What happens next if my revision surgery failed?



  • Good Morning....I also know how heavy the financial end of this issue can be. I too was out of work for 4.5 months last year to only just start to get on my feet when Im hit again with the decision to operate, and with a longer recovery already expected! It stinks ! Im nervous but I can not leave a quality of life in this condition. I am a single parent with a home of my own. I work in the medical field 12-15 hour shifts with no light duty. My fears are valid just as yours are but if I don't correct this issue I may never recover the damages.

    Money comes and goes but your health doesn't. You have a lot of thinking to do. Right now I am trying to prepare myself for the upcoming disability. There is no easy way. Trust me I tried to talk myself into believing I could survive like this...but I cant ! You have to take one day at a time and see where your willing to live with the outcome of your decision. There is no easy answer and a ton of factors go into this ! Please continue to share your thoughts !

  • Hi,
    It does take longer than 3 months to fuse. See "Food for Thought: Diet and Nutrition for a Healthy Back" on this blog for dietary/nutritional recommendations. If you can reduce inflammation by eating an alkaline diet, maybe you will have less pain. I have had 3 failed fusions but I decided not to give up. Just got home from hospital after 4th revision with new surgeon. I take curcumin, krill oil, Vitamins D, C, & A, and zinc for healing. Make sure fusion is verified with a CT scan (ask surgeon when he/she plans to verify the fusion). Don't let doc use a simple x-ray to claim you are fused; my first surgeon BS'd me 3 times this way. New surgeon used CT scan with contrast and could see that indeed I had never fused properly. 

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  • One more thing; if you do go for another surgery, make sure the surgeon is an expert in revisions. 
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 809
    If you truly have a failed fusion the only option is another surgery... but I don't think any doctor would call a failed fusion at only 5 months.  Do everything you can to make this one work... get a new bone growth stimulator... use a heating pad daily to help blood circulation... walk every day to help your muscle strength and blood flow. See a second doctor and get his opinion on your progress/images.  If.... after you and your doctors are sure of a failure your only option is another fusion.  In my case they opened me up at the same posterior incision as the first surgery and the scar tissue has never been an issue... in fact the exterior scar on my back looks better now than it did after the first surgery. 
  • I know how u feel I am a year post op no fusion 2 broken rods no fusion on opana, flexeril, Topamax and percoset, several times daily I have 2 strikes against me I smoke and the bone growth stimulator causes me more pain I  am now facing my next surgery and am terrified, only positive is my dr is the associate of one of the top 8 back surgeons in America, 'I would suggest getting a second or even 3rd opinion 
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  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 4,299
    edited 07/23/2019 - 1:08 PM
    hello my2grls!
    Welcome to Veritas Health Forumplease click on link for helpful information!
  • No_No_No_YesNNo_No_No_Yes Sacramento Ca.Posts: 24
    Wow, I am so sorry you are going through all this, but please hang on to hope. Have you got someone in your life to vent to? I'm not talking about your husband because I'd be willing to bet you are doing your best to show him what you think he wants to see. I know how dark things can seem with debilitating pain, never think for a minute that things will never change. Life changes on a dime sometimes and it could be just around the next corner.  It always scares me when I see someone who's pain has them putting suicide on the table.. it takes one to know one. 

    I know things like houses and cars are important, but none of that means anything if you aren't there. Stress is a huge factor in healing, you need to find a way to diffuse that.  The other thing I would suggest is try try and ween yourself off the pain meds. I know this is contradictory to what you are feeling right now but they are doing a better job of feeding your despondence than they are stopping your pain. Once your pain receptors get used to them - they are actually useless, that can happen pretty quickly depending on your system. Then you are really just feeding a monster.  They diminish your coping skills and leave you drained more often than not. Don't misunderstand, I'm not saying you aren't in pain - you are. I am just saying you may need another method to deal with it.

    I know you said your a therapist - well often it is said Dr's make the worst patients, sometimes you are too close to the problem to see a solution. Have you been to a pain clinic yet? There are a host of options out there that wont have you living like a zombie. No matter what, take heart. This too will pass.

  • Wow, I just came back to this. My premonition was right. Unfortunately. Screw broke, learned yesterday. I cannot believe I am living this hell again.
  • MagistraMarlaMMagistraMarla San Antonio, TexasPosts: 78
    Hi there,
    I've just now read this thread, and I recognize many of the things that you are facing.  My first surgery was in April, 2015, and like you, I didn't feel that it was right from the start.  I kept going with PT and water therapy, but finally learned at my one year check-up that the L3/L4 fusion had failed, with loose hardware and the L4/L5 fusion might be there, but weak.
    I was determined to stay far from the first surgeon and definitely to never go back to the same hospital. (Long story)
    I googled "Best surgeon for lumbar fusion revision in Texas" and three popped up, all in the Dallas area, which is six hours from where we live.  I chose the one with a great reputation for revision surgeries, spinal trauma surgeries and scoliosis surgeries.  My PT liked that because he said, "He's got to be good if he does scoliosis surgeries, since he's messing around with the spines of young kids".
    I'm scheduled for surgery on Oct. 25.  So far, dealing with this surgeon and the orthopedic specialty hospital that he works from have been totally different from my first experience.  He insisted on lots of testing, and found that much of my pain came from L5/S1, which my former surgeon had noted, but felt that addressing it wasn't necessary.  He's going to take care of all of it, from L3 to S1.  He's doing a posterior/anterior/posterior surgery, which it sounds like you've dealt with before. (BTW, I would love to hear your thoughts about that - my previous one was posterior only, and I'm a nervous wreck about all of the incisions).  He does plan to use my own bone from my hip, so I guess that's a third incision.
    I'll be fitted for a bone growth stimulator at my pre-op and I'll get it to take home at my post-op when he oks me for travel home.  He also has me injecting Forteo, since I have osteoporosis.  Have you had a bone density scan?  My surgeon was very insistent that I get one and even more insistent that I start the Forteo.
    I love my PT, and I'll be very glad when I can go back to him.  He uses ultrasound therapy, massage and TENS therapy along with stretching and exercise.  I also will be quite anxious to get back to the pool.  The only time that I'm not in pain is when I'm in the water.
    I hope that some of these ideas help you.  Keep coming back to this thread and let us know what you decide to do and how you are progressing.
  • Thank you so much for your reply. I am meeting with my current (maybe FORMER) surgeon tomorrow and will try and get some answers. I am not a happy camper right now. my daughter just cried her little heart out and is now sleeping with me in bed as she is terrified for me. She is only 6, this breaks my heart. How long did it take for you to schedule surgery with the new guy? I am assuming this is going to be an emergent situation once again and I worry about waiting too long - know what I mean?

    PS the tummy scar is so not bad :) Way better than my 3 huge ones along my back!
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