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Does spinal fusion fail after two years?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a spinal fusion L5/S1 in 2/07, hardware removal on right side 3/07, hardware removal on left side 2/08. I had the fusion because of issues with back after having a schwannoma (benign tumor) at L5/S1 removed in 2003.

I was feeling 110% for some time after the fusion and hardware removal. Now over the past few months I have been experiencing the same pain in my lower back that I did before the fusion.

Has anyone ever had to repeat a fusion? I am scheduled to see the dr. next week. Just curious....


  • So you had a fusion and only kept the hardware on one side for one month? What held your back together while it tried to fuse? (Just wondering if you typed those dates right.) There's a friend on here whose doctor removed her hardware on one side (many months after the surgery) because he thought he saw fusion. Well, either he did or didn't but end result was her back pulled apart and she did not fuse. She just had another major surgery.

    I did have to repeat a fusion, but my first fusion did not have any hardware, just BMP. I'm just stumped on your hardware removal - the hardware hold the back together while your back (hopefully) fuses. The fusion can take many many months.

    Good luck with the doctor next week,

  • removal was one month after the spinal fusion. I was having pain in my leg and after MRI and catscan dr. found that my hardware on one side was migrating away from the bone. He took it out and didn't replace it because he told me the fusion was healing well and that the screws on the other side would suffice.
  • Well, I would definitely seek a second opinion, because from what I've been told, read and researched, the back needed to be held together on both sides to be able to fuse. To this day, with that info, I don't fully understand how they do fusions without hardware at all (which was what I had for my 2nd surgery) but that doc really screwed my back up and it took the 3rd surgery to fix it.

    So your screws were coming out of the bone? That couldn't have been good, either.

    Sorry you're going through this!!

  • Cheri. I really have a lot of faith in this dr. and I would hate to think he did something to jeopardize my recovery. I am hoping he'll do an MRI/Catscan next Fri. after he sees me. I would dread having to go through this again.
  • I had to have a second surgery 4 years later because my fusion was not solid, with a few other things going on in there too. My hardware is in there and in place. I had posterior surgery this time to put more screws and plates on the back and then fused. Maybe just maybe its not what you think.. My prayers are with you. Cyndi
  • it is nothing but I hate that I feel the same way I did before the initial surgery. How was the second surgery for you? Better, worse????
  • If you are having ongoing pain due to non-fusion, your back is not stable. After my 2nd surgery, I was literally missing one of my facet joints and have overrotation and shearing, so I was quite a severe case.

    Try not to worry until you get your new results. I totally understand the ongoing pain. I was worst case scenario with permanent nerve damage, but this pain was there before any surgery and just was not helped through any 3 of them, although my back did need stabilized.

    Take care,

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