SHOULD I FUSE MY SPINE at L3,4 & 5

I've got Spondylolisthesis and it's recommended that I get my L3,4& 5 fused.

I'm 50. I also have DDD, Osteoarthritis, Sciatica, Arachnoditis, Scoliosis, AND every Disk in my Lumbar area is herniated on both sides.

I DO NOT WANT Fusion, but don't think I have a choice. I sound like Nick Friggin Nolte trying to get out of bed in the morning.

ANY Advice on wether to get fusion or not is GREATLY appreciated.

Currently - for pain - I take Morphine, Percocet, Tramadol, & Lyrica.

I also have a tens unit which can, on occasion, be helpful

Thank you so much.

I WANT YOUR OPINIONS AND STORIES

EK

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Well, I had a fusion of L 4-5 and S1. It was not particularly helpful but having said that, I did not have herniated discs on both sides of the spine.

What I do know is when you fuse the spine, you push stresses to the levels above and below the fusion. Have you tried a protracted period in a body brace? I just wonder if it would give you an idea of possible relief from the surgery? You might discuss that with your doctor. You might also get a second opinion, and include a neurosurgeon in the review too.

These days, neurosurgeons have developed micro techniques for improving disc pressures. Not sure you would qualify for that, But in your position, I would look into it.

I would also want to know how much of a role your scoliosis plays in the disc herniations, and what will happen to the fusion because of teh scoliosis? do they plan to rod your curve into a more normal position? Or will the curve create new problems for the fusion?

Those are the thoughts that come to my mind tonight, if i have more later, i will add them

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Thank you.
I have had a second opinion. I'm going to get a third.
THis is a serious move that I'd rather not do but they say I'll eventually be paralyzed if I don't. Could happen sooner in an accident. (or did I already say that? )

Oh well, thanks and I'll look into a neurosurgeon and ask bout the brace.

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If you get a fusion at L3-4-L5, the vertabre above and below will become unstable, and they will slip. I would only suggest getting back surgery, if you have nerve pain going down the back of your leg and into your foot, or if you are having bladder issues. I put off back surgery for 25 yr., all the while I was doing extremely heavy manual labor. Rehabing your back from surgery is no easy task. I had my surgery at 52, but I was extremely fit around 5.5 body fat. I don't know what kind of shape your in, but it's not easy. Now at 59, I have severe nerve pain going down my leg,, a lot worse than when I had the surgery at 52. The surgeon told me, he could do a decompression , but the pain might not go away, because the nerves are too damaged. You can look online, how many people get fusions, only having to get more latter above or below the original fusion. And than there's always the chance, surgery won't fix the problem Dave

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Hi,
There is certainly no easy answer here. I have some of the same problems and could very well be facing the same situation with time. I can sympathize with your feelings.

I don't know all the medical answers. I do think you should follow nancy's advice and seek an opinion from a neurosurgeon. It only makes good sense to find out from every perspective what you are looking at in the way of benefit, recovery and future implications. So many back surgeries are unsuccessful, I would be very cautious too.

Sorry I have nothing to offer but support. I hope you can come to terms with your inevitable decision whatever it is. Take care and let us hear what you decide to do and why.
Kathy

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Good Luck, EK, and let us know what your additional opinions recommend. We all learn from each other

nn

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Thanks for replies. I also rely on pain meds. I am having another procedure tomorrow to try and kill off some nerves - this is in a 'new' location. I am hopeful but well aware it may not work. Over time I have adapted my life to living with pain. [Last spring I had a raised bed built in my vegetable garden - I can sit and pick lettuce!]

I am unaware of the Fentanyl patches - I will check them out. I'll also report back after my next attempt to relieve the pain.

MarcieB

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