Talked to the neurosurgeon today. He did some tests and we studied at the MRI together. My lower back is a mess. In addition to the bulging disks putting pressure on the sciatic nerve there are also degenerative issues. He said by the looks of things I’ll soon start having problems in the left leg as well. He indicated that without surgery, I’d most likely be in a wheel chair in a couple of years. This didn’t leave me any options as far as I was concerned.
The surgeon told me that we would make a 6-7” incision and fuse three vertebrae. The surgery is called an “L4 to S1 Plif.” He would remove the degenerated disks and replace then with plastic spacers to hold the vertebrae apart. Then he would use titanium screws and plastic rods to hold the vertebrae together. He would also do some bone grafting between and around the vertebrae. Eventually the three vertebrae will grow together as one long bone.
Needless to say, I was pretty apprehensive about such an invasive surgery. But this particular surgeon does an average of 150 such surgeries per year and he has a 90% success rate. We scheduled the surgery for April 22.