Spine Fusion options L5 S1

Posted by mpietz11 @mpietz11, Jan 2, 2018

So I am looking for some direction. I literally live in pain everyday. I am a 29 year old male. I have had 2. L5-S1 back surgeries. The first was in high school where they did a partial discectomy with a lamenectomy. The second was in 2011 where a different doctor did another partial discectomy. I have had a few consults since then but am very nervous about my options. I have had another MRI and reads that I have two more small buldges on that level and that the level is compressing with lots of scar tissue. I am taking Percocet every 3 hours (10-325)just to function through the day. I cant even hardly walk with out them. The consensus I keep getting from a few doctors are saying they don’t want to fuse that level due to stress on levels above and below it and having more issues within 5 years. I have tried injections, therapy, massages, tens units, pretty much if it’s out there I’ve tried it. One doctor even said to try another discectomy, which I thought was crazy. I really need some help from people that truly care about my well being. Please help and give me some direction from the best doctors available! I am struggling!!!!

Hello @mpietz11,

Welcome to Connect and thank you for sharing a bit about yourself and your back issues. I can hear the frustration and concern in your post. On Mayo Clinic Connect, we are unable to offer diagnoses. Connect is a place where our members share their experiences, coping mechanisms, and common ground with one-another to help educate and support fellow members. @mpietz11, are you looking for a second opinion? Here is a link for contact information for Mayo Clinic if you should choose to seek a second opinion with Mayo Clinic, http://mayocl.in/1mtmR63.

@mpietz11, if you don’t mind sharing, what caused your back injuries?

Hi, I literally feel your pain. I have never let anyone do any invasive surgery, but I have had shoot pain down my hips into my feet for 20 years. Ironically, my back in the spot of injury rarely hurts unless someone starts probing there. I had injections recently, and it did help, but not for long (4 months).
Understand that I am not proselytizing this method, but I have been looking into Stem Cell injections – either blood plasma or the stem cell injections (which I understand is a painful harvest. It is something to look into. I am still in the research phase. Good luck! Check everything – your sleep surface: is it supportive, but not too soft? How you sit; are you crossing your legs or sitting at an angle? Are you carrying extra weight? Wishing you a less painful New Year! Robbinr

i hear a lot about stem cell in people’s stories. Has anyone actually done it and did they get relief?

I met someone who has been receiving Stem Cell for years (South Africa is very progressive). She swears by it. She has degenerative disks in her neck and lower spine. Insurance won’t cover it here and it is very expensive. That is what I know. RR

I have not looked into stem cells but in the end I would never be able to afford them. I was initially hurt playing football in high school and took a wrong hit and had issues from that day on. I have tried pretty much everything available but another surgery.

Stem cell is expensive? Like, how much are we talking?

@mpietz11 I too want to welcome you to the Mayo Connect community. I have had direct experience with my L5-S1 for which I had a laminectomy Dec 2016. My surgery has been successful in relieving the pain on my right side. However, I continued with nearly debilitating pain on the right side of my back, hip, thigh, knee, ankle and toes. I couldn’t go up or down steps & I couldn’t walk without tremendous pain. My back surgeon encouraged me to look for relief from everything other than surgery. I tried acupuncture, massage, physical therapy and pills, but nothing worked. Then, on Mayo Connect, I read about ART, Active Release Technique therapy. I did research on Google and found a qualified chiropractor in my area. Within 2 months, using ART & laser treatments, my pain was minimal. I am currently without pain and have been this way for at least 6 months. I go once a month for tweeks to make sure everything is good.

I cannot imagine having 2 laminectomies and still being in pain. I recommend that you contact a Mayo site close to you for an examination. I have had direct experiences with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. I know they are excellent and thorough diagnosticians and physicians. I talked briefly to someone in the research group that is looking at stem cell therapy. If you call them they will let you know how they work. The cost for most stem cell injection was about $7,000 – $12,000 when I asked about it a year ago. It’s not covered by insurance.

One of the most important things in any surgery is the competence of the surgeon. I was lucky to have a nurse neighbor and she recommended a surgeon at St. Jude’s Physicians near me. I always tell my friends to get recommendations for all health caretakers, online research about the physician and the hospital to assure you have excellent care.

I’m hoping others in our community will share their information with you, and you find some answers, or things to try.


Stem cell is expensive? Like, how much are we talking?

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From what I have read, it is extremely expensive:{ BUT, it is probably the wave of the future. To have your own stem cells used to treat injuries or have your own blood spun into plasma that is injected into the point of pain. Until insurance companies start to cover it, that treatment is the alternative of the wealthy. But if we all start asking about it and asking why it isn’t covered, then nothing will change.

I’m so sorry to hear about your back pain .I have a L2 fracture and during the day I have to lay flat on my back at least 30 minutes.Because of the turtle shell brace I had to wear my L5@S1 fused..I have to clean my floors a room at a time and do only few dishes ,if I overdue shopping Im down the next day,can’t do anything.My Dr.wanted to do surgery but I declined ,since I worked in the medical field I saw to many bad back surgeriers.What helps me is ice,heat,hot baths and I go to a chiropractor once a month,who gives me great relief.Good luck Had backs aren’t fun

There is new minimally invasive bandaid surgery…..am going to see about it

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