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NFT: Spinal stenosis

cjac : 6/5/2023 10:38 am
I've been dealing with this condition for years. I've always been able to manage it, but in the past year its more than just pain. Now one of my legs isn't functioning properly (i'll spare the details) I've had one cortisone shot, i'll be going for my second one soon. When i went for the consult for the shot, i was told for the first time "You're going to need surgery eventually" followed by that's the last shot i'm getting for the pain.

So i did some research and looked up the lumbar laminectomy surgery (I also know a retired surgeon that specialized in this) Its looks fairly horrifying, they remove a couple of bones from your spine and then fuse the spine with some nice rods and screws.

Anyone have ever have this surgery? Would love to hear a success story...
That sucks! Sorry to hear you're dealing with that!  
BLUATHRT : 6/5/2023 10:44 am : link
Hang in there  
double anchovies : 6/5/2023 11:15 am : link
Sorry you have to deal with this. I've had a few spine surgeries, but not the laminectomy you are considering. There may be some commonalities that I can pass on though.

The rods and screws are not painful - you won't know they are there. I had 1 set that was painful but the screw must have hit a nerve. That is rare and they fixed it with a relatively easy 2nd surgery.

They remove the part of the bones that are compressing the nerves, but typically not the entire vertibra. There would be the obvious "discomfort" after the surgery, but once it heals you should not be getting any pain from what they removed or the hardware.

The bones will heal and can grow out a little. So for me, after 6 months to a year I would get some bone growth that gave me a little compression again but it was mild compared to what it was. Not everyone has this happen, but that was my experience.

I had a friend who had this surgery and did really well - pretty much back to normal. I sure hope you have the same experience if you decide to go forward with it!
My fiancée had the surgery  
Beezer : 6/5/2023 11:26 am : link
about 2.5 years ago. Had the same fears but … the recovery was faster than anticipated and overall, no issues since. I should add that she’s a competitive power lifter and while she doesn’t compete in CrossFit, she’s active in it and some of her times/reps/weights would be competitive. I mention that because I feel like you want to remain in the gym after the surgery.
Thanks for that guys  
cjac : 6/5/2023 11:43 am : link
it sucks that i cant run/ride the bike/ and it even hurts when i do dumbell workouts standing up.

i can still golf but i'm a shell of what i used to be, thank goodness for handicaps (no pun intended)

I'm going to see how this shot goes and try to get in another year before getting this done

I have had this surgery, around 6 years ago  
D HOS : 6/5/2023 12:08 pm : link
I had a very bad herniated disc and the spine doctor said there was nothing for it but a laminectomy. I don't know if they are all the same procedure, but for me, I had part of the back of one vertebra removed (the 'lamina' I suppose) and all the bulging disc material was trimmed away, alleviating the stenosis. On an xray those vertebrae are now really close and the surgeon said eventually I'll get arthritis there, but no avoiding that.

While he did warn me that there are risks (he said 10% chance you will have other nerve issues up to and including paralysis - but I think he was exaggerating somewhat just to make sure I was all-in) it went perfectly well and aside from a scar on my back, I have had no further issues with it.

I was out of the hospital the next day and immediately my legs worked normally. However once the hospital meds wore off, the recovery was kind of harsh. At times it was quite painful and I think I recall that it took about 2 weeks before I really felt I was getting over it. After about a month I started feeling good and within a couple of months, all better.

I wore a summit hard back brace for about 3 weeks after surgery. PT lasted about a month, if I recall right.

With the risk being that your leg could eventually become permanently impaired, plus the risk of falls and just limitations on life, it is well worth doing if your doctor advises it.
I would look into a surgeon who does the minimally invasive surgery.  
KayvonOjulari515 : 6/5/2023 12:11 pm : link
I also have spinal steonosis in my lumbar spine. About five or six years ago, I had a nerve impingement at my L5 level. Instead of undergoing a traditional surgery, I underwent a minimally invasive laminectomy to clear the impingement. There are no screws or rods or deep incisions, and the recovery time is so much smaller and easier. It's a small incision where they simply removed the portion of the bone in my spine that was causing the impingement. It eliminated my nerve pain and a great amount of the lower back pain I was suffering from. I'd strongly suggest you get a second opinion from a surgeon who does minimnally invasive surgery.
I have it  
Dr. D : 6/5/2023 12:27 pm : link
have also had other back issues, including multiple herniated discs and a couple fractured vertebrae (different incidents). I've had 5 surgeries so far. First one was a discectomy about 40 yrs ago. A few yrs later, I fractured the vertebrae in a flying accident (I was flying in my car). I was a young guy at the time and regret getting bone fusion and herrington rods implanted following the accident (had the rods removed a few yrs after, bc they were affecting my uh, dancing..).

I was in another accident last fall (this time not my fault) and now have 7 herniated discs and I found out I have stenosis. I'm looking at a 6th back operation. A local orthopedic doctor recommended fusion for me and I said to myself that's prolly not happening and I'm prolly never going back to that doctor.

Long story, but I only trust one surgeon (Dr. Anthony Mork); he's the one who performed my last 2 procedures in '04 and '10. Before I found Dr. Mork (thank God), I discovered multiple doctors including at the supposedly renowned Mayo Clinic (of Jax) aren't nearly as smart as they think they are (over multiple months and visits they couldn't figure out what was wrong with me in '04 (I was in severe pain).

It took Dr. Mork about 30 seconds to figure it out (seriously) and he successfully operated on me the next day (also seriously, they have people travel from long distances, so they take care of everything over 2-3 days) and then he did further cleanup about 6 yrs later). Dr. Mork is a hero to me.

He specializes in minimally invasive surgery and really tries to steer people AWAY from fusion when possible (which I believe is fairly often. It seems a lot of doctors are quick to recommend unnecessary fusion). I highly recommend checking with him before you have fusion.

If you send him your MRIs, he can tell you whether he can help you or not. I just had a tele-health consultation with him about 2 weeks ago. He has an office in Naples FL and Irvine CA. As I said, people travel long distances for his services.

FYI, they don't take insurance directly. If you go with him (out of network), you should discuss with your insurance co. ahead of time. Dr. Mork's office will give you an invoice that you have to submit to your insurance co.

I don't know if there are a lot of other surgeons who specialize in minimally invasive surgery like him, but even if you don't have him perform the procedure, I think it would definitely be worth getting his opinion ($100 telehealth fee, I submitted to my insurance co, and they reimbursed $80).

Sorry it's so long (that's what I said). Good luck!
Please tell me  
cjac : 6/5/2023 1:41 pm : link
his wife's name is Mindy
RE: Please tell me  
Dr. D : 6/5/2023 2:51 pm : link
In comment 16128024 cjac said:
his wife's name is Mindy

ha ha. I know it's a funny name, but as I said, the man is a hero to me. I was in deep shit in '04. Was starting to wonder if I would ever be able to hold my then 1 yr old daughter or have a semi normal life (I couldn't stand or even sit up for more than about 1 minute without extreme pain. Had to take heavy duty opiates, which I hated).

Multiple doctors couldn't figure it out. Even if they had, I have no confidence they would've fixed it. Dr. Mork did. I thank God that I found him (it was very much worth traveling about 10 hours round trip, lying in the back of a minivan).

nanu nanu
spinal stenosis  
Hilary : 6/5/2023 5:15 pm : link
steroid injections work for a herniated disc but not for spinal stenosis. Loss of function of a leg is a serious problem. Every University Medical Center has excellent neurosurgeons.
SFGFNCGiantsFan : 6/5/2023 7:05 pm : link
No advice, but best of luck cjac!
After reading a few others,  
Beezer : 6/5/2023 7:12 pm : link
I'm reminded that gf had the hard back brace as well. I'd guess a few weeks. I recall her not loving it, but wasn't the worst thing by any stretch.
Don't mess around  
Chocco : 6/5/2023 9:39 pm : link
If it is affecting your leg function, you need to address it.
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