BLOG – L4-5 Spinal Fusion Surgery

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    HI Fritz I had a 7 – level fusion in Jan this yr and I have similar problem with the sciatic nerve. I had an MRI scan last week and I have been told It is caused by my disc below my fusion. I am going to have a nerve block + another in my right hip on friday as I cannot find anyway of lying down in comfort. I felt great for the 1st 3 months then my physio had me walking and swimming far to soon and now I am in a lot of pain again. I have had 3 separate hip replacements to my right hip.I am 67 yrs old now and my problems started about 12 yrs ago. I could write a book on my history. I am sorry to hear you have had all the problems after your fusion. I have private health cover for which I am so grateful for as my back surgery alone has cost in the region of £100,000. I don’t smoke or drink so I pay for my private health that way.


    Yesterday, I finally got my chronic pain team appointment. After I had become pain free!

    The consultant was very nice as I told her my story from last November through to today. She did say that somebody along the way had not properly treated me for the symptoms that were clearly on the upright MRI report and that she would be writing to them to highlight the issue.

    She also stated that I was clearly in pain and that it was physical in nature, else I would not have been off all painkillers so quickly after each episode.

    She acknowledged that I could clearly articulate the pain I was in at the relevant times and that effective pain control had not been correctly prescribed each time.

    She is writing to my GP to advise that I am now morphine tolerant, but do not require any pain medication at this time. However, she is recommending that I am competent to recognise the symptoms of lumbar generated radiculated pain and that, should I report such symptoms to her in future (hopefully never) I am to be prescribed MST and Oramorph and titration protocols immediately introduced. An urgent referral to either orthopaedic or chronic pain clinic is also to be immediately arranged.

    I feel vindicated for all that hell I went through before and after Christmas, and happy that the discord between me and my GP over the prescription of apprpriate pain relief will not reoccur.



    What a wonderful outcome.


    Today, I went for my 3-month check-up with the surgeon who did the fusion.

    I was quite emotional sitting in the waiting area because the last time I was there I was in so much pain I was in tears. I was hobbling and I could not imagine that I would ever be better.

    At first, they put me on the list to see the surgeon who had dealt with my L5-S1 wrench a few weeks ago and had given me a caudal epidural which had successfully killed the pain. He was all smiles and so pleased for me now that I was pain free. He told me I was going to see the original surgeon as he really wanted him to see the positive results.

    So, shortly after, I went into see the main man, Mr. D. Here in front of me was the only person who had listened to me, had taken on board the pain of the patient in front of him, had actually read the important radiology notes from that upright MRI scan and had realised the pain I was in and had the confidence to fix me.

    I walked into his office, head held high, smiling and with a tear in my eye I thanked him with words I found so difficult to articulate. We talked about about the lessons learned for both me and his colleagues and he said he’d see me again in three months to x-Ray and check the fusion process. If all is still well, I’ll be discharged then.
    When we finished I thanked him and his colleagues for fixing me.

    He responded by saying “No Mr Tysoe, the credit is yours for your perseverance. You never gave up.”

    I think this is where I shall end this ‘Blog’ as that comment really summed it all up.

    If you have pain, you know it’s not in your head, never ever accept a doctors comment that they ‘can’t see what the problem is.’ Be persistent and polite, take as much time in the consultation rooms as you like. If the pain gets bad, go to A&E and ask for help. But, importantly, never, ever, ever, give up on yourself. If you need support, go to places like this site and chat to similar sufferers. If you need second opinions, ask for them.

    As for the decision to undergo fusion surgery. Absolutely the right thing for me.
    I did my research on the procedure, and the surgeon I wanted to do it. I weighed up the risks versus the benefits and I made my decision. It may not work for you, but it certainly has for me.

    Thank you all for your advice and support over the last 18 months, especially to you Jan Sadler. You all gave me strength and hope at some time or other and I am so grateful.

    That is the end of this blog. I’ll look in on you all from time to time. If anyone wants to email me personally it’s

    I’m finally fixed.

    Thank God.

    Steve Tysoe
    May 2015

    Jan Sadler

    Well done, Steve, and congratulations for your perseverance. Your blog has been so well written. We’ve been with you through all the ups and downs of your journey. Farewell – and be kind to your new back!
    Jan at Painsupport


    Have a good rest of your life, Steve.


    Thanks Fritz I have tried all d of the nerve pain tablets you have mentioned but all of them had a similar effect. I have had another day in hospital since my mail and had a caudal injection and a nerve root block at L5/S1. for my sciatic pain. Apart from that I am not to bad.


    Hi Steve I am so glad the caudal injection has helped your pain too. I also only had a 7-level fusion due to scoliosis of my lumber spine and my sine had completely crumbled. I am 67yr old and i thank god every day for my fantastic surgeon. I hope you enjoy the rest of your life without any more pain xxx


    Steve – this is absolutely bloomin marvellous – I’m so happy and delighted for you!! In the meantime don’t overdo things!!! take care xx


    Just read through your story Steve and its great to hear you now have your life back. I have been struggling the last 2 yrs trying to get someone to understand there was something wrong with me. To cut a long story short and only after my GP referred me to a NeuroSurgeon from another hospital was i given a standing XRay that showed that L4 was slipping over L5.

    The Surgeon has offered and i have accepted Spinal Fusion and decompression surgery at L$ and L5, and i am booked in for the 19th of January, Op taking place the following morning. i have tried all the conservative measures having spinal injections in 2014 (last 3 wks but still couldn’t walk or stand for more than 8-10 mins) and a further 6 injections Sept 2015 that again gave slight relief for only a fortnight this time) other treatments were Physio,and tens… nothing stopped the pain when standing, 2 MRi’s failed to show the instability.

    Glad to have read your blog, and hope all is going well still and your enjoying long walks again, and a normal life.


    Your story has given me a good insight of what to expect


    Hi Clive,

    Glad to have been of some help.

    I’m not pain free. I still have bad lower back pain which is manageable. The main thing is that the ‘rope of fire’ burning in my legs and hips is gone and I can get around and do stuff around the house. Much much better than my previous outlook.

    One thing I didn’t realise before is how much my weight was exacerbating the problem. I have now had a gastric band fitted to get rid of it and the difference I’m feeling is great already.

    Good luck with the op.

    Feel free to email me if you have any worries or questions:



    Hi Steve

    Cheers’s for the reply, I know what your on about with the pain around the hips, my spinal issues have likely been down to a RTA I had back in the 80,s which ended up leaving my left leg shorter than the right. I found out some twenty years later they should have supplied me with an insert in the sole of my shoe on the left to level up my hips and lower spine.

    To top it all I am also still undergoing treatment for the left hip and Knee which are both effected by Osteoarthritis again likely due to the incident years ago ( Motorcycle accident)

    It was just good to read your story, even the up’s and down’s you had , and if nothing more has given me a better insight into what to expect. Having had external fixation and bone graft after the bike accident I know it won’t be a walk in the park, but just to be able to walk more than 10 mins will be fantastic, and hopefully bring back a bit more normality to daily living.

    All the best



    Following very bad Sciatica, which, at its worst stopped me from walking, I had a L4 / L5 decompression and fusion on the 15th Jan 2016. Maybe I’m lucky, but I thought I should share the positive side. After the 7.5 hour operation, I was walking the next day, I had no pain relief at all, only paracetamol for a couple of days. I has discharged from hospital after 4 days and back at work (from home) after another 6 days. I was driving after 3 weeks and back working in the office. It’s now 4 weeks post op and the Sciatica has completely gone and I’m walking 3 to 4 miles per day. I only have mild “healing” pain which is decreasing every day.


    Hi all,
    I have made a short documentary about a 14 year old girl who has undertaken major spinal surgery and explains the emotional rollercoaster she had to go through during the operation and her recovery. I hope this video can inspire and help other people who are going through a similar situation.


    Jan Sadler

    Thank you, Luca for posting this video. The girl has a wise head for someone so young.
    Jan at PainSupport

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