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"Ever Had Lumbar Fusion Surgery?" Topic

11 Posts

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574 hits since 6 Feb 2015
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Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP06 Feb 2015 12:13 p.m. PST

After almost two years of barely walking, and after meeting with 2 independent surgeons, I've scheduled my surgery for Wednesday the 18th.

I'm told its a two-hour surgery. Three to four days in hospital. And about three months for the bone grafts and bone paste to solidify and fuse my L4 and L5 area.

The medical staff tell me this is simple, and videos seem to support that, but I have been really nervous about this. Cranky doesn't even begin to describe it. The only positive thing is that I've lost much appetite and lost 10 lbs in the last 3 weeks!

However, two years of physical therapy, epidural shots, TENS units and "radio-frequency ablation" procedures have not worked. I still can only walk or stand 10-15 minutes at a time, before I feel like I'm stuck in a bone-crushing vise and as if I am about to be cut in half.

I guess what I want to know is … Have any of you gone through it yourselves? If so, what should I really expect?

Thanks so much,


Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP06 Feb 2015 12:45 p.m. PST

Dan, I was injured in an equestrian accident about 40
years ago. Damage to L4,L5 and minor to L6.

Surgery was suggested as the only solution to 'fix'
the problem. I asked about PT and was told it would
be long, drawn-out and painful.

After talking with 4 others who had had the fusion
surgery, I went with the PT – 5 years and it was
indeed painful.

But today I am painfree, have mobility in my lower back
and avoided the fusion.

I note that you've undergone 2 years of PT, used the
TENS unit, RFA and painkillers. IDK what other doctors
you may have consulted, but based upon my talking with
those other patients, I decided not to do it and I do
not regret it.

Before you have the surgery, ask the surgeon if he/she
is familiar with CRPS, and what the potential is for your
surgery to result in CRPS (Complex Regional Pain
Syndrome). Many patients do NOT experience CRPS, other
than very short term.

Other patients have it for years. One with whom I spoke
40 years ago STILL has it and is on morphine twice/day
to enable her to deal with the pain. She has also
been the TENS route to try and alleviate her pain.

Of course, in the 40 years since my accident, I'm sure
surgical techniques and rehabilitation techniques
have changed a lot.

Sincere best wishes for a positive outcome.

zippyfusenet Inactive Member06 Feb 2015 2:43 p.m. PST

My wife was not in as bad shape as you are, Dan, but she had two of her vertebrae fused about 15 years ago to try to alleviate chronic back pain that came from a damaged disk. Her surgery was completely successful. She did the PT and healed up well within a couple of months. Since then she is pain-free and has normal range of movement, though she's not as flexible as she was in her 20s (sigh). Her quality of life is 300% better, she only regrets that she put the surgery off for several years.

Best wishes to you for a successful outcome.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP06 Feb 2015 7:22 p.m. PST


A couple of months beats the couple of years I've already spent trying other options. I watched a couple of independent instructional videos tonight and, together with your comments, I feel a little less anxious.

Thanks so much all of you guys, for the feedback here and via emails. All the comments, both for and against the surgery, are well-received as are all all your kind good wishes.


Personal logo Ditto Tango 2 3 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member13 Feb 2015 9:38 p.m. PST

I haven't but I wish you all the best. I'm sure you will be thankful when you recover from the surgery.

Old Slow Trot Inactive Member03 Apr 2015 6:30 a.m. PST

It seems that for a while,I've had some sort of upper spinal issues myself. Fusion with my lower neck, result being some slight scoliosis. Get well soon.

Terrement Inactive Member03 Apr 2015 6:50 a.m. PST

Never had it. Worked for a gent who roman candled while sport jumping and the amount of things broken, including his back, and his treatments (forever) doesn't mirror the process at which you look.

Whatever you decide, my thoughts and prayers are with you.


jpattern203 Apr 2015 8:58 a.m. PST

Good luck, Dan.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2015 2:37 p.m. PST

Dan, I also have no experience in this but I wish you to have a speedy and full recovery.

PS, your old Aztecs say Hi!

zippyfusenet Inactive Member07 Apr 2015 2:22 p.m. PST

How did the surgery go CC? And how are you recovering?

DaleWill Supporting Member of TMP30 Apr 2015 6:39 p.m. PST

I would say to only do this as a last resort. My wife had a multi level fusion back in feb. 2014. She woke up paralyzed from the neck down. She had a stroke of the spinal cord during surgery and spent six weeks in the hospital at the spinal cord rehab unit and is still undergoing PT, OT, etc. She has learned to walk again and can take care of herself to a certain point.

Now, this is an unusual outcome, none of the surgeons had ever seen this before.

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