For years, I have heard horror stories about failed spinal fusions and how some patients were never able to walk again after the procedure, so I was very hesitant to agree to any type of spinal surgery. However, I had cervical fusion, performed by Dr. Jeffrey Carlson several years ago, which was a total success and with no complications or symptoms since that time.
After spinal x-rays and a subsequent MRI confirmed significant narrowing of the lower spinal canal which was causing significant pain and weakness, Dr. Carlson recommended L3-5 lumbar fusion. He and his office staff fully explained the procedure as well as what to expect in the postoperative recovery period as well as possible complications. His staff, especially Trish, his scheduler, provided very clear written instructions and expectations for how long recovery might take. She made all the arrangements in advance for post-op visits by home health care and initial physical therapy and provided the necessary back brace and walker, even before the surgery, so it would be available as soon as I left the surgical center. They did not “sugar coat” the postop pain but assured me that it would be manageable (which it was, with minimal need for more than Tylenol after the first few days).
If anyone had told me that I would be walking a mile or more each day and able to drive after two weeks, I would not have believed them. I hope anyone who is contemplating this type of surgery will not hesitate to make an appointment with Dr. Carlson, as his excellent skills have put me on the road to recovery months before I thought it was possible.
Name withheld at Patient request