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Spine Fusion?Is the outcome of this procedure Positive?
Hello Friends,
My orthopaedic Dr.Has brought up doing a spine fusion on me.Of you that know much about this procedure or have gone through it was the outcome positive?What kind of healing time did you have.Thanks for the info before I decide to go under the knife.Born
No two people are the same. I had a spinal fusion done at C 5-6-7 with donor bone, titanium plate and screws. That was in August of 05. It wasn't until January 08 that I found out that neither level fused. The surgeon that did the surgery told me that the fusions were solid.

It wasn't until I insisted on a second opinion that I had a CT scan done. The 2nd opionion surgeon is the one that told me of the nonunion. It's been confirmed by 2 additional neurosurgeons.

I have two options. Leave it and live with the pain or have it redone and then who knows what??

Everyone is different.
Is your work comp going to take care of your non-fusion problem now?Did you have an attorney at the time and did he take care of you settlement wise and future medical?I am only asking because I dont want to be in worse shape after the fusion than I am now and be out of luck after this if I decide to go through with it?My Dr.did say I would not be able to do the type of job I was doing with alot of lifting,climbing,crawling,bending etc..So I am Worried about a job and income afterwords?I live in the middle of no where and there are not many jobs anyway that I have the skills for.I am pushing over 40 have a residence that I cant relocate from because of financial situations and my young Daughter that lives within 30 miles.Also I know everyone is different but is there a normal healing period for a fusion if there is one?Thank You Everyone for any info you can give me.I have to make a choice pretty soon! Born
Is he offering you an artificial disc option ?

Fusion can work just fine but do increase the likelihood of the need for future surgery at the adjacent levels. THe disc arthroplasty is purported to reduce this risk by maintaining motion at the involved segment and recent literature is demonstrating some benefits over single level fusion when performed at tertiary spine centers and not so hot outcomes when done by surgeons not fellowship trained in it ( i.e. "seasoned " spine surgeons )
I want to think it was 3 months after my fusion (L-5,S1) before I started pt. followed by more pt. followed by work conditioning and work harding. I returned to work on light duty 8 months after the fusion.
8-05, Micro laminectomy/disectomy. 10-05 lumbar fusion L5-S1. 2-07 exploritory surgery. 12-07 medical implant, Spinal Cord Stimulator. now receiving SSDI. After going back to school, I received my degree as a mechanical engineer. What can I say, it was the only way I had to beat the system. 
For me, it took me a week to get out of the hospital, another 3 weeks of being close to bedridden (w/ the exception of getting up to use the bathroom and a few times a day to get up and walk from one end of the hous and back again [using my walker]),3 weeks from the date I came home from hospital, to go out to begin walking (which started at .15 miles the 1st time) and it took me 10 weeks before I could get back to work, light duty and at that I started with just 4-5 hr. weeks for the first month. By 4 mo. post op, I was back to my regular job, but with the restrictions of no bending, twisting, leaning, or lifting more than 10 lbs.

I lucked out because my employer is wonderful. They not only did not give my job away, with each of my 3 surgeries, but they also made up a possition to allow me to do the duties that would fall under my restrictions.
I am currently 8 weeks out of surgery.Had two discs removed in lower spine. (bottom two) crushed in a fall. I had packets installed with rods & screws (6 screws 2 rods) the packets stimulate blood flow and natural bone growth,so far so good. I have been in pt for 4 weeks and doc thinks i will be released back to better than normal in 4 months (Oct). I'm 47,smoker,walk lots & some fitness 5'9"/ 190lb. I also did pt before surgery to help speed recovery. It's not fun by any means but mine in particular has been worth it. Less pain 1-10 about 2. and no need for pain management so far. Everyone is different though. I do pt with another guy thinner than me and 4 yrs older who had same thing and same doc but is having a hard time.
My injury happened in August 04. I have an attorney and we are no where near any type of settlement. I won't settle anything at this point. The IC is still paying the bills as they are mandated to. Yes, they are going to pick up the costs of the second surgery when I am ready to have it. I've learned that this isn't something that should be rushed into. Explore all your options.
Born, if your looking for an answer to fusion time being complete and healed, and ending results once done, then you will find there isn't a true answer?

Any fusion, or surgery, will have good results, med results, and some bad results.

In my opinion, I would never let an Ortho perform surgery on my spine, but would allow a Neurosurgeon that has performed spinal fusion to perform the surgery.

It's also my best opinion, that when ever a spinal fusion is performed, is to demand a Spinal Bone Growth Stimulator, to help prompt fusion healing. Like I said, I would demand the Stimulator with the surgeon. It does work, and I'm living proof of it also.




Reply's are intended solely for informational purposes. They are based on personal opinions, experience, or research and are "not to be taken as fact or legal advice", otherwise, always consult an attorney or a doctor.
Stiffneck I had a cervical fusion in 2003. Fused with bone from bone bank. With steel plates on each side. I was off work for 18 months before I went back to work on light duty. One month after returning to work on light duty I bent over twisted my back lifting and screwed up my lumbar area. I have 4 bad disc now in my low back and 2 of the 4 disc are completely gone and the other 2 are herniated and impinged on nerves. I am not considered at surgical canidate as I would be worse if I were to have a lumbar fusion. I am haveing a spinal cord stimulator implanted in my lumbar area next week for some relief of all the pain. I am still working and I am on my feet 10 hours a day. So everybody's body reacts differently. I still have issues from my cervical fusion. I still have numbness, tingeling.. and weakness in my and hands. I still have pain in my neck and shoulders. and down into my arms. sometimes only on one side and sometimes on both sides. I wake each morning in pain all over my body. Mine are 2 separate WC claims. The first one started in 2001, and the second one strated in 2004. To date I have not settled either of my 2 claims. I was given an impairment rateing on both claims and was paid ppd for both but I have not settled them. I do not believe I will ever settle as I feel my medical care is worth more than any money they could give me.
Cervical Fusion 2003, c5-c6. Herniated and damaged Disc L1- L4-L5 S1. Lumbar Spinal Cord stimulator implant 09-2008. Cervical ACDF revision with hardware c4-c5-c6-c7 Sept 2009.

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