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I have been told that I have Spondylolisthesis and that I need a spinal fusion surgery at L5 S1, I also have RA (Rheumatiod Arthritis) so there will be some cleanup of the joints and holes in the sacrum where the arthritis has filled in around the nerves that exit there. I was wondering if anyone has had this procedure done and what was the out come? The surgeon wants to do an ALIF fusion, which I understand to be from the front or stomach and a TLIF which is going through my back to place the plates, rods, and screws. I have had 4 children, three of which are much older, and one 3 years ago. The last two have been C-sections and I am worried that going through my abdomen in this surgery will only serve to weaken my core even more than it already is, which is what helps support the back, When I brought this to the attention of the surgeons' PA, (because that is who came to tell me I needed surgery, although my appiontment was with him, & he was in another room & answered questions for the PA when she left to confer, I found this to be insulting that he didn't come to meet with me in person, is it just me or would anyone else be a little offended?) Anyway, when I asked the PA if surgery had to be done through the abdomen, she said no, but that was his preference, he found it easier. Should I be looking for a different surgeon? One whom would A. Have the common courtesy to meet me face to face to tell me he wants to cut me open. & B. would take the harder route in an effort to make my recovery easier? Would like to hear from anyone who has had a spinal fusion in their lower back, I know I have the added complication of RA, but still would like to know how others have come through, what to expect from recovery. Either procedure TLIF or ALIF, would like to hear about. I am pretty anxious and hope to talk to someone who can shed some light on this. Thanks for your time..

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If I were you I would exhaust all other avenues before considering surgery, especially from a surgeon who can't take the time to sit down with you in person. I am a 46 year old male with Spondylolisthesis and I find that I can manage the pain via working my core and/or lower back with targeted exercise. T

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I was also considering surgery, but I think I will allow that technology to mature for another decade or so before even considering it. For now exercise is working for me. It is effective enough that I can still pay goalie in my roller hockey league. Not sure how severe your condition is, but if surgery really is the only answer, I would not rush into it. Meet with multiple surgeons until you know you have found the right one.

Hope everything works out for you!

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Thanks for taking the time to respond. I think you're right about getting another opinion, from a surgeon with better bedside manner. I wish there was another option, but it is progressed to the point of spinal cord and nerve root damage, and paralysis is a very real possibility if left untreated. The surgeon has called me twice and written me two letters since the appointment to make sure that he has covered his butt by putting it in writing that I was made aware of the imminent dangers...don't lift this or that, don't raise arms above my head blah blah blah....so it has to be done, just trying to find the right surgeon, and others that have had it done. Glad your doing well with yours though, able to stay active, color me jealous. thanks again.
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