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Anyone ever had spinal fusion?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Pacman, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    No, it's not some drink.

    My doctor says I'm a candidate for spinal fusion at the L5/S1 joint (and maybe the one above it). Has anyone here had that done? What was your recovery like? How long did it take? And most importantly, was it effective in taking away your pain?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. RWP


    Jul 1, 2006
    My Dad had that procedure in the late 70's. He was about 40 at the time and it completely cured his back pain. Not sure which vertebra were fused but it was his lower back.
  3. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Second opinions. Third opinions. Chiropractors. Explore all options before you do this.
  4. BadMonk

    BadMonk Enjoy The Ride

    Feb 25, 2006
    Bedminster, New Jersey
    I've had a cervical fusion, not lumbar. Cervical fusion is tricky because...well, it's the neck with a lot of important nerves and stuff. My doc used a cadaver disk rather than cutting my thigh (?) to use that tissue. He told me cutting open my thigh would be more painful than the fusion. Anyway...even with all the nerves and damage, the cervical fusion worked. The rehab took a while but lumbar rehab is easier. Pain was gone and I only lost a little range of motion in my neck. Would I do it again? If the pain was as bad as it was last time, yes.
  5. My dad had it recently. He's still recovering. Dr. Paul Glaser did the surgery. He came highly recommended. He's at Beth Israel Deconess Medical center in Boston.
  6. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Isn't that the dude from Starsky and Hutch?
  7. Id imagine it'd work pretty well, aslong as the pain is definatly related to your spine (alot of easily dislodged moved about and otherwise buggered up bits around the lumbar spine (mine is out right now, no good crack)

    I'd agree with Maki, go get at least a second opinion, see a couple back specialists (physios or chiropractors). At least with a fusion there, movement wont be limited too much.
  8. My friend Craig has had 3 seperate fusions...one necessary because of a car accident (shattered a couple vertebrae), two for a degenerative bone disease. First two thru the back, the last throught the front.

    He would come to work on a diet of Vicodins that would kill another man, but this was moreso from the pain from wear than the resultant fusion.

    iirc, on the first two occasions, the procedure did help alot, yet not fully (also had prolapsing discs, interior and exterior) , and his return to work window was around 2-3 months. Mind you, they went through the back the first two times because of his fear of them displacing his organs during the procedure, and fear of quality of life...he was only 22 at the time....

    The last time, they went much more extensive / invasive to the inner spine, and really got to work. His layup time was about the same, if not a bit longer (iirc, it was 4 months plus some rehab), but I lived his ordeal vicariously save for the pain each instance ( we were close friends, and I helped him out alot) , so I feel they got it right the final time... to this day, about 2.5 years later, with the help of considerably milder painkillers, he really honestly looks no worse for wear save for limited flexion in his back (the work was all lower lumbar)

    I second and third Maki's sugestion, and wish you the best moving forward with whatever decision you make.

  9. nortonrider


    Nov 20, 2007
    I had cervical fusion (C4 - C7) three weeks ago. I am half way through wearing this damn neck brace.
    Suprisingly, not a whole lot of pain from the surgery. The one thing I have been very aware of is taking it easy, I want the fusion to take hold. I don't want to have to do it again.
  10. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I had an orthopaedic surgeon suggest this option to me a couple months ago. It scared me out of my mind. I don't like to hear words like neck, spine, and fusion used together.

  11. 2nd and 3rd opinions, yes. But why a witchdoctor? :D
  12. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I call 'em that too. I went to one for years until I realized he wasn't really fixing anything. Just making me feel a little better until I moved around enough for the joint to pop back out of where he moved it to.

  13. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Dang. C4-C7? That's serious. What happened? :eek:
  14. nortonrider


    Nov 20, 2007
    Hard living. Years of driving race cars and riding hardtail choppers just took it's toll and wore me out.
    I ended up not being able to lift my left arm because of pinched nerves. It was totally a chore to even reach out and turn the tuners on my bass.
    Only 3 weeks in and I can get my arm over my head again. So far - So good.
  15. I agree. I will do the procedure in my shop for HALF of what a surgeon will charge :D


    I know people that have been through it. It stopped the pain but seemed to limit their range of motion. Everything has a tradeoff :( I hope it all works out for you.
  16. Absolutely get a second and third opinion. It seems here in USA surgical procedure is recommended far too many times, I think. But it depends on the condition. --Kent
  17. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    My dad had cervical, and my mom had lumbar fusion. Neither took the pain away, really.
  18. One of my drummers had it done in August. It has fixed his neck pain, but it hasn't been a complete success. He is currently suffering problems with pinched nerves in his right arm and has been out of action since christmas.
    He's at the stage where he will be leaving our band to focus on his health and recovery.
  19. I had an accident about 8 years ago that left me with a badly herniated disc between C4-5 and the pain has been on and off ever since, sometimes it goes away completely and at other times it has just ruined my quality of life. I will say this though, I have been to a few different doctors over the years, most of which tell me to stay in good physical condition and stay flexible to try to avoid further aggravation of the region. When I follow orders is when I usually feel best. It is when I slack off or do stupid stuff that I really pay for it. Some of the doctors have told me that the older I get the more likely it will be that I am going to need a fusion there and not staying fit and flexible will only bring the surgery on much sooner. Have you tried proper conditioning/physical therapy of your body? It has helped me a whole bunch.
  20. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    The thing that sent me to the doc was that I've been seing a Chiropractor for about 8 months, and it has stopped improving my situation. My back wakes me every night, because I can't turn over in bed by just twisting like most people do.

    MRI shows degenerated disc (I'm now a full inch shorter than I was when I joined the Army...), and the doc says it's "pretty ugly". That said, he's not eager to do the surgery. He's just saying I'm a candidate.

    The other part of the dilemma is this: this guy is a world-class surgeon. He has set up private practice outside the military, and his client list is a major sports team (you can guess it). Getting my back cut open and fused together is a pretty scary prospect, but it's scarier not knowing the creds of the doc. If I do get it done soon, at least I'll know that this guy is the best....

    more tests at the beginning of April first....

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