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Lumbar spinal fusion?

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  • Lumbar spinal fusion?

    Looks like I am going to be having a spinal fusion sometime this fall. Don’t know if it will be one level or two until I meet with the surgeon(s) as I am getting two opinions. I know you can’t weigh in with specifics on my surgery since we don’t know what exactly I am having done but would love to hear from people who have had some sort of a lumbar fusion in the past. What was recovery like? Did it put an end to your symptoms? And the all important, how long until you could ride again? Thank you
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home

  • #2
    Laurierace yes, I have had a fairly significant lumbar spinal fusion.

    I'd be willing to share via PM. I don't want a random reader coming across my reply and potentially freaking out as I would consider that I had a fairly atypical diagnosis. If you would like to chat more, I'm fine with sharing with you.
    Maybe the reason I love animals so much is because the only time they have broken my heart is when they've crossed that rainbow bridge

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      PM is fine, thank you
      McDowell Racing Stables

      Home Away From Home

      Comment


      • #4
        My specialist wants me to have an ALIF (Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion) on my L5/S1. After weighing up the pros and cons, I have decided against having surgery. I get by with pilates and lots of codeine.

        I'm classified Grade V para and compete in para dressage. I love my crazy para family.

        Comment


        • #5
          FWIW, the I had the ALIF for spacers between L1 and L2.
          Maybe the reason I love animals so much is because the only time they have broken my heart is when they've crossed that rainbow bridge

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            My second opinion surgeon agreed completely with the first in that I need a fusion at two levels because everything is very hypermobile which is causing all sorts of issues including a large synovial cyst that is pressing on the nerve root. I even had a surgery date for a few minutes until I told them I was having a rare, aggressive type of skin cancer cut off the end of my nose the day before and everything screeched to a halt. Hope to have a surgery date in the next couple of weeks at the latest.
            McDowell Racing Stables

            Home Away From Home

            Comment


            • #7
              Laurierace must be comforting that both surgeons agree on a treatment plan.

              Hope your "nose" surgery goes well. Let us know when your back surgery is scheduled. What levels are being fused?
              Maybe the reason I love animals so much is because the only time they have broken my heart is when they've crossed that rainbow bridge

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Still looking for input on recovery time and outcomes. If you don’t have any personal experience you are willing to share, good links are appreciated as well. Things are starting to get real and I would like to feel educated and prepared. Thanks.
                McDowell Racing Stables

                Home Away From Home

                Comment


                • #9
                  I had that fusion surgery and I am in the same amount of pain of not more from doing it. I also had a reaction.to the replacement bone iin my graft. I was down and out for quite a while. Good luck!

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by TullyMars View Post
                    I had that fusion surgery and I am in the same amount of pain of not more from doing it. I also had a reaction.to the replacement bone iin my graft. I was down and out for quite a while. Good luck!
                    Sorry to hear that, hope you feel better soon. My surgery is scheduled for 11/13.
                    McDowell Racing Stables

                    Home Away From Home

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Laurierace

                      Keep us posted. Did you say what level(s) you are having fused?

                      In a nutshell (for others), I had a major lumbar fusion in 2012. While the outcome wasn't what I'd hoped for, I am essentially pain-free post surgery which I consider a major win since I was most likely sliding down the hill to either lifelong pain or full-time opiates.

                      As a friend told me many years before surgery... back surgery is a choice (excluding repairing traumatic injury). At some point in my (in this case), I may choose back surgery over the current state of my life. I finally reached that point. Each of us is different for sure.

                      Laurie, you will be much in my thoughts as you go forward...
                      Maybe the reason I love animals so much is because the only time they have broken my heart is when they've crossed that rainbow bridge

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Hopefully just level 4-5. I have grade 2 spondylolisthesis among other things so the risk of leaving it as is is greater than the risk of fixing it
                        McDowell Racing Stables

                        Home Away From Home

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If they do 4-5, are they going to fuse to L5-S1 or just 4-5?

                          I know scary but sounds like you are making the right call at the right time...
                          Maybe the reason I love animals so much is because the only time they have broken my heart is when they've crossed that rainbow bridge

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Said probably not S1 but possibly 3-4
                            McDowell Racing Stables

                            Home Away From Home

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Not getting L5 fused to S1 will help with mobility in leaning over from your hip
                              Maybe the reason I love animals so much is because the only time they have broken my heart is when they've crossed that rainbow bridge

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I had ALIF at 18 on my L4-L5. If you're getting a ALIF, are you getting the bone grow drug or a donor bone graft? Recovery was tough. I can't take pain relief without it causing me to be violently ill. Vomiting and a newly fused spine do not mix. They damaged my L2-L3 root nerve so I have paralysis on my left medial thigh. Recovery is exhausting. Make sure you get up daily and walk though. Get moving, but don't push it too hard. It took me 6 weeks before I was back at work on light duties, and around another 6-8 until I got back to full time. The abdominal scar isn't that bad, but it is painful. I'm almost 10 years post op and I still get burning and twinges at the site. I will say that the pain is improved for that part of my back, however I developed Fibromyalgia because of the long term chronic pain and the rest of my spine in deteriorating slowly.
                                A Kiwi living in New England
                                Grade V Para Dressage rider

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  That sounds rough KiwiGirl, sorry you are having such a hard time. I have never heard of chronic pain causing fibromyalgia, that is terrifying. My procedure is posterior as I am having a laminectomy done as well. They said the bone grafts will be from all the bone they remove from me so no donor bone necessary.
                                  McDowell Racing Stables

                                  Home Away From Home

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