L3_L4 surgery 2010 now L2_L3, L4_L5 and L5-S1 needed

Age: 61
I had a titanium bolt placed in the L3_L4 is 2010 by a very good neurosurgeon in the Charleston, SC region.

This area is in tact and doing very good.
I was told then the eventually it could cause more stress on the one above and below which is what has now happened.

Due to arthritic degeneration on the S1 , the doctor says he would have to include this for a second surgery.
I'm holding off as long as possible but quality of life is getting less. (no bending), have to be careful getting up from chair and sitting down in chair. Usually have to take a pain pill to sleep at night.

Has anyone out there had this second surgery (fusion from L3_S1) and how are you doing now? The doctor says after this second surgery I can have quality of life but that I should hope not to ever have a 3rd surgery.

Any comments or suggestions. I have tried the spinal injections.


  • LizLiz Posts: 2,263
    edited 07/26/2019 - 4:03 PM
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions.

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  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 809
    I've had 2 fusion surgeries in the lower lumbar area in the past 3 years. The first surgery was a double level fusion (PLIF) L4-L5-S1. After 18 months due to a weak and incomplete fusion in the L5-S1 joint, one of the pedicle screws broke and I had to have a complete redo of the fusion surgery for the L5-S1 joint. At the same time the L3-L4 disc had become badly herniated and the surgeon wanted to fuse this joint as well... however after lots of discussions and a second opinion my surgeon only did a discectomy and decompression on the L3-L4 joint... as I was afraid of having 3 levels fused. Was it the right decision... I'm not sure... but at this point I'm 12 months post-op from my second fusion and doing ok. I don't have the same quality of life as when I was 25... but for my age I'm ok. I can do most normal everyday things comfortably... I swim and walk everyday... I DON'T run or do other bone jarring activities and I'm VERY careful about NOT lifting anything over 5-10 lbs. I try to always sit with good lumbar support... and after 30-40 minutes of sitting I try to make a point to get up and move around a bit. I guess long term we will see... Besides myself there are lots of other people on this forum who have had 3 or 4 levels fused so maybe you will hear from them on their experiences... I'm just one case that's about your same age.
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  • KbraggKbragg Posts: 119
    edited 02/02/2016 - 3:21 PM
    I had L4-S1 fused for DDD and also had to have L3-L4 fused a year later. Now after 8+ great years the next level L2-L3 is degenerative. There is a lot of doctors that do not like fusing 4 levels from what I've read but mine said I will not loose much more flexibility and should be fine. I am scheduled for surgery the 18th so maybe you can follow my recovery. When quality of life is at it's lowest you have to give it a chance is my thinking. That lower 2 levels is a rough surgery to recover from or at least it was for me. The single level was much easier and am hoping for the same this go round. Good luck with your decision.
  • RogerSRRogerS Posts: 4
    edited 02/03/2016 - 7:48 AM
    Thanks hvills and Kbragg for your comments. I go tomorrow for a shot to see if it helps. I have had several in the past. Some help. Some don't.
  • I had L5/S1 caged in 2011 and I had bilateral foraminotomies L2-L5 July last year.  Less than a year later my L3 inferior facet fractured and I am faced with L2-L5 fusion to add to the mix. I had a case of what they thought were shingles pop up an inch away from the incision last year.  Here we are 7-8 months later and the funk is still there and not one of the docs knows what the hell it is. Biopsies all negative for infection or determination of origin or cure.  If I wasn't on the massive steroids they would've taken me to surgery today!
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