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I Think I Was Wrong.

It's been a while since I last posted on this site.  Briefly I was diagnosed with Lumbar Spinal Stenosis back in 2011.  On the advice of the Spinal Unit Bristol I decided against surgery and elected to go the pain management route which eventually settled on Buprenorphine patches.  Gradually my mobility got worse to the extent of using a  power wheelchair when I go out.  My pain level has steadily got worse which has led to needing help with dressing etc.

I recent had cause to see my Doctor who referred me again to the neurosurgeon (A different one).   A new MRI on my cervical area revealed severe stenosis narrowing and pressure on the spinal cord.  He also examined my earlier MRIs and expressed himself amazed that the lumbar stenosis hadn't been dealt with before.  I now await a further MRI to give an up to date view of the lumbar stenosis.  He compared a 2011 MRI with a 2013 MRI and stated that the detrioration was significant between the two so he was anxious to see how things stood now, five years on.  He is planning two surgeries, one at the lumbar site and another at the neck.  I anticipate that both surgeries will prove to be necessary and the recovery period is likely to be difficult to say the least.  Perhaps, when I think of all the pain and loss of mobility that I have neen through over the years, I was wrong and should have had surgery in 2011 when it was last offered.  I could have saved myself  and my family a lot of difficulty.  I am now 78 and apart from the spinal difficulties I am remarkably healthy and young for my age, or so I am told.

Has anyone recent experience of one surgery on one part of the spine followed by another in another area of the spine and how the recovery has been affected.  I don't expect it to be easy but any information or advice would be welcomed.

Ron and Liz and the other moderators, good to see you are still giving us your help and advice.




  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 1,033

    I've had two cervical fusions, a lumbar laminectomy, and an extensive lower spine fusion all in the last 11 years. The latest being a fusion from T11 down to S2 and pelvic fixation. My recoveries have been challenging at first but I've done very well with time.

    If I waited as long as you did before surgery my results wold not have been as good. Going into these journeys healthy and fit has been my mantra for success, but equally important is having great support at home, and the best medical team one could hope for. I truly am a very lucky guy. Still young and healthy as you are will definitely help your recovery.

    Keep us posted here on your new journey, if I can be of any support to you, lemme know.


  • I had four-level (C3-C7) ACDF in January of this year and then Laminectomies on T10, T11, L4 and L5, a partial laminectomy on caudal L3,  plus PIF on T10-11 in April of this year.  I consider that pretty extensive surgery.  I already knew from previous MRI's that I had stenosis to varying degrees at multiple places.  I apparently had congenital stenosis exacerbated by a lifetime of playing hockey (I didn't know I had the congenital stenosis disposition until after I hung up the skates and just before the surgery).  I had scarcely had three weeks of recovery from the ACDF (MRI done after years of escalating tension headaches and neck aches, and finally a grip strength decrease in my right hand). when I woke up one morning with significant numbness in my legs and feet and a burning feeling in my back.  Another round of MRI's showed severe stenosis and severe cord compression at T10-11 and moderate to severe stenosis in the lumbar, so I opted to have both areas fixed now instead of going back under the knife in six months to a year for the lumbar. 

    I am now eight-weeks post-op on the thoracic and lumbar procedures, and about twelve weeks post-op on the ACDF.  I'm steadily improving (no pain in my neck, left hand grip is normal, no more headaches, and just moderate pain still in my lumbar, and still hobbling on a cane). I will be going back to work next week. The neurosurgeon who did the procedures thinks there was no permanent cord damage and I should make a reasonably full recovery over the next six months to a year.  But once you have spinal issues, you live with the fear of something else going bad at some point in the future.

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