Help with my current state

Hello everyone, 

Long story short I am wondering if anyone has had a L5/S1 fusion that failed? I am 14 months post surgery and I am in the same amount of pain as I was before the surgery. Prior to this surgery I had 3 other discectomys to remove the bulging disc and broken off disc fragments/scar tissue to try to avoid having the fusion. None of it worked. I ended up with the surgery and now I am back in the same place where I started. 

Has anyone had this happen? If so what did the surgeon do to rectify it? 

Thanks for your help. 



  • I have what is lovingly referred to as "FAILED BACK SURGERY SYNDROME" or "FAILED LAMINECTOMY SYNDROME". Both are misnomers and it is not actually a syndrome. But it has been named as such. I had four level lumbar fusion in March 2016. The surgery did get rid of the sciatic pain I was having. However, it gave me this new pain, deep in my central lumbar spine. Horrible. I would gladly trade back for the sciatic pain. I AM fused however. I have a mylegram scheduled for tomorrow morning and I am actively looking for answers. This has been a real process. I pray the neurosurgeon sees something he can fix. Going thru life feeling like you are going to break in half is a bummer. It doesn't seem fair, but what in life is? I pray you find answers to your problem. Please keep us posted.


  • scottl, I had the exact same scenario with an L5/S1 fusion in 2017. They told me it's takes a long time for those nerves that have been crushed to regenerate and they may not. I can't say I didn't have some success because I couldn't walk before the surgery and I walk painfully with a cane now. I've been put in that "failed back surgery syndrome" which to me means they just don't have an answer. I've tried everything with no or very !limited success. They say now that I have nerve damage and in all honestly, my surgeon warned me I might have waited too to to have fusion. They wanted to do it in 2011 but I said no which of course I regret now. I'm of course not saying this is what is happening to you, this is my experience. 

    I'm wondering what your surgeon says?? Don't give up until you have some answers. And it really does take time for those nerves to heal. My surgeon himself had the surgery and it took two year to get back to where he was before surgery and he's in his early 50's. Don't give up and keep us posted. 


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  • Welcome scottl we’re glad you’re here!

    I have not had L5-S1 fusion, I am fused L3-5, in two surgeries, L5 was first, 3-4 was a year later, in my case the disc above the fusion could not handle the fusion below, I understand that is a pretty common thing. Have you had updated imaging since your surgery? Nobody wants to think about more surgery, but that what it took for me.

    While you’re waiting for a reply to your first post, please take a few moments to review the Code of Conduct and FAQ section, located under Forum Tools. There you will find important information about posting in the forum and helpful tips for new members.

    Here’s a great article about back pain on Spine-health that you might want to check out: Back Pain Overview: A Guide for Understanding Back Pain. The article outlines common lower back pain causessymptoms, and treatments. It’s a very comprehensive article. I hope you find this information helpful.

    Again, welcome to the Veritas Health Forum.


    Veritas Health Forum Moderator

  • Hello, 

    Thanks for your replies thus far. I managed to meet with my GP ahead of my surgeons appointment this upcoming Thursday. He reviewed the MRI and CT Bone/Metal Scan and said that there are two other bulging discs now and that he was sorry because I now have rheumatoid arthritis in my entire lower spinal column. On top of this there is a foreign mass that has shown up that has attached itself down between L5/L4 (I can't even believe I am typing this). To say that I am nervous is a massive understatement. The bulging discs alone is enough now RA and a mass? Pain meds aren't helping (perc's/gabipentin), I have a constant deep ache that goes through the lower back where i have had my four surgeries, my right hip is aching as well and sciatica up and down my right leg. This has been six long years of constant pain and struggles in my life. Luckily I have a tight nit support group that help keep my spirits up and my wife is beside me through all of this one breath at a time. I recently bought her an English bulldog puppy for our second wedding anniversary and she puts a constant smile on my face. From the bottom of my heart thank you all for taking some time out of your lives to read my post and comment. I feel a lot better knowing there are other pain buddies out there trying to get through this life. Much love!

  • Scott

    I am sorry you are dealing with all this, I also have RA, which was diagnosed about a year ago, it's a work in progress, but things are getting better with it, find yourself a good rheumatologist to work with.

    I hope your surgeon can take care of the rest of it for you, in the meantime, enjoy the puppy.

    Take care


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