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What was your spinal fusion like? Good/Bad? Should I do it? HELP!
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What was your spinal fusion like? Good/Bad? Should I do it? HELP!

Hi All, I would greatly appreciate any responses.  I would like to hear from anyone who has had a spinal fusion.  I would like to know if you thought it was worth it?  Would you do it again?  What was recovery like, how long, how much pain?  What if any restrictions do you have after completely healed?  What is your flexibility/motion like?  

I am in my early 40's.  I have untreated scoliosis that continues to progress.  I have about a 45 degree S curve in the thoracolumbar region and the spine is rotated about a quarter turn where it curves the most.  I have a hump on my right back which I hate.  The pain has become significantly worse over the past 2 years and keeps me from doing things.  It hurts almost all of the time unless sitting on a heating pad.  I would love to get rid of the pain and have a straighter back without a hump.  I saw a spinal surgeon who said my options were to either let it go, meaning more pain and more curvature with age or fix it - straighten/fuse/harrington rods - eliminating most pain and being straight instead of crooked.  He also said he might be able to get rid of most of the hump.  The surgery sounds rough though, so I am trying to get opinions from those who have had done it.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks so much!
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620923_tn?1405964489
Hi, I have not had the surgery u mentioned, nor am I in need of it.But I am in need of surgery on my back because of a condition causeing me to also have scoliosis.I have tethered cord and chiari malformation...either may need surgery.The TC first because of it's constant pulling is causing the scoliosis and the chiari to grow.
In my search for answers and a dx...I found if u r not ready to commit to the surgery, it's probable that I am not comfortable with the dr.Most NS will do the surgery, but I wanted a dr that only deals with these issues on a daily basis. It'd b like going to a jiffy lube to get the transmission fixed.....

something to ponder and I wish u well whatever u decide.

Godspeed
"selma"
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you. Good luck to you as well!
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620923_tn?1405964489
FYI- in the back and neck forum there r a few who had the fusion surgery....u may want to ask them about the experience.


Godspeed
"selma"
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410475_tn?1262945967
I had a spinal fusion exactly one year and one day ago. Its not easy and the recovery is long, but before my fusion I was in bed unable to move. now I can move about and go about my life. I still have some pain but its nothing like before. I pray I never have to do it again. it scares me to even think about it. but the pain I had before was unbearable. only you know how your feeling now and if you want to go on with that or go for the surgery. it takes a few months but then you will be better and go on and feel better than you do now. good luck to you.
CAT
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you Cat, I'm glad you're over it and feeling better.  What was the recovery like?  How long before you were able to move and walk around freely?  I am very active, but the pain is bad when I do things.  I always wonder if I should just put up with it though - how bad is it really - am I being a whimp?   Anyway, did you have scoliosis and were rods used?  If so, what is your range of motion like and do you have restrictions on what you can do now?  Thanks so much for taking the time to write - this is a big decision and I am looking for all the input I can get.  Thanks!
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719694_tn?1235179675
Hello, I'm currently 2 weeks post op from my 2 level anterior/posterior interbody fusion with instrumentation. I know my issues weren't as severe as yours seem to be, but I know chronic pain and have suffered for almost 2 years as the degeneration in my lower back has progressed.  

All I can do is encourage you to work with your Dr. and make sure you have a clear understanding of what he/she would like to do and the success stories they have had.  Of course, if you only have a 60% success rate like I did going into it, I'd still take it, because if you're overall healthy otherwise, it's certainly worth the risk.  

I wish you the very best of luck and would love to hear what you've decided.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had spine fusion done, 18 years ago, at age 13. I had L11, L12, T1, and T2 fused with Harrington rod instrumentation. I had a 58-degree curve that wasn't stopping. I know, I'm in more pain now, than any time in the past, and it continues to get worse. So, if you trying to relieve pain, I would not recommend it. However, if like me, and you will die young from nerve damage, then I would recommend it.

I feel like I traded, being painful to look at, for just being in pain. Currently, my unfused spine is colliding into an unmovable wall at my fused spine and is causing nerve damage and stress fracture. I am no longer fit for more surgery. I look normal but I am unable to tolerate narcotic painkillers.
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Avatar_f_tn
In 1988 i had a nasty fall,but being a healthy lass i thought that I could "get over" the back pain with rest and returning to the gym!!! So in 1992 i couldn't take it any more and after taking the Doctors advise had a my spine fused T12 to L2... After surgery i had to spend 6mths in a body cast...it was after its removal that things went "pear shaped!!". Over the next 3 years I went from being able to run up mountains (i suffered after wards,but being young!! I knew best!!) to being bed bound and unable to care for myself. The surgeon would not answer any of my questions and after one visit were I saw on an Xray that my spine and metal cage were heading into my left hip!! and not straight down...the surgeons answer was " I don't tell you how to do your job etc"... Thank God I had a fantastic GP who sent me to see an Army specialist who said that I needed to be seen by the Spinal unit at the RNOH, Middlesex,UK. After 3 years of feeling like it was all in MY head, the Dr's at the RNOH were fantastic.  Things didn't go well the first time they tried to remove and replace the "cage". As the original metalwork WAS in the wrong place,it also stuck itself to my Aorta,that was also in the wrong place!!!.. 102units of blood,a whole hospital of specialists and trying to meet God twice !!!! they managed to save my life. Some weeks later they "went back in!!" and finished the job.
IF, I had gone to them in the first place, I would be "fighting fit" and still doing a job i loved...but,due to the damaged that was done during the 3 years prior to my visit to the RNOH, and the damage that had to be done to save my life, I now live from minute to minute and pain relief to pain relief...
At the end of the day hun,what I'm saying is..."choose your surgeon with care" ...and if you can, sneak into the "day room" and talk to those who have already had their operations....I know I wish I had...
Would I advise anyone to have a spinal fusion?  Yes i would, especially when your life is pure pain and the only difference is at what level out of "1 to 10" is your pain today ????......... Good luck and Gods speed with a pain free life xx  
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Avatar_m_tn
I was diagnosed with advanced scoliosis at age 11 (i'm 22 now), and was told it was so bad I had no choice but to undergo spinal fusion. Harrington rods from T1 - L1. Honestly, as young as I was I think I tolerated the surgery pretty well. Of course I was scared to death, but really the worst part was the 1st time they made me get up and walk in the hospital 2 days after the surgery...after that, it got a lot better. I did have some pain following the surgery, but I consider it to be pretty mild in comparison to whats going on with my back now...I posted a question about all of it. But I would say that, if you are given the choice, take the surgery. I spent 5 days in the hospital and about 2 months recovering at home and I was almost totally back to normal again. The advances they've made in this surgical process are amazing, I think. Good luck with everything, I hope it works out for you
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Avatar_m_tn
I have lower spinal fussion and I wish now I never had it done,my pain  from my lower spine and shots in the back of my head.The primary care doctor I Have put me on lyerca but only help little while it seem making it get worse and it not helping ,I am 43 years old male.when Did my back fussion the should did the two disc below it but never touch them the are given me so much problems now and if I go parilized I going to sue thee specialist that told me if it was his back he mess with it ,I had one Dr say one thing and another say opposite so who do believe,I feel like I am slowly head in bad way my arms tingle my legs go numb and unbearable pain shooting base my head everyday,I am just sick of it
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