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Thread: S1 to L5 fusion questions

  1. #51
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    Default Re: S1 to L5 fusion questions

    It's been about 1-1/2 year since my surgery. I don't even think about NOT lifting my bike now. No pain. I'm only limited by range of movement. I can now put on my own socks and tie my shoes. One other good thing that came out of this surgery was I discovered the nail salon! No way could I cut my own toe nails, and they were starting to 'click' when I walked, so, my wife made an appt. with her manicurist to do my toenails. I got 'Gramma-san', and she gave me the 'works'! Hot water foot bath, sea salt massage from feet to knees, callous buffing of heels, 3 different oils ( I couldn't decide on a color for my nails, so she just went with natural). I hour later, I walked out floating about 3' feet off the ground. What a feeling! Now, it's a monthly ritual. I'm not telling the wife, but I could probably cut my own nails now. At first, it was kinda strange sitting there with 5-6 other 'ladies" all 'peeking' at me from behind their magazines, but now, they have started bringing their husbands in, and "we' are talking about dirt bikes, fishing, or football....I even got the local Ace Hardware guys going in.
    '13 500 EXC
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  3. #52
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    Default Re: S1 to L5 fusion questions

    Quote Originally Posted by dualsportdave View Post
    Irishcoffee forgive me but I cant seem to recall if you ended up having surgery?
    What back procedure did you have? location? how many weeks out?
    My surgeon highly recommend bicycle riding at 12 weeks.
    My 1st trip on the bicycle was difficult and I was worried about every bump. I took it very slow at first on ultra smooth pavement, but the more time I spent riding the less I noticed bumps. I did a little mnt bike trail by my house today and did not even notice the bumps (I did walk the bike over a fallen tree). I am hoping to feel more confident after my 6-month check up.
    Mine was a discectomy. Should have been a "simple" procedure but the nerve to my left quadricep was damaged and it is very weak and much smaller than normal. My mistake was using a poor Dr. I did not do enough research and paid the price. After my surgery when going back for consultations about possible corrections, I found out that every other patient of his that I met had a poor result and many were having more surgeries. His great personality and "bedside" manner were a cover for his incompetence. Do your homework before your surgery folks!
    Last edited by Irishcoffee; 10-20-2019 at 01:46 PM.

  4. #53
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    Default Re: S1 to L5 fusion questions

    IC sorry to hear about your procedure not going to plan. It really makes you think about all the risk involved with any surgery. Best of luck and I hope you can continue to make improvements.
    Cheers

    dualsportdave
    2011 250 XCF-W 6-days

  5. #54

    Default Re: S1 to L5 fusion questions

    Not good IC sorry about your issues. I keep reading on various back pain forums that folks that have had a discectomy usually end up with fusion surgery down the road. I read Tiger woods story and he went through three back surgeries until he had fusion surgery going through the stomach approach. Today he is pain free and golfing. Back surgery is nothing to take lightly and only a very last resort.

  6. #55
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    Default Re: S1 to L5 fusion questions

    Just had my 6 month checkup and everything went well. Fusion is not 100% but it looks way better than did at 3-months (doc says I can consider myself fused). Doc also said his work is done its all up to me from here out (no need for 12 month check up).
    Feeling good. MRI every 3-years was his final recommendation.
    Cheers

    dualsportdave
    2011 250 XCF-W 6-days

  7. #56
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    Default Re: S1 to L5 fusion questions


  8. #57

    Default Re: S1 to L5 fusion questions

    Quote Originally Posted by dualsportdave View Post
    IC
    While visiting the ER (extreme back pain) it was recommended that I see a neuro surgeon (I was discouraged from seeing an orthopedic surgeon). From what little I know a neuro or an ortho surgeon can perform fusions (probably more important that you and ur surgeon are on the same page than what type of surgeon he is). My surgeon reviewed my case and gave me pros/cons on multiple options (plif, tlif, alif), and answered all my questions. We discussed the whole procedure: even materials and tools that would be used. During the surgery your spinal column and nerves can get damaged (the nerves have to be moved by the surgeon or they could be cut/damaged from the tools being used) and if this happens you may want/need the skills of a neuro surgeon. at L1-s5 junction there is no spinal column to damage (only nerves).

    plif. Posterior interbody lumbar fusions (incision is in the back). back muscles get cut and recovery is slower and more painful. Alif (incision in the front, stomach area) has additional risks (have to move a major artery), but a quicker less painful recovery. materials and hardware used can be much different.

    17 week update:
    returned to PT. mostly pain free. Riding mnt bike and stretching almost every day. I m able to do a lot more jobs around the house and at work.
    I have been dealing with lower back pain since 1989. I have been through numerous sessions of PT, radiofrequency ablations and epidural steroid injections. Up until recently, I have been getting satisfactory relief from the injections. I've had two injections since October 30th with zero pain relief.

    I visited a couple of neurosurgeons and both have recommended that I have a fusion at L4-L5 for an advanced case of Degenerative Disc Disease. The first surgeon I visited uses the MIS TLIF procedure. The second uses the PLIF. After hearing the explanation of both methods and the respective recovery times, I am going with the MIS TLIF procedure. MIS TLIF is an outpatient procedure that does not damage any muscles, so that alone speeds up the recovery process. In my initial consultation, I was told I would be back to work in about 6 weeks. The PLIF recovery involves a 3-5 day stay in the hospital and wearing a back brace for 90 days. I would not be back to work for at least 90 days.

    Spine surgery is not something I am taking lightly and I'm still not 100% sure I am going to go through with it. The second surgeon I visited, said that the chances of the fusion relieving my pain was about 50/50. I really don't like those odds. I can't recall if the other surgeon said the same thing about my odds. I have another appointment with him on Tuesday and I'll be sure to ask that question. I think I would need the odds to be above 75% for me to feel comfortable going forward with the fusion...unless my pain continues to get worse. Right now, I don't have constant pain, but I never know when the next episode of extreme pain is going to happen. It's very inconsistent and seems to hit me when I'm doing the most mundane tasks. One thing is certain, if I don't have the surgery I have a 100% chance of having back pain again. Very frustrating!

    If I decide to have the surgery, this is the surgeon that will be performing the procedure. https://youtu.be/rCFBnb63djE
    2020 TE300i

  9. #58
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    Default Re: S1 to L5 fusion questions

    Sorry to hear this Catcus 73. As you may have read I had a PLIF. I could have had a tlif at a later date, but I did not want to wait (doc also recommend plif for me). The last 2 months have been difficult for me (low back pain). short story is that I over did it and I am just getting over it (muscle and facet inflammation, no fusion issues). PLIF causes more muscle damage than tlif as you have noted. I am still very happy I had the procedure and have zero regrets. My doc did not give me a number but thought fusion would eliminate my pain (I dont have DDD, I had broken pars bilateral and almost no disc left) Get all the info you can, but I would not want to risk serous nerve damage by not reacting. I was lucky to have only minimal nerve damage. You will also need to know if doc suspects DDD at other locations. every case is different. Please Keep us posted. I am going back to PT next week. fyi my pain episodes got closer together over the years until pain was almost 24-7. feel free to pm me if needed
    Cheers

    dualsportdave
    2011 250 XCF-W 6-days

  10. #59

    Default Re: S1 to L5 fusion questions

    Thanks. No abnormal degeneration other than L4-L5. I'll post updates if I go ahead with the fusion.
    2020 TE300i

  11. #60

    Default Re: S1 to L5 fusion questions

    I'm going ahead with the fusion. After reviewing the type of pain I have he's decided on the same procedure I mentioned above, but he is not going to remove the disc at L4-L5 or insert an intervertebral fusion cage. Instead he is going to remove my facet joints at L4-L5, install the rods and screws, then fuse the hardware in position with a bone graft. Apparently, my disc is not a source of pain for me, so removing it just introduces more potential problems like blood loss, nerve damage, and more trauma to the area. If the insurance approves the surgery soon, I will get it done on the 24th. I'll be off work approximately 6 weeks post op. The biggest bummer is I won't be able to ride for 6 months.
    2020 TE300i

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