Lower Spine Disease and Surgery

Patient

Q: I recently had a mri done and the results are at L3-4 there is disc dehyoration with diffuse disc bulge and facet joint degenerative changes along with some ligamenturn flavum hypertrophy indenting the thecal sac and causing narrowing of the neural foramen and contacting the exiting nerve root also at the L4-5 level there is a anterolisthesis along with diffuse disc bulge indenting the thecal sac and contacting the traversing bilateral L5 nerve root there is marked narrowing of the bilateral neural foramina with moderate to severe exiting nerve root impingement also there is a grade 1 anterolistesis of l4 over l5 noted with bilateral pars defect can you turn this into english for me and does it require surgury i have bad back pain not much in the legs does this sound like i need surgury My surgeron is recommending i have my l3,l4, l5 fused what does this mean aND how long of a recovery process i am a male 47 6ft 247 lbs

Doctor

A:   In a nutshell your MRI results show that you have very significant spine disease. There is severe narrowing where the nerves exit the spinal column. This “pinches” the nerve causing pain.  The surgery being suggested uses metal rods and screws to stabilize your spine in the lower back. This procedure relieves the pressure on the nerve and thus relieves your pain. Your mobility after surgery will not be significantly affected. Full recovery may take about 3 months although that varies from patient to patient.

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