Hi all -
I had surgery in 2000 and I'm fused from T4 to L4, I'm now 62 years old. I have been having excruciating nerve pain in the back and legs, different than the muscle spasms and general soreness I have had since my surgery. After going through all the conservative treatments, none of which helped and actually made it worse, I am now scheduled for a second fusion surgery in August. I have stenosis at L5, and my doctor is planning to clean out the canal, add more screws and rods to the existing hardware, and fuse me to L5. I have some questions:

If L3-L5 is the most common area for anyone to have back problems, scoliosis or not (according to my surgeon), and if it is already known that the unfused vertebrae take on more more work after a fusion, why would the surgeons leave only one or two vertebrae unfused? Seems to me there's several people on this site who have had to undergo a second surgery just as I have to.

Second question, which I asked my surgeon, is why doesn't he fuse to the sacrum. He told me they don't do that unless they absolutely have to because it creates more mobility issues and can cause other problems later, including involvement with the SI joint. He also indicated this would be a more serious anterior/posterior surgery.

Linda, I believe your situation is similar to mine.

Does anyone have any knowledge, experience, input for me? Am I doing the right thing by only having one more vertebrae fused? Could I be facing yet another surgery in five more years? Anyone have any input on what further mobility issues I'm facing with this additional fusion?

I apologize for all the questions, but I truly believe experience is the best teacher. And knowledge is power. And that's all the cliches I'm going to toss out today! Thanks!