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L3-4 and L4-5 fusion
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L3-4 and L4-5 fusion


  I had 2 lumbar lumpectomy's on  the L3-4 and L4-5 disks in 1994. 2 Years later I started having pain in the same area again. I've had 2 epidurals in the area. And I just had the 2ND facet block to these same disks. The surgeon wants me to have the disk removed with spinal fusion. I would like to know what the recovery time for such an operation would be and what the chances of returning to work without much trouble is. I drive a School Bus and Work with handicapped teen age children. The surgery suggested is thru the stomache by my Orthopedic surgeon. My last surgery was done by a Nuerosurgeon. And I've consulted  a Neurosurgeon for a second opinion. Who is best suited for this type surgery and do you know any in my area?Thank you for any help you can give.
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Dear Tina,
Occasionally a patient will require a second surgery for recurrent disc herniation in the lumbar spine.  The concern with having to do this repeatedly is that it can destabilize the spine in that region leading to further problems in the long run.  A fusion can often help in this situation.
The fusion surgery suggested can be done from the front and is a relatively low risk procedure.  There are many excellent neurosurgeons and orthopedists who can do such surgery.  The key is to find one with experience in the spine and with the instrumentation.  The fusion rates are directly related to the care taken in the operating room to do the procedure correctly.  Your physician should be able to help you find a good spine surgeon in your area.
After surgery, you should be able to get up and walk in a day or two.  A brace is often used for 4-6 weeks during which a patient is limited to walking alone.  After this point the surgeon will often check plain films of the spine to be sure the fusion looks good.  If this is ok, the patient may resume a regular work schedule but knowing he or she should take it easy.
Good luck.






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