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03/07/2012 05:09 PM

Surgery for Spinal Stenosis. Any advice?

Kerryjess
Kerryjess  
Posts: 64
Member

I have just been advised by my consultant that I need surgery. I have severe degeneration of the discs at L3,4 and 5 and the sacroiliac joint, with narrowing of the spinal canal and a tear somewhere among all that lot as well! I have had injections for pain relief, patches, analgesics, acupuncture, physio and my mobility has decreased drastically- I am in pain all the time and prone to stumbles and falls as I lose sensation in my legs without warning.

Has anyone else had this surgery? I came away somewhat shell-shocked so I really need to find out more about exactly what will be done. All I remember is that it involves putting in rods and screws to stabilise the joint which is out of place and causing compression on the nerves.I realise that this is a big undertaking and not something I am going into lightly, but as things are, my life has been reduced to a shadow of what it once was and my daily activities have been curtailed so much and defined by what I cannot do.

Sorry for the long epistle. This is another night when I am having difficulty sleeping. I have arthritis in both knees, both hands/wrists/elbows and weak ankle tendons (fibromyalgia complicates everything!)

Any advice welcome.Sad

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03/07/2012 06:08 PM
peaches261
peaches261  
Posts: 3412
VIP Member

I had 4 screws and 2 rods put at L-4, L-5 among other procedures about 6 months ago. Feel free to ask any questions here or pm me.

03/19/2012 01:03 PM
feen
feen  
Posts: 84
Member

I broke my neck in a car accident. c 4-5-6-7 . I also have degenerative disk disease. got it all replaced with a cadaver thigh bone carved down the middle to hold my spinal cord. fuzed in w/ a titanium brace. I can lift my leg and walk somewhat normal now. I live in Houston Tx area if ya wanna know my doc. he was great.

03/19/2012 05:16 PM
Kerryjess
Kerryjess  
Posts: 64
Member

Thanks for the reply. My own GP is not too keen for me to have the surgery but my physio says I have reached the end of the line and he can do no more for me except try to keep the pain under control, so I am getting conflicting messages. I have more or less made up my mind to go ahead with the surgery. The prospect of metal rods, bone grafts etc is the scary bit!How long did the post-operative pain/stiffness last and how long was the recuperation period. What about travelling afterwards eg car journeys?

03/19/2012 06:45 PM
peaches261
peaches261  
Posts: 3412
VIP Member

Honestly, I'm still not up to 100%, but my issues arent from the area I had the surgery on. Now I'm having issues with my SI Joints. I had to wait about 4 yrs after my injury for surgery, so all the time my back was too weak to handle activity, my hips and pelvis were having to pick up the slack. The back brace after surgery helped, and I was actually at a rock concert about 4 or 5 weeks after the surgery. I'm still not at the 1 year mark that they say th the fusion should be complete at though.

03/20/2012 03:41 AM
feen
feen  
Posts: 84
Member

Pain is still an issue. Accupuncture helps to keep the level of the pain down.my insurance covers a few visits a year. It ws good before my surgery,because I had to come off pain meds for 2 weeks before surgery. But like today, I am up early because I feel the storms coming in in my neck , back and joints..good luck . Feel free. To ask questions.

03/22/2012 09:39 AM
happygranny
 
Posts: 163
Member

kerryjess I am so sorry to hear your having such a hard time, I do know about having to deal with pain on a regular baisis but my back while it is a problem it is no where near what you have to deal with. Have you been to another dr for a second opinon about the surgery? Have they given any stats about the success rate of this surgery? All I can say is to do a little homework and then you have to weigh the pros and cons. Now I am glead to be a sounding board for you whenever you feel the need, but know that I am no dr, I cant really say if the sirgery is the best thing, but like I said I would be more than happy to let you rant and rave, cry, yell or do whatever you need, and I will listen and help in any way I can. Hope your day is a little less pain free Happy granny

03/22/2012 04:27 PM
peaches261
peaches261  
Posts: 3412
VIP Member

I made my decision of course through researching the surgery and local surgeons, speaking to people who have had it, etc. I went on doctor review sites on the web, and it's how I chose my surgeon. Every doctor will have good and bad reviews, but instead of just looking at their 1-5 star ratings I also made sure to take into account the number of people who had rated them. I cant remember all of the sites I went to, but I know I use healthgrades.com a lot.

The main deciding factor was what my life would be like without even trying it. I would have been stuck on a couch barely able to move, with it even hurting to breathe. I did it because I wouldnt have had a life without it, so the pros definitely outweighed the cons.


03/27/2012 10:33 AM
happygranny
 
Posts: 163
Member

Wow Peaches what a wonderful example you have set for how to look into all the different avenues for the surgery you needed. I am sure your advice is most useful for those of us who might need and yet not sure how to approach, Thank You, Happy grannySmile

03/27/2012 01:27 PM
peaches261
peaches261  
Posts: 3412
VIP Member

Thanks, it was a big step for me, I was 27 when i had it. It's not something you expect to be doing this young. One of the things that helped me know I had picked a good surgeon was talking to a woman from my zumba class. One of my surgeons associates (who did NOT have good reviews or word of mouth) had told her she needed surgery.

She got a 2nd opinion with mine, and he told her she just needed to wear a brace for about 6 months. He could have operated and made money, but instead he was honest. He won't even consider surgery until everything else is tried. Prior to my surgery I tried oral steroids, injections, and physical therapy. He even put my tattoo back together perfectly after the incision went straight down the middle of itLaughing

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