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Failed fusion Lumbar sugery

tcr1130ttcr1130 Posts: 122
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Need anyones help, advice.

I had a myelogram recently by my request before i have my spinal stimulator surgery in two weeks... i requested it because i have had a lot of back pain and i wanted verification that my back pain was not a different problem from the "RSD" foot pain i was having. at the time my surgeon was adaiment that they were the same pain....
today i go for the results from the myelogram and i was told that i am fusing good at l4-5, but not at l3-4, he is giving me 6 weeks of going back on my back brace, bone stimulator and high levels of calcium and vitamin d... if in six weeks no progress shows, he wants to do some injection that they do for osteoarthritis or osteoperosis patients.... if that doesnt help he said " he would have to go back in"

what does that mean, if you dont fuse at a certain level... what do they go back in and do!?????? so weird i have said from the get go that my pain was based on movement and that the rsd pain i felt in my foot did not resemble what is going on in my back.... he had such a different attitude about this today, that this was almost a rush, that i have gone to long without fusing.....

just want someones opinion!!! and what do they do when they " go back in" i was afraid to ask what that meant, what do they do, put a new cage in and new screws.... i have no clue .... he said not to worry about that stage at this point, so i didnt ask,.... but i have to know because its possible i will be there..... my 2 level tlif was done in march. so its been 9 months..... how long does it take to fuse!??????

thanks for any help anyone can give
happy holidays!


  • He is probably going to refuse that area that did nottake,they wanted to do that to me but with problems the first time i said no way. i was only
    38 but that fusion kicked my butt. Rick in ncpa
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,082
    A second fusion attempt is possible. My first fusion was L5-S1 and I was young (barely 20). Well 6 years later we found I had not fused. So I had another fusion. If your surgery was 3/2009 you are not even 12 months out so his plan of brace, bone growth stimulator and meds sounds like a good way to start.

    If the area that is in question has not fused you can have movement in that joint and thus back/nerve pain can continue.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
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  • I'm not sure if it's the same for lumbar, but my surgeon told me before my surgery that if C6/7 didn't fuse that he'd have to go back in posteriorly and put in a cage to stabilize the area.

    Like I said, I'm not sure for lumbar, but according to my surgeon, this is what happens for my cervical non-fusion.

  • my stim surgery is getting myself emotionally ready for this - i have had such a lumbar fusion surgery that they all make me leary now... and knowing that any surgery can make the rsd worse doesnt help....... i guess it will be like that all my life now.....

    they have told me once a patient gets rsd they never get rid of it - they can manage it but it never goes away, and during any subsequent surgeries it can flare up and get worse.... not fun knowing that....

    but ready or not - here i go tomorrow - i have a good doctor with me... so that helps - and the people that take the time to write always helps me remember how many of us are going thru this, and much it helps to be able to share stuff with people on this site that know what im going thru or how i feel.... what a blessing to have that ability ..

    family and friends try to help, but they dont really know what it feels like, how bad it can get!!!!

    everyone have a good week...
    i will update later - hopefully with great news that it went great!!!!!

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