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Thread: How will fusion affect arthritic spine?

  1. #1
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    How will fusion affect arthritic spine?

    Does anyone have any idea or experience as to how the fusion will affect arthritis? My surgeon believes that I have arthritis in my lumbar spine; this is the area of my spine that causes me the most pain & discomfort after exertion. My thoracic area where my curve is gives me pain after sitting too long. My concern is that my planned fusion (~T2-L2) will really aggravate my lumbar area. But maybe the fusion will make that area better?

  2. #2
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    Oct 2008
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    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
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    I don't fully understand it but after asking a similar question on this forum some time ago, I was told that arthritis can only exist where there is movement. Once your spine is held rigid or fused, it cannot move. My experience has been that all the arthritic pain I once had in my lumbar area, has gone since surgery.

    Which to me, is a really big bonus and I'm not sure why it's not mentioned more often as a side effect of this surgery.
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    i have arthritis of the lumbar spine...also arthritis in other areas...started with Lyme disease! i need fusion from L4 to sacrum....and a couple of osteotomies and lamenectomies thrown in as well.....

    i agree that once fused, there wouldnt be any concern with arthritis any more in the area fused...

    jess

  4. #4
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    That's probably the best news I've heard in a while! I was practicing volleyball with my daughter 3 days ago and my lumbar area has been very unhappy ever since. But if the fusion can help, or at least not worsen my lumbar area, I will be very happy! Thanks ladies for your input.

  5. #5
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    I am eagerly awaiting replies as I have the same concern - and then some. (I have Ehler-Danlos which made my cartilage wear out prematurely. It's a genetic hyper-mobility syndrome. My primary pain relief now comes from extreme stretching, especially of the lower back! It's easy for me because everything's so loose.

    And I too have most of my pain there. If the surgery doesn't relieve the lumbar pain, I'm scr*wed as I certainly can't stretch afterwords. My fusion is projected to be almost as long as yours.

    I was disturbed to read a blog of a young female Brit scoliosis-pt recently. She has had the same area fused and had almost identical curves as mine. ("Twistedwoman", I think) She's very upbeat and informative, but what bothered me was that she said, a) her primary pain was her lower back b) it came from arthritis and c) that she still has it, only slightly reduced, after surgery.

    She also commented that she'd been told that patients with severe scoliosis tended to get arthritis in their lumbar spine. Something about the line of force or plumb line being off or something (and where it did damage)

    If she has it bad in her mid twenties, I guess so!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Back-out View Post
    She also commented that she'd been told that patients with severe scoliosis tended to get arthritis in their lumbar spine. Something about the line of force or plumb line being off or something (and where it did damage)
    That makes sense to me but my surgeon said my curve had nothing to do with my lumbar arthritis, he said it's just part of the "aging process". (Geeez, I'm only 50 and I've had my lumbar pain for at least 5 years.) I feel that it is related, but I'm not a doctor...
    Laurie
    Age 57
    Posterior fusion w/thoracoplasty T2-L3 Oct 1, 2010
    Thoracic curve corrected from 61* to 16*
    Lumbar curve, unknown measurement
    Disfiguring back hump GONE!!
    Dr Munish Gupta
    UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA

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