Has anyone experienced problems with their spinal fusion? I had a PLIF on L4/L5 on 6/4/08. The doctor said the xrays look good. I stated I still have pain in my lower back and leg. My PM doctor put me on a fentanayl patch and Norco for BT pain of which I am currently still on. I went back to work the beginning of August. My back pain began to decrease but the leg pain never went away and actually has gotten worse over the last month or so. I contined to work even though it was very hard for me to concentrate on my job due to the increasing pain. All this time the doctors state this is a normal part of the healing and nerve related pain takes the longest to go away. Two weeks ago I returned to my doctor and he noticed I am now limping and have decreased reflex/weakness in my left leg. I told him the pain had increased and is contant and that I found working very difficult due to the pain with movement. He told me I should not be working until he figures this out and wrote me an excuse to be off work and ordered a new MRI.
I had the MRI a week ago. At the follow up with my doctor on Monday he began by asking if any of my symptoms had changed and I told him no. He said something has happened with the fusion that he has never seen before.
According to the MRI..... "The left-sided interbody fusion cage is displaced posteriorly protruding 7-mm beyond the posterior vertebral body margin. It completely effaces the left lateral recess and compresses the left L5 nerve root against the left facet joint. There is enhancing granulation tissue along the left lateral recess at this level. Again,identified is prominent facet arthropathy, which is unchanged."
The long and short of this is the doctor apologized and said that I must have surgery again as the graft (cage) has moved out of the disk space and that is causing all the pain in my left leg. He said the biggest fear is permanent damage to the nerve and or infection. He said he may or may not remove the hardware and that he really can't say exactly what he will need to do until he sees what's going on in there. He said he would take very good care of me.
Needless to say....I am scared out of my mind now. I am in pain. This is turning out to be a nightmare and I am out of work again. This is going to be a sad holiday.
Sorry to be so wordy but I just want to see if anyone else has experienced this.