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Has anyone had spinal fusion surgery?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by HandsomeHarley, Jan 26, 2007.

  1. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    I am facing the very real possibility of having spinal fusion surgery to fuse my L4 and L5 vertebra. My L5 vertebra was broken, apparently when I was young, and my lower back has deteriorated ever since.

    Obviously, this is serious, nerve-wracking surgery.

    Does anyone have any idea what to expect? How long is the recovery time? How long should I expect to miss work?

    About 12 years ago, when faced with surgery, the neurosurgeon told me there was a 20 percent chance my back would get better and a 20 percent chance it would get worse. My current doctor disputes that, and thinks surgery will fix my back pain, leg pain (sciatica), hip pain and possibly my knee pain (nerves are being pinched).

    Any advice?

    BTW, the nearest neurosurgeon from the desert isle I am marooned on is 4 hours away. :-\
  2. ifilus

    ifilus Well-Known Member

    See: T.J. Ford
  3. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    My stepfather-in-law had it done. Within two months, he was back to about 75 percent.

    Considering he is a professional duck hunting guide (featured on WaterfowlerTV on the Outdoors Channel) and flips houses in the offseason, I was shocked at how much he was able to do so quickly. About eight months after the operation, he came to visit and helped me rewire and replumb our kitchen.
  4. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    See if they can do kyphoplasty instead.
    It is a procedure that uses balloons and they pump in concrete to patch the holes.
    Much less invasive and you are up and about in a day.
  5. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    I think the (former) lead singer of Pantera had this done, and apart from being a fucking nutjob, I think he was out of action for a year or so.

    Not the best answer, I know. But good luck, Crippler.
  6. frozen tundra

    frozen tundra Member

    Kyphoplasty's a good alternative if you're a candidate and it's a pretty common procedure. I've heard of people in their 80s who've had it, which is significant since doctors often don't want to perform that kind of very invasive surgery on people whose bodies might not be able to handle it.

    But some neurosurgeons, if their honest, will tell you surgery's not always going to fix the problem. Sometimes it's just a crapshoot.
  7. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    Paging DocTalk.
  8. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    Yeah, I can't stand having a bird sewn to my spine. Damn thing is always trying to fly away. That Hugo was a quack.
  9. beefncheddar

    beefncheddar Guest

    Damn. That's freaking fascinating.
  10. jackfinarelli

    jackfinarelli Well-Known Member

    My father had spinal fusion surgery. I think his was L-4/L-5 too. He was in his early 70s when he had the surgery done.

    Recovery for him was slower than it would be for a younger person who would be physically able to do the rehab drills better and with more repetitions than my father was able to accomplish. Even with his rehab limitations, he was fully recovered in about 9 months and was completely pain-free after only 4-6 weeks.

    Hope all goes well for you...
  11. Norman Stansfield

    Norman Stansfield Active Member

    Fusion beats the alternative, which I believe is a discectomy.

    My dad had two discs removed from his lower back in the early 80s (work injury) and he was never close to the same after. Also lost about two inches in height.
  12. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    Are we talking about fixing a back or drywall? That sounds downright weird.

    BTW, I am not quite 43, and hope I still have a little softball left in me.

    I think the thing that scares me is from reading "Pure Dynamite" the autobiography of Tom "British Bulldog" Billington. He was walking through the airport one day when he collapsed after his back gave out. He never walked again and has been in a wheelchair ever since.

    I don't want that to happen to me, but I also don't want to wake up from surgery and not have any feeling in my legs.

    In this business, I don't know if I can afford to be on the shelf longer than a month. Summer is a good time, but you don't work, you don't eat.
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