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Second Spinal Fusion

Hi, my husband whose 39 and weighs 175 lbs had a spinal fusion 3 years ago on the L4-L5 disc.  My husband still has serious pain and through a discogram and 3d imaging in July they found that they will need to fuse the following discs L3-L4 and L5-S1 to add to the already fused L4-L5.  His questions basically is how much mobility and restrictiveness of movement will he lose due to the surgery.  He hasn't lost much mobility right now with the one fusion.  His biggest concern is it better to live with the pain or lose the mobility.  He also has Spinal stenosis and Osteoarthritis in the discs and Severe left side Sciatica and moderate right side Sciatica.  They also found an occult anterior inner annular tear in the L2-L3 disc could this disc become a problem also in the future after the fusion.  Also The L3-L4 has an anteriror radial tear and as well as an adjoining marginal spur.  L5-S1 had severe lower back pain and bilateral proximal sciatica during injection at this level.  Angular degeneration of the L5-S1 disc is seen.  L3-L4 has a circumferential annular opacification compatible with early degeneration.  My husband since the surgery has been taking Dilaudad and Methadone which helps but still feels extreme pain in the lower extremeties.  

Again main question is how much mobility will I lose and is it better to live with the pain or do the surgery and hope that a lot of the pain goes away but with restriction of movement.  How much restriction do you think I might have with a sucessful surgery.

Thanks.

Jennifer
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Avatar universal
Hi there.

The lumbar and sacral spine are the ones affected on rotational, side to side, and forward-backward flexing motions.  Fusing much of the spine segement in these levels can indeed cause significant mobility restrictions (I believe a decline of 30% or more).

For some patients, a brace or restrictive device is needed to facilitate the healing of the area.  I would also expect that there can be some intensification of the pain immediately and after a few weeks of surgery while the wound and the surgery is healing properly.

Make sure that you are well informed of the risks and success rate of the procedure, and this can be discussed in depth with the surgeon.

Regards and God bless.
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