Spine Lumbar fusion surgery

Posted by CIS @cis, Mar 13, 2019

I had lumbar spine fusion surgery 12 days ago. Has anyone else had this surgery?

Yes. Four months ago. How do you feel?

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Hello @cis. I would like to invite @user_chf56161a, @grandmar, @nonna4, @marychapman, @lynn12, @hillyard, who have all discussed having fusions and may be able to share their experiences with you.

@cis, if you are comfortable, are there any specific questions that you would like to ask other Connect members?

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@cis
Welcome to our group!
I actually had 2 spine surgeries in little over a year. First, I have 2 discs replaced, C5/6, at the end of last February. The doctor went through my neck. I recouped VERY EASILY from the surgery.
I had my 2nd surgery, a Lumbar X-lift Fusion, on discs L3/4, mid-September of this year. This was a HORRIBLY PAINFUL recovery. I had no idea it would be this way. My fault, I should have asked my doctor so I'd be prepared. I was thinking it would be like the cervical surgery…..NOT! It took approximately 4 months for the pain to go away.
I am happy I did both surgeries now, because I am no longer suffering from the chronic pain I had for more than 10 years!!!

How are you doing?
Praying you have a speedy recovery….
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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I’m 2 weeks post surgery tomorrow. Is bone from hip & spine always used in the fusion? These areas are quite sore along with my incision. How long do the leg spasms last? Thx

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@cis

I’m 2 weeks post surgery tomorrow. Is bone from hip & spine always used in the fusion? These areas are quite sore along with my incision. How long do the leg spasms last? Thx

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Good Morning,
I am not aware of using bone from the hip for a fusion, so I cannot address that. The rest, I can.
My incision is about 3 inches long and on my left side (near my waist). It took several weeks for it to heal because my clothes were rubbing, but nothing too bad. My doctor uses dissolving stiches. For some reason, even after all this time, I still have a couple that have not dissolved. I have a feeling he'll do something when I see him next week.

As far as the spasms……that lasted about 3 months. My surgeon moves muscles that impact that part of the leg. I would wake up and first thing I'd go is sit with ice packs on my thigh for about an hour or so. Walking during the day would ease it up. What I am about to say is probably TMI, but I do want to be honest. I now get spasms down my leg when I use the bathroom. I've mentioned it, but I have not gotten an reasonable answer as to why. There have been times when the spasms have been so back, my hubby has had to get me off the toilet and walk me until the spasm goes away. Sorry if too graphic.

Have a good day and give yourself time to heal. Be very aware of what you do with your body.
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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@JustinMcClanahan

Hello @cis. I would like to invite @user_chf56161a, @grandmar, @nonna4, @marychapman, @lynn12, @hillyard, who have all discussed having fusions and may be able to share their experiences with you.

@cis, if you are comfortable, are there any specific questions that you would like to ask other Connect members?

Jump to this post

Justin, I'm not seeing how to join a group. I had L4/L5 fusion with cage, 2 rods and 4 screws. The 28-year pain was gone when I woke up, which was disc herniation against the nerve; and the 2-year pain was also gone, which was after more than 2 decades the fore part of the disc degenerated to nothing and I had bone on bone pain that would snap, crackle & pop just sitting. Getting up and moving got to be unbearable. Since the surgery, I've had a new pain on my right side which feels like it's in the muscle maybe being aggravated by a screw head (they aren't rounded). Then about 2-3 weeks ago, I think I bent and twisted at the same time while feeding my poultry and got a serrated-type weapon knife twisting feeling, so very sharp and deep. I'm wondering if my movement could have caused a screw to fracture a vertebrae, or it was just a severe ripping of my muscle. I don't understand how my muscle will ever not hurt with a screw head against it or a scar, which would also press on the muscle when I move. Right now, I can't hardly do anything, and I have had chronic fatigue, chronic migraines, and anxiety/panic attacks for many years, which makes it impossible for me to make appointments (like for PT), since my husband works so many hours.

I'm wondering who else has post-op pain and if it will ever cease? I read where a young action biker fell and had a serious back surgery and was complaining the hardware pain, and since his fusion otherwise took, the hardware was taken out after 3 months. I'm not young, though. I'm sure that I feeling a screw head or sharp end of a rod irritating my muscle and moving only hurts worse.

Thanks!

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Had 5 vertebrae fused with rods and 8 screws. Lower lumbar. Suggest you ask for X-ray before next follow up. It will calm your mind. No pain immediately after but it creeps back. Not at incision but lower back and legs. Taking gabapentin and Tylenol. Getting better. I had stopped exercising and this was part of the problem. Sounds like you may be doing too much. Be kind to yourself. You need to move but you also need to rest. You just had an operation so give it some time to heal. You have a change to your support system. Took you awhile to learn how to use the first one as a baby. Give yourself time to learn how to use the reversion. God bless.

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@mmader

Justin, I'm not seeing how to join a group. I had L4/L5 fusion with cage, 2 rods and 4 screws. The 28-year pain was gone when I woke up, which was disc herniation against the nerve; and the 2-year pain was also gone, which was after more than 2 decades the fore part of the disc degenerated to nothing and I had bone on bone pain that would snap, crackle & pop just sitting. Getting up and moving got to be unbearable. Since the surgery, I've had a new pain on my right side which feels like it's in the muscle maybe being aggravated by a screw head (they aren't rounded). Then about 2-3 weeks ago, I think I bent and twisted at the same time while feeding my poultry and got a serrated-type weapon knife twisting feeling, so very sharp and deep. I'm wondering if my movement could have caused a screw to fracture a vertebrae, or it was just a severe ripping of my muscle. I don't understand how my muscle will ever not hurt with a screw head against it or a scar, which would also press on the muscle when I move. Right now, I can't hardly do anything, and I have had chronic fatigue, chronic migraines, and anxiety/panic attacks for many years, which makes it impossible for me to make appointments (like for PT), since my husband works so many hours.

I'm wondering who else has post-op pain and if it will ever cease? I read where a young action biker fell and had a serious back surgery and was complaining the hardware pain, and since his fusion otherwise took, the hardware was taken out after 3 months. I'm not young, though. I'm sure that I feeling a screw head or sharp end of a rod irritating my muscle and moving only hurts worse.

Thanks!

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@mmader
Good morning!
I am so sorry you are having so much difficulty! I had two surgeries, one on my cervical spine and one on my lumbar spine. It is a miracle that after suffering from chronic pain 24/7, for over 10 years, that pain is gone.
When I had surgery on my lumbar, the doctor did something regarding the muscle on my thigh. For me, it was the left side. The pain was worse in the morning when I got up. It felt like spasms. Each morning started with me putting an ice pack on my thigh and groin area (for about an hour). I did not have any screws put in so I cannot address that. However, my doctor was VERY CLEAR that basically, I had to baby myself (my words, not his). No bending, lifting, twisting, reaching, over extending or sudden movements. All of these things can cause issues. Although it's been a year since the cervical surgery and about 7 months since the lumbar surgery, I do my best to continue to follow that advice.
You really do need to see your surgeon for another follow up. Each time I go for a follow up, I have an x-ray to make sure everything is still in place and healing correctly. It took me almost 4 months before all the pain went away. I do understand your situation, but it is important to see the doctor and start PT. The therapist will show you how to move so that you don't injure yourself. He/she will also help you to strengthen your core. I certainly don't want to spend your money, but can you take an Uber, get a friend to drive you or call the doctor and PT to explain your inability to drive or get a ride, they might be able to help you out.
Good luck!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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I had l4 to l5 and l5 to s1 in 2003 and was great and now I am told I have Failed Back Syndrome and that the average span for a fusion is only 6 to 8 years. But I got 11 great years after my surgery and so glad I did. It gave me my life back. I had to go back to school to do a new career. But am doing good for work..

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Mine was done 11/15/19. I’m sorry to tell you mine failed. You’d know by now if yours did. Long time to heal, take it easy!

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Hi @cis and others who have had spinal fusion surgery. I'm considering a fusion at L5-S1, and I am interested to know more about real patient experiences with spinal fusion.

Surgeons generally say they do a lot of them, and they claim the success rate is quite good. So, I would like to hear more real patient experiences with spine fusion. My disc is mostly gone at L5-S1. Based on Xray, it's bone-on-bone. The remaining disc is bulging and pressing on the nerve. I had two decompressions at that location in 2006, which provided a little pain relief for a couple of years. Hence, scar tissue has formed to place more pressure on the nerve, along with the bulging disc.

In summary, I'm thinking about having L5-S1 fused, and I would like to hear about good and bad experiences to help me decide.

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I have had the same condition of severe L5/S1 degeneration with calcified disc and bone on bone since the early 1990s. I was preparing to have Lumbar Spinal Fusion in 1993 when I saw a program on ABC 20/20 that said the screws used for the surgery were not approved by the FDA for lumbar fusion, and they were breaking off and causing paralysis in some. After that
I changed my mind. I think they have been approved by now.

I coped by taking Cox-2 Inhibitors for over 10 years which caused kidney disease. No one told me that might happen. Now I can’t take any anti- inflammatory meds. I have also taken Gabapentin for pain. I tried Lyrica also, but couldn’t tolerate it.

I had a lumbar MRI done at University of Michigan in 2011 for something else, and my Neurologist told me he didn’t think that L5/S1 was causing my pain. He told me that people with the worst looking MRIs often have no pain. And some of the ones that’s MRIs look the best have the worst pain. So an MRI doesn’t necessarily indicate a need for surgery, or that surgery will make the pain any better.

Over the years I tried many types of Physical Therapy and finally found an excellent PT in 2015 that discovered that my pain was actually from Sacroiliac Dysfunction and Piriformis Syndrome which were helped by several months of Manual Physical Therapy.

I also take 5mg of Flexeril twice daily. I have to be careful not to bend over and twist as it aggravates the problem. Also when standing I’m not supposed to put my weight mostly on one leg as it makes it flare up.

Manual Physical Therapy isn’t taught in schools, it is something that a PT learns afterward if interested. It is best to find a PT that mainly works with patients who have had spine or orthopedic surgery.

NJ

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