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Lumbar L4/L5 Fusion @ 22
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Lumbar L4/L5 Fusion @ 22

Well to cut this LONG story short, I was in a car accident when I was 17 which caused a disc to herniate between L4/L5,  Few months later pain was increasing we decided and had my surgeon perform a discectomy/laminectomy (which I believe are the same thing?)  After the surgery I felt some relief for a very short time (maybe 6 months) now I am suffering WAY worse than before surgery and at times is just unbarable. My legs are completely numb and have had instances where stood up and had no control or strength and have fell.  I have constant shooting pains in both legs, pain on both sides right above my butt (believe SI joints? Near Sacrum) so bad cant hardly put any pressure on it without jerking, my back pain was originally just low back pain, now its from my shoulder blades to my toes. I am in good shape and fit just praying for relief someday.  I have tried everything, years of PT, injections which just made me worse, yoga, pilates, etc. I am very nervous about having another surgery especially a fusion being so young. I know it is a serious surgery and I am VERY confident in my surgeon, I really couldn't be any happier with him, he knows me, doesn't beat around the bush and gets down to the point whether its what I want to hear or not knowing how emotional I can be about my back problems.  I am just worried if I have the surgery being so young what the odds are its going to snowball and I will have to fuse more and more. What are your thoughts?  My surgeon says he'll operate when I am ready but bottom line, I need the surgery at some point its just a matter of how long I can hold out with the pain.  Its rapidly getting worse but if the odds are high I will have to continue fusing more and more I am going to have to deal with the pain until it completely puts me out.  I'd like to have kids one day, would this have any impact on a pregnancy or labor?  Oh and also how "serious" is the surgery at the L4-L5 level?  Thank you for your help :-)

-Danielle
Tags: L4-L5, fusion
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1494623_tn?1288734896
Hi Danielle, im Suzy,im 47 years old and have just undegone the surgery you are talking about, a fusion at l4/5. I had it done in april this year as i have had twenty years of back problems and i too had a discectomy in 1990 at l4/5 level. I injured my back the first time nursing, i wasnt too bad following the discectomy but i had a violent husband at that time and in 1995, he kneed me in the back because our then 5 month old baby had deveolped epilepsy which he said was "my fault". I have never been the same since with my back,it has been so sore. I did return to nursing though and again reinjured it in 2008 while working at a hospice. I was doing a night shift with two other nurses,one went to sleep and the other was busy elsewhere so i had no choice but to lift a dying man falling to the ground from his bed.  before the fusion,i tried physiotherapy, tried doing a back strengthening programme to tone the muscles, but nothing worked so i agreed to "try" the fusion. I was in hospital for one week, and am still recovering. It is major surgery and you need to consider that, it takes up to one year to recover, so I was told by my surgeon here. I am now 7 months post surgery and to be honest Danielle. I do regret having it done. I have more pain than ever before and have just gone back on Oxynorm( morpine) so If I were you, i would think seriously. It may work for you, who knows, we are all different, and remember,my experience wont be the same as yours. if i can help in any way, please contact me. I am on facebook too, my name is suzanne clark. thanks. good luck with it all and i do hope you get better soon.
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1494623_tn?1288734896
Hi again, I didnt answer your question re pregnancy and labour. this is something you would need to discuss with your surgeon, i had three children after my discectomy in 1990, my pregnancy in 1995 was hard on my back as my baby was Posterior so i had to have epidural and forceps but the actual pregnancies following the discectomy were overall okay. i do not know about following a spinal fusion though, I would guess that it may be a bit painful but am not qualified to make that call.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for your help Suzanne.  What a horrible situation you were in.  I know how it feels to be in pain that was caused by someone else but mine is from a stranger not a husband. :-( I have never been in an abusive relationship or even around any abuse in my life and you're a strong person to have to go thru that.  I saw your FB and seems you are happpy now :-)  YAAY!  

I am really struggling with this and know it is MY call.  My family has been w/me from the second I was in the accident but they can't feel my pain.  I don't want to do it but I don't want to live this way anymore.  It'd be alot easier if my Dr. says we ARE doing the surgery instead of telling me I need the surgery but need to come to him when it's just unbearable. I feel like it is unbearable, it seriously gets worse everyday.  I can't sleep without waking up in the night in so much pain and NOTHING has ever affected my sleep, I just hurt ALL the time. I don't know what is unbearable and I forget what pain-FREE is.  When you decided to try the fusion, what kind of pain were you in?  I mean I live a "normal" life, I work, I hang out with friends, I live normal but with pain and don't do certain things I know will hurt me.  A part of me wishes something would happen that would "force" me to make my decision since I am living a "normal" life. I mean I have those weeks which happen about every 9 months-ish where I am just in bed and can't hardly move. I need to know when "most" people finally break down and try it. I mean I don't want to do the surgery but I need relief and can't live a life of percocet and pain so I want to try it.  I feel like he right time to do it is when I am bedridden or not able to function without help. I'm the type of person where I jump quickly on everything I just wanna make sure I'm not jumping on this.  What was your life and pain when you decided to "jump"?  Why do you regret the surgery now?  What was your pain like before and what is it at now?  I have low back pain all over, especially my sacrum & SI joints (I think thats what it is TOO much to remember haha) I cannot lay on my back on a hard surface & put pressure on my saccrum, excrutiating pain seriously. I have all the leg numbness, shooting pain 24/7, if I sit too long and stand up I'll fall and not have use of my legs for a few minutes and sometimes when I wake up, was walking in Target last night and my leg just gave out and fell. Did you experience thing type of stuff?

Suzanne, I really appreciate your help and letting me confide in you considering you've been there, same disc and surgeries.  I look forward to hearing from you!  Oh and thanks for the add on FB :-)

-D
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Avatar_m_tn
Danielle, BEFORE you have any spinal fusions,please check out the surgery I had today. It is a 1 hour surgery done only in Dallas Texas at northamericanspine.com   called accurascope. I am not a fan of fusions if dont have to,sometimes it is necessary though.
I had L4-L5 bulge then rupture,L5-S1 slipped into the canal. I also have slipped discs in L2-L3   Not sure of success rate yet,but you are really young, you should be able to get yourself in good physical shape like I did,and kept it until 6 months ago. Not sure of my results  yet,just relaxing today after surgery,But I walked out of the hospital after I woke up from anestethia,flying back to Boston Sunday  and going back to run my Tire and Auto Center on monday.
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Avatar_f_tn
I appreciate your information. How are you doing since surgery?  I haven't had a chance to check out the website and the surgery.  I am pretty nervous about doing "new" surgeries that haven't had alot of history. What did they exactly do in surgery?  HOw are you feeling now?  I had a discectomy when I was 17 which removed part of the disc in L4/L5 and now it isn't still bulging or ruptured that I know of. My surgeon just said the whole area between L4/L5 aren't good and since the discectomy made it worse.  I'm not exactly sure of the specifics yet, going to the Drs tomorrow to review my MRI so I will know more then.  Oh and if youd on't mind me asking, how old are you?  What kind of pain were you in before you had the surgery?  Were you working, walking, etc?  I am assuming you were a spinal fusion canidate?  Where did they operate at on your back..L2-L3, L4-5 and L5-S1?  Thats quite a bit and I believe those are all adjacent to each other right?  From S1 to L2?
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1510220_tn?1291256906
I can understand your concerns about more surgery.  I had cervical spine fusion of C4-C5 with plate and pins five years ago, and now I have bulging discs above and below  

Now I am also having low back problems--herniated discs at L1-L2 and L2-L3 plus I just learned I have a bulge and compressed nerve root at L3-L4, and so a little higher than L4.  I have done physical therapy, acupuncture, steroid injections, execrcise, and now Norco for pain. The pain doctor said we could do another steroid injection at L3 level, and I said the others did not help.  Also, I now have sharp stabbing pain in the groin area and down the front of my right leg down to my knee and aching below the knee.  I can't stand up straight anymore--I tilet to the left, and I am rapidly losing the strength in my right leg as was mentioned.  So, now the pain doctor said maybe I should see the neurosurgeon again to get his opinion about surgery.  I am told I would have to have multiple level fusion if I do surgery.  I also don't sleep more than 2 or 3 hours--I fall asleep but wake up in pain.  I have been scared to death about surgery, but I am now equally scared of permanent nerve damage and permaent weakness in my right leg.  So now that fear is starting to outweigh the fear of surgery.  Do you think you are at that point yet.  I am making an appt. to see the neurosurgeon in the next few weeks.
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Avatar_m_tn
I know someone that was going to go for a fusion,,,the doctor said he needed it,,his insurance didnt want to cover the fusion,,,the same doctor did a less evasave surgery he left the hospitol the same day one week later he was riding a exercise bike,,,the doctors out was,,this may not last,,to me they want to do the fusion for the money
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