Spinal surgery bar to entry?

#1
Hi
I am looking at applying to become an officer. However, on the army website spinal surgery particularly fusion is flagged as a bar to entry. Having had this done as a result of a fall three years ago I'm wondering if someone with more experience or who is involved in the recruitment process to tell me whether this is an automatic no, or is it assessed on a case by case basis?

If it's important, I cracked my L4 and L6 and pretty badly broke my L5 vertebrae, and had the L6(?) and L5 fused.

Thanks for any help.
 
#2
from JSP 346
"In all cases, the first principles in determining whether a recruit with a
musculoskeletal condition is fit for military service comprise the following
aspects that can generally be determined by an appropriately trained medical
officer following the functional assessment examination procedure:
a. Asymptomatic.
b. No deformity that interferes with function or use of “off the shelf”
military equipment, i.e. any residual deformity should not prevent the
use of clothing (especially gloves and boots).
c. A full range of movement.
d. Satisfactory functional assessment.
e. Inquiry about physical activity comparable with military service
(see also Leaflet 1, paragraph 3.1.3.) This is especially important in
the assessment of recovery from previous injury or surgery but should
not be construed as a pre-selection physical fitness requirement."

and later it states
"3.12.30. Spinal fracture. Candidates with any history of spinal fracture
(including wedge fractures of the vertebral body) should be graded P8."

And

"3.12.31. Previous Spinal surgery. Candidates with a history of any spinal
surgery should be graded P8. However, candidates who have had a singlelevel
discectomy (e.g. for sequestered disc) may be acceptable following
specialist referral providing the candidate is more than 2 years postoperation,
and is asymptomatic when undertaking activity for a minimum of 3
months comparable with military service."

P8 = not suitable for any form of military service
 
#3
Hello,

Would just like some opinions... I have read different things in different places and I'm not entirely sure what to believe.
In November 2013 I had a double microdiscectomy. My two bottom discs were shaved back as they were pressing on my nerves. In may I will be able to go back to my normal training and get back into shape. My consultant who carried out my operation said after my recovery period I can go back to doing whatever I like and I wont be restricted in any way.

Am I bar to entry? Or do I still have a chance?

Thanks for any light on the situation!
 
#4
Hello Maddie, this is Old Rat

There are no guarantees in this business. However, if you've a Consultant surgeon's written opinion in support of your application, this may possibly do the business for you. You should ensure that your consultant is fully aware of the weights that you'll be required to carry and the related distances before he hazards his reputation. Feel free to pm me for further details.

Old Rat
Out
 
#7
Don’t tell anyone and if they find out later say sorry I must have been suffering from amnesia. Seems to work for Politicians and News Editors
 
#8
To both those posting with details of their surgery, Maddie and HungryHippo, I am afraid you would not pass the selection process medically as multiple level spinal injury or surgery is an absolute bar to entry. You will have to have a medical exam from a military surgeon who can assess you properly but speaking as one who does these assessments it is very unlikely you would be declared fit and I would probably reject both applicants based on the information posted here without calling them up for a medical unless the medical records / supporting info demonstrated levels of fitness and achievement of professional sportsmen.
 
#10
As stated above I would only consider someone with significant spinal surgery (fusion, disc surgery at more than 1 level, disc replacement. multiple vertebral fractures) if there was evidence that they were performing at the equivalent level of an Olympic athlete or professional sportsman (think rugby not darts). I have seen a semi professional footballer who had served previously and continued at P2 in the army after a single level spinal fracture who I considered fit to rejoin
 
#11
@DocSavage and everyone else with a working knowledge of the Capita system

My application to the Army has been refused due to a lumbar spinal fusion and I'm currently appealing. I believe I fit into the category you described, as I previously served in the Army and I played a semi-professional sport (an anaerobic sport not involving the firing of darts), as well my current exercise regime exceeds what I was doing before the surgery.

What information do I need to present in my appeal to reflect my level of fitness and ability to undergo training? I assume this will include consultant doctor's letters, current MRIs. Can you suggest anything else; and what items do the consultants need highlight in their letter?
 
#13
As I may be involved in any appeal it would not be smart to get into too much specific discussion here, however the only circumstances when an applicant might be considered fit is if they have had very limited surgery -ideally single level- and maintained high function. It is not just a question of whether you can physically run and carry the weight etc but what the long term effect of service life will be on the rest of your back. Fusion increases movement at the adjacent segments in the spine creating more stress there and making further problems more likely. As with all these cases it really comes down to specifics of the case and the physical examination / state of the rest of the spine.

Sorry I cannot be more directly helpful but you need to apply and if necessary appeal with as much detail and evidence as you can provide
 
#14
What are the chances of being able to enlist into the army with L5 pars defect repair, no fracture or anything like that just compression and released with no restrictions, I didn't even have therapy for it I was told to just swim. The surgery was in 2008. My recruiter said it wasn't a disqualifying factor and we sent in 2807- 2 he told me I would most likely just need to get an updated letter from family doctor for a release of no restrictions. So what are my odds?
 
#15
I've been appealing for a year now and would be grateful for some advice. I just had a letter from the CMO saying he won't uphold my appeal. Reasons are for a central disc protrusion in the neck at c5/c6 and a tic I had for several years which I no longer had. The surgery was September 2014 so last the 2 year mark. I have been training hard to get in for a long time and wondered If there was a way to be examined by military personnel so they can assess that way? Or is it worth waiting 6-12 months or just accept my fate!
 
#16
I wish I could help you I'm trying to get advice myself, maybe it's because of disc issue or being that it's your neck maybe. I don't want to tell you false info or give you false hope but keep trying till you get an official no for good, that's my intentions, good luck and keep me posted on your situation
 
#18
As stated above I would only consider someone with significant spinal surgery (fusion, disc surgery at more than 1 level, disc replacement. multiple vertebral fractures) if there was evidence that they were performing at the equivalent level of an Olympic athlete or professional sportsman (think rugby not darts). I have seen a semi professional footballer who had served previously and continued at P2 in the army after a single level spinal fracture who I considered fit to rejoin
Have you seen the M6 prosthetic disc used in ADR? Touted by several surgeons who implant it as allowing a return to previous sporting activities 6 months post-implant. I recently saw one UK surgeon using a return to rugby as his sporting example.

That aside in the US I have an acquaintance who was on SEAL team 6 and had a cervical ADR as the result of a bad heli crash - he was medically discharged. I have a good friend who was Marine Special Operations who has effectively two fusions (3 vertebrae) as the result of an IED - he was medically discharged. Both individuals walk, talk, lead perfectly normal lives, but were considered unfit for continued military service.
 
#19
Hi all,

I received RGMD outcome stating history of thoracic fracture and so unsuccessful. I had an accident four years ago, minor T12 vertebra injury. No surgery done. Stable fracture. Will heal on time, doc said. Normal after a couple of weeks and in excellent fitness now. My gp, upon seeing my nhs history, would've written spine fracture in my RGMD. I had actually a transverse and spinous fracture, meaning sudden pain in the back at the time of injury. In the JSP950 extract, it says "Spinal fracture. Candidates with ... but excluding resolved spinous and transverse process fractures ...". So it is a case of inadequate information provided with my RGMD. I have planned to go for a MRI scan and spine specialist report (I think affordable!!) to be submitted with my appeal. Will it be successful?

Any advice/input would be extremely helpful!! Thanks!!
 
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