Back Surgery..........Has anyone had it?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Kevin Potts, May 30, 2003.

  1. Kevin Potts

    Kevin Potts Second Unit

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    Right now it's looking like a very real possibility that I'll be needing it in the future. I have a recurring herniated disc that has become a very serious problem. I know there are different kinds of surgery dependent upon the problems and circumstances. So I'm wondering if any of you have had it, what were the circumstances and what were the results.
     
  2. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Yep, I popped two disks in my neck once. The operation came out just great, for about a month. You should at least read some of the articles on this page.

    http://www.rsdrx.com/

    Glenn
     
  3. Kevin Potts

    Kevin Potts Second Unit

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    Glenn,

    If you don't mind me asking, what exactly was the problem? Were the discs herniated(bulging) or ruptured? Have you had any problems or complications from the surgery?

    Sorry about all the questions. I'm trying to find out as much as I can about this before I take the plunge as well as get some personal accounts from people about their state of being before and after the operation.

    Thanks
     
  4. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    I had a lumbar laminectomy/diskectomy 16 years ago. I initially did great, but now the disk has collapsed (L5-S1). Some people have it and go on with their lives (I did); others have escalating problems from surgery. It would serve you well to learn all you can about your condition and the proposed treatment before making a decision. It will affect the rest of your life.

    I don't know what surgery your talking about, but you should look into artificial disk replacement if fusion is being considered. It is in clinical trials in the U.S. and has been used in Europe for the last 14 years. It has proved to be far superior to fusion, with some outstanding results. I have done tons of research on it. The Charite III is close to FDA approval and the Prodisc is not far behind.


    Good luck.
     
  5. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    I just popped two disks in my spine. Left side was paralyzed, but the operation went well and I am 100% recovered..

    The link refers to a post-op condition that can occur about a month later. It can happen with any operation, but I'd guess that if they are working with nerves, it might be more likely. It can be corrected if it is less than 1/2 year old, but after that it sort of sets in on a permanent basis.

    If anything weird happens, you have the link. I'm not trying to scare you. Please don't avoid any operation just because of that, but a little knowlege can go a long way.

    Glenn
     
  6. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    When I was 23 I had back surgery on my lower disk. Initially it had ruptured and the stuff that came out hardened. The piece was the size of an olive. It got stuck in my pelvic bone and crushed my psyatic(sp?) nerve. Since I was young and strong, the surgery went well and was a complete success.

    The danger with this sort of surgery on older people is, they need to cut part of the spine bones to get to the problem discs. Since I was young, my bones were strong, but older people have weaker bones. So when they cut them, the bones usually crack and separate, requiring "Fusion". Fusion is where they have to fuse your spine back together. My dads best friend and my boss have both had fusion surgery and it is NOT fun. They are in constant pain. Not Good!

    Since my back surgery, I've had scar tissue that usually bothers that area, but overall it's been pretty good. When I was 28 I crushed another disc (not bad enough for surgery), and since then I haven't been doing much therapy and exercise. Now that I am 32, I recently threw my back out pretty bad and I am back in therapy. As long as I keep up the exercises I'm good. I've also realized that I've gotta lose some weight to help relieve the pressure on my back.

    Not a fun thing to go through, but if you gotta, you gotta.
     
  7. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    On June 16th I will be having my 3rd fusion surgery on levels L3-4 and L4-5.

    1st op I had screws and rods inserted, and bone taken from my hip was 'morselized' and placed between my vertebrae.

    The bone failed to grow, so 9 months later I had round 2. This time they went in from the front, again took bone from my hip, and used wire cages to hold the bone in place. This time the bone has grown somewhat well, but in the meantime, one screw broke, and another is loose, from the 1st op. The loose screw is creating a grooved channel, and whenever I do anything, it hurts.

    So... He will be removing the hardware from the first op, adding a little BMP OP-1(Bone Miracle Gro) to the fusion site, and hopefully, 3rd times a charm.

    Knowing what I know now, I tell anyone considering back surgery to consider all of their options. It's rough stuff.
    As Pamela said, fusion should be an absolute last resort. There is not a day that goes by that I am not reminded of how F#%&!* up my back is.
     
  8. Nathan_F

    Nathan_F Second Unit

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    Had L5-S1 fused last August with titanium cages. They went in through the front only. I still have pain, typically every day. At times it is as severe as before, but usually not. I have also had a lot of time to get used to activities I can and cannot due as a result of my back, and I just don't do anything that I know will cause the severe pain I've experienced. My doctor is frustrated that I still have pain, but has not suggested any other course of action.

    On the other hand, my mom had L4-L5-S1 double fusion with bone graft from her hip and bone bank done in January by the same doctor. She has recovered quite well and is almost pain free.

    Make sure the fusion is a last resort. Try everything else first.
     
  9. Kevin Potts

    Kevin Potts Second Unit

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    Thanks for the personal accounts everyone. If I do go ahead with it, it will be a few months down the road. That should allow me plenty of time to find out what the best course of action is in my particular case.
     
  10. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

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    I had a bi-lateral laminectomy in 1977 after a fall which rutured two disc. They were removed and nothing put in their place. Since then, I've done whatever I wished although I avoid heavy loads and/or clumsy or offbalance positions when lifting. That's just common sense anyway.

    Being a small person with no extra weight certainly helped me to be and feel 100% recovered with no ongoing back problems due to carrying around excess poundage.

    Good luck with whatever you do. All I can say now, that after 26 years, is that I would do it all over again.
     
  11. Bob Graz

    Bob Graz Supporting Actor

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    I had a ruptured disc 20+ years ago in my lower back. It caused sciatica, a limp and my hips where messed up. The neurologist recommended surgery. I was concerned about having a disc removed in my 20's and what the long term effects might be. After consulting numerous people including friends who were doctors, all the advice at that time was to avoid surgery unless damage is being caused or as an absolute last resort. I tried PT, chiropractor and back exercises. After about 2 years of constant pain, the pain suddenly disappeared. So fast that at first I didn't realize it was gone. I think the back exercises and just moving over time relieved the inflamed area. I never had the surgery and 20+ years later have been relatively fine with only a handful of bouts with back pain. When it happens I do the lower back and stomach muscle exercises again. Every case is different but you certainly want to explore all and any options before surgery, unless of course you are risking permanent damage and surgery is the only course. Good luck.
     
  12. Patrick Larkin

    Patrick Larkin Screenwriter

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    Last winter, I had a herniated disc which later ruptured. After the rupture, my severe back pain turned into sciatic nerve type symptoms - numbness and an intense burning in my leg. I saw a neurologist after the MRI revealed the rupture. He gave me two options - have surgery or wait it out. I waited it out and by my return visit 11 weeks later, the sciatic nerve stuff had all but disappeared by itself. I never had surgery.

    My lower back never hurts but I still have a bit of numbness that I'm told will probably stay. I can tell its not the same as it once was but I'm able to function normally.

    I attribute my recovery to stopping any lifting, pushing, or pulling for about 3 months. (Lawn mower and shopping carts are the worst.) I also stopped laying around - I bought a comfy chair and sat when watching TV and stuff. I started sleeping on my side. I changed my computer position at work so my space would be more ergonomic...

    Unless you are 100% sure that its not getting any better, try and avoid the surgery. Good luck. We all know where you are coming from!
     
  13. Kevin Potts

    Kevin Potts Second Unit

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    Right now I'm at a loss as far as what to do. This is the 4th or 5th time that I've had a problem with the same disc. Sometimes it's manageable, other times it puts me down for a few weeks at a time. This time around it is more severe than in the past. I've lost a lot of feeling in my right leg, and my leg muscles have been cramped up solid for four weeks straight. At this point my neurologist suspects that I have permanent nerve damage in my right leg. I'll find out tommorrow for sure after he goes over the results of the nerve tests.

    I really don't like the idea of getting surgery, but if it will alleviate the pain and decrease the odds of having problems down the road, then I suppose that is what I'll have to do. I'm hoping that I'll receive some encouraging news from the Doc tommorrow. If nothing else, I'll know more about the situation I'm in and what the best course of action might be.

    Wish me luck
     
  14. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Good luck Kevin. If not permanent, nerve damage is something that takes forever to heal. My Dr. said it heals a half inch per year, so imagine how long it would take for your entire leg to heal? [​IMG]

    After 10 years, I still don't have much feeling in my right foot and no reflexes at all. [​IMG]
     
  15. Kevin Potts

    Kevin Potts Second Unit

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    A half inch per year? Yikes!!!! I guess that's better than nothing. At this point, I'd be happy just to get rid of that weird feeling of having a golf ball under my toes.
     
  16. Patrick Larkin

    Patrick Larkin Screenwriter

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    I apparently had no nerve damage. I guess that changes the equation. The neurologist had me stand on my tiptoes. Apparently, if you can't do that, you have some problems.
     
  17. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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  18. Kevin Potts

    Kevin Potts Second Unit

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  19. Wes T

    Wes T Stunt Coordinator

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    It is a tough decision to make Kevin. I had the same symptoms of severe pain and then one day out of the blue it just went pop and I woke up the next morning with no pain and bad numbness in my left leg. I limped around for a year and a half doing very little physical activity and sitting around getting fat before I realized how much my quality of life had gone away. I finally decided to go ahead with a lumbar lamenectomy of my L5-S1. Only the ruptured portion of the disc was removed and cleaned out but the rest was left intact. I was able to return to work after six weeks but the first six months were really rough. It took over a year to completely recover but then one day I noticed that I was pain free. My foot is still a little numb and I haven't had my reflexes checked to see if they have returned or not but I can walk fine and function pretty normally. I can't run or jump but I can do most other moderate activities again without pain. I am very happy with my decision to have the surgery. So my best advice is to look at the big picture. How is your quality of life? How long have you been taking pain killers and anti inflammatories? Can you still do most normal activities? (Watching movies doesn't count!) For me I could barely walk, had trouble working the clutch in my car, couldn't play with my kids, passed up all opportunities to go and do stuff, and couldn't have sex any more before I made the decision to go ahead and have the surgery. Have you exhausted all attempts at physical therapy, Vax D, excercise, glucosamine, meds? Take some time to fully research everything as there are many different ways of dealing with this problem and even some newer breakthrough procedures. If you decide to have surgery get it done and over with. Last but not least, get yourself off of the pain meds as soon as possible. Use them if you have to but if you have taken them as long as I had you are risking bad liver damage. Back pain is no fun. No one seems to really understand what it is like unless they have gone through it themselves. That reminds me, there is a really good forum for this type of thing out there. I threw out the link a long time ago but it was called neuro forum or something like that. It was an awesome resource for information and support. After reading some of the issues and problems that some of these people had, it made my problems seem pretty small in comparison! I wish you the best of luck in getting well soon. -Wes
     
  20. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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