almost always done by neurosurgeons. But orthopods can do them too.   If you are in agony, it's definitely time for you to consider surgery.  Pain is robbing you of your life and peace of mind.  There have been enormous advances in spinal surgeries today.  They are common and safe.  I personally know of only one person who had a discectomy with rod placement.  My friend's dad and he was 80 when he had it done two years ago.  He was only in the hospital for 2 or 3 days.  He recovered at her house for 2 weeks.  Àfter that she said he was a new man.  The pain was gone and he got his life back.  He doesn't need a cane anymore which she said makes him very happy.  

Honored Contributor
Posts: 13,611
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Spinal Lumbar Fusion Surgery

@Bubby Mommy,

I'm so sorry you are going thru this.

My son had this surgery and I'm sorry to say he was in more pain after the surgery. It did not go well.

Definitely get a second opinion and lots of research on  any surgeon.

I wish you well!Smiley Happy

"If you walk the footsteps of a stranger, you'll learn things you never knew. Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains? can you paint with all the colors of the wind?"
Honored Contributor
Posts: 27,541
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Spinal Lumbar Fusion Surgery

My coworker recently had her 5th spine surgery, I will ask what she thinks, she returns to work tomorrow after having it done 6 weeks ago.  She was having to use a cane and could barely walk. 

New Contributor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎02-08-2022

Re: Spinal Lumbar Fusion Surgery

First off every surgery is different as is everyone's diagnosis.

 

I've had two spinal surgeries due to congenital spinal stenosis.

 

The first a C5/6 fusion using a piece of my hip bone was a success. The second, 10 years later was a L3.4.5.with 12 rods and screws. It wasn't a success I woke from surgery with L5 nerve damage that has never corrected itself.

 

My surgeon was Chief of Neuro Surgery and did both surgeries. 

 

Look at the statistics for Multilevel fusion surgeries. There is lots of information on Spinal health and other websites.

 

 

 

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,746
Registered: ‎04-04-2020

Re: Spinal Lumbar Fusion Surgery

A surgeon telling you not to listen to horror stories is pretty bad IMHO.

 

I could share several, each after several spine surgeries my DH had by Chief of Surgery AND again at the Mayo Clinic by top neurosurgeons.

 

He's never been out of terrible pain and continues to get worse and losing more and more mobility.  Yes, everyone is different, however, gather as much info from as many spine specialists as possible for best results.

 

Much luck to you. Heart

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 140
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Spinal Lumbar Fusion Surgery

Thanks everyone for your advice and suggestions.  I am going to do my research and think long and hard before I jump into any major surgery.  I will speak with many doctors and get their opinions.  In the meantime, I will continue with my pain meds.  

 

XOXO