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Fusion L4-5 with rods and cage, what does this mean?

Started by nomorepain on 03/13/2010 12:20pm

Hi everyone

I am 53 years old and after years of fighting to get help with my lower back pain, nerve blocks, and all the pain management BS, I finally had surgery on Feb 3, 2010. I had a fusion of L-4/5 with rods and a cage. After 5 weeks I feel so much better! I am reducing oain medications and having very few issues. My Doctor told me that when he actuall got into my back in found the area full of fluid and that he could take his fingers and move the two vertabre back and forth. He seemed very happy with what he found and the correction he was able to do. I am very happy as well. But can someone tell me what he means by this. Does it mean I basicly had a broken back? If he could slide the bones of the vertabre that easily was I at risk of having it slip completley out of place or into 2 seperate parts? injurying my spinal cord? I just want to understand better what he found in surgery.

nomorepain aka Nancy

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1 Response


Hi. I had fusion surgery like yours on L4/L45 in December and January - 2 operations, one through my back and the second from the front.

In answer to your question about bones slipping out of place, my L5 vertebra had slipped and was pressing on my spinal chord, which meant my legs were numb and I was unable to walk. The diagnosis was "Significant degenerative slip with Kyphosis at L 4/5. This caused marked stenosis with pronounced gapping of the facet joints at L4/5."

This happened without warning over a period of 3 weeks, and I hadn't suffered from back problems before. My surgeon says it is due to wear and tear. I now have physiotherapy and will have to do the exercises daily for the rest of my life. I am so grateful that I had a gifted surgeon who was able to repair my spine, and that I can lead a normal life again. I do get some backache, but I hope this will go as the muscles get stronger.

Good luck with your recovery too!