View Full Version : Need T4 to T11 fusion?

03-21-2007, 08:37 PM
I have 6 large herniation from T4 to T11, my neuro said a six level disk replacement and fusion with rods, and you guys are the only info I can find. So please help me with what to expect from a six level fusion. Post op, how long is recovery. I looked at some of your pics and it is impressive. Does life go back to normal? Man I am scared. I did have C5 and C6 done in 9/06 and recovered great. My docs are 50/50 on do it or not. Any advise or websites would be helpful. Losing my bowel and bladder, pain is high, sometimes I can't standup or walk. :rolleyes:

03-22-2007, 10:40 AM
WElcome to the forum!
I noticed that you are just a couple years younger than me, so thought that I'd write back. My fusion was longer than yours, T5-L5, but I'm glad I had it as my pain and discomfort was also high. Mine was more from progressing scoliosis than bad disks. I was losing the ability to walk with severe sciatica also and was disabled from my standing job.

I am 8 months post op and very glad that I had the surgery. I can now sit and stand comfortably. The sciatica and lower back pain has gradually faded away during the recovery. I still walk stiffly, but am not in pain from walking which is a great improvement. There is tightness and burning in the upper back at the top of my rods and also around the shoulders, but it is improving with time. Physical therapy is a great help with getting your movement back in the shoulder/back area as there is a lot of work to do to get that area strengthened up again.

If you are having bladder/bowel issues, I would definitely encourage you to look into the surgery soon. That and the pain/disability issues will only worsen with time. The sooner things are fixed, the sooner you can recover and have the rest of your life back.

It is a long recovery. Some adults our age go back to work at 3 months part time at first; others aren't up to it until 6 months. I used some form of pain reliev ers up to about 5 1/2 months and wore a brace or back support for 6 months but it varies with the person. You are having less done so may recover quicker.

Good luck. Let us know how things go.


03-22-2007, 11:41 AM
Thanks Deb for the insight. I really need the encouragment. I'm so scared that I will be worse. Great to here you would do it again. I don't know how you handled that long of a fusion. Kepp moving foward and I will use you to imspire me. Thanks Lois ;)

03-22-2007, 08:28 PM
Hi Lois. I am fused T4-T12 which is quite similar to what you will have. I have no restrictions that are different to before except for the fact that I am quite aware I no longer bend from the top but from the knees which is a good thing anyway. It is scary as hell waiting but for me that was the hardest part of the entire ordeal. This site is a god send. Hope you find it helpful.

03-22-2007, 08:43 PM
Hi Lois,

I noticed that you said disk replacement? Are they going to be putting in 6 artifical disks? I had 6 disks removed and I had little metal cages inserted with bone fragments inside of them. So now those bone fragments have grown into a solid mass encompassing the cage. I am fused in the upper part of the spine in the front and also the lower spine in the front and then T2 to the sacrum in the back.

When I read your post about the bladder and bowel problems I immediately thought to myself, Oh, she needs to get the surgery done so that problem doesn't get any worse.

I was 48 at the time of my first surgery, 49 for the second, and I'll be 51 for the third surgery. Even though I am going in for my third surgery, I would do it all over again.

03-23-2007, 10:49 AM
Thanks so much for your encouragement. Just from hearing from you guys I am going to do it before I lose my bowel and bladder for good. Really you all have given me the strength. For months I have tried to find some help and thank God I found this forum. Yes my disks will be replaced as well as a fusion and rods. But thats all I know for now. I will be seeing a patient advocate at the hospital for the real details. One question is how much help did you need when you got home? Thanks so much for your help! Lois :p

03-23-2007, 03:29 PM
The first few days you will need someone almost round the clock if you come home straight from the hospital like I did. If you ae coming home after staying in rehab for a while it might be a litttle different. I needed help getting in and out of bed and chairs. My husband had to help me shower and he had to wash and dry my hair. It just depends on how much work was done and the amount of medicine that you had. I had a raised toliet seat, a shower bench, a grabber for when you drop something, a walker and a wheelchair. I think most people don't need the wheelchair.