Degenerative Vertebrae

Patient : Hi, my boyfriend has some kind of degenerative lower back problem. Recently he started experiencing extremely intense pain and got an MRI. They told him all but about 20% of his vertebrae is gone and said they were on the fence between waiting and treating it with PT, or doing surgery to fuse the vertebrae. I want to know more about this on all levels -- what caused his vertebrae to deteriorate to this degree? How would this level of deterioration affect surgery and how exactly would the surgery fix it? Is it risky? What level of physical activity could he expect to regain after fusion (he is a pro rock climber and I don't expect he could keep this up, but it's important to him to be active)? Thanks so much if you are able to answer, Liz
Symptoms:  Degenerated vertebrae
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