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Thread: Any spinal fusions of L5 to Sacrum?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Any spinal fusions of L5 to Sacrum?

    Since having the harrington rod surgery in 1977 and then the removal of it in 1983 I am now in a lot of pain. Just recently I went to Dr. Wright who had done a fusion of the C3-C5 because along with the lower back pain, numbness in my legs and severe pain in the groin area I also am having severe pain in my neck. Turns out I have a hernated disk at C6 and a pinched nerve in my neck. While there he also looked over my MRI results of my lower back and says I need to have my L5 fused to my sacrum to help reduce some of the pain I am in. It is supposed to be a major surgery, especially for someone who's spine is fused solid from T4 to L5. He suggested I see one of the Orthopedic Surgeons in the same building as he is, which is in the buildings associated with Barnes Hospital. Because their specialty is Scoliosis. They are Bridwell and Lenke. However, my insurance company will only deal with Lenke. So, my quesion is....has anyone had this surgery done? I'm told to do this surgery for someone who has a fused spine they have to open you up, front and back so they will be able to put in enough hardware so the fusion will take. I'd love to hear from someone who has had this procedure done.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Fernley, Nevada
    You will find that there are a LOT of us on this board that have had Anterior/Posterior surgery, including myself. I'm fused from T4-S1 which is more that what you are asking about.

    Dr. Lenke has a very good reputation on this board and is very qualified to do the type of surgery you may need.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    facing same surgery


    I am also facing the same surgery. I have tried to find others on this site that have had this surgery. So far i have not had much luck. This will be my 5th surgery. I am fused right now down to L3, and i think my fusion starts at T3 or 4. I am very nervous about this surgery even though i have been through so many. I am nervous because im not quite sure if this will take away my pain, the other surgeries have not! My pain that i am having starts in my lower back and radiates down my legs all day every day!! I am on heavy pain medications and have been for many years. I am just ready to get his over with.
    I see a Dr by the name of Pashman at Cedars Sinai hospital in beverly hills, ca. He is very good and i do trust his opinion. I have heard of many people on here talk about Dr. Bridwell. I have only heard good things, so im sure you will be in good hands!
    When are you planning the surgery? I am planning mine in july or August of this year. I would like to have it earlier but my work wont allow it. Let me know if you talk to anyone else who has had this fusion or if you have your surgery before me, let me know how it went. I will also keep you informed if I hear anything.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Edmond, OK

    Fusion to sacrum

    Hi Hunbun,

    Sounds like you have been through the ringer, and it is still ringing! I had the surgery you are inquiring about on December 15, 2005. I was fused from L4 to S1, and it would have been very successful except some of my screws came loose. Oh well - another surgery or two later (2/27/06 to replace the loose screws with larger ones) and (3/6/06 to remove two of the screws because they were "offending" a nerve).

    Prior to my December surgery, I was having tremendous pain in my lower back which was due to osteoarthritis and overall disk degeneration in my lower spine. And I was also having annoying nerve pain down my left leg. The surgery completely eliminated the lower back pain and the nerve pain that radiated down my leg. My surgeon told me he spent an hour removing what he could of the osteoarthritis at the base of my spine and decompressing around the nerve roots. I was almost on my way back to work had it not been for the loose hardware.

    I am glad I had the fusion to the sacrum because it has eliminated so much pain. It's a bummer I had the loose hardware, but it was a simple surgery to replace. And the larger screws did impinge on the nerves, so they were just removed.

    Dealing with scoliosis is just that - dealing with it. I have now had 6 surgeries, and I never planned on ever even having the first one. I trust my surgeon and believe him to be an expert in his field. He does a lot of revision surgeries and has a good reputation.

    And yes, they did do the anterior / posterior procedures on me as well. They do build up the discs on the anterior approach, putting in "cages". I don't know the actual technical term for them.

    I will be happy to share my xrays if you are interested in "seeing" what this looks like. Take care and keep the faith.
    Plano, TX
    Surgical dates
    3/25/02 - fused T1-L3, T - 88 degrees
    L - 74 degrees
    7/8/04 - repaired 6 areas of non-union & fused L3-L4
    12/15/05 - fused L4-L5, L5-S1
    2/27/06 - corrected hardware failure
    3/5/06 - corrected hardware issue
    6/16/06 - replaced broken screw in pelvis
    3/9/07 - rear ended auto collision
    2/12/09 - totaled car - someone pulled out in front of me - Yikes!
    3/30/09 - Revision surgery, removed & replaced t12through S1

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Thanks for info on spinal fusion T5-Sacrum

    Thank you all for the info. As of now I am waiting on my family doctor to call and set up an appointment with Dr. Lenke. You have to have a referral, you know. lol So, I'm assuming it will be several months before I have to decide on having the surgery or not.

    I can't believe some of you are still working. I used to be a letter carrier until my back finally had enough. It got to the point where I could no longer stand up straight because the pain had become so intense and still is to this day. That was January of 1988. I went to see my Orthopedic Surgeon (Dr. Wm. Schroeder of Springfield, IL) who had done the harrington rod surgery He took films of my spine and then told me, I needed to quit work, to slow down the degeneration that was taking place in my spine. I still tried to find something I could do, but that was impossible due to the fact that I could now, only stand/sit/walk no more than 20 mins. at a time (30 mins. on a good day) and then would have to lie down or at least change positions to keep the pain from intensifying. I do take Vicodin for the pain, but only if I have to go out to do grocery shopping or to have dinner with friends. I promised my doctor I wouldn't take them while at home, so as not to get addicted to them. So, while at home I use meditation, hot bathes or a heating pad to get me through the day. I exercise and try to stay somewhat active. Pain permitting of course, but I can't imagine holding down an 8 hour per day job. How do you do it?

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