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alcbaalcb Posts: 140
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I think I'm the only one of my kind on here with a fusion at L4-5, but they couldn't get a cage in at L5/S1.:) Went to the surgeon today and found out my 2 sacral screws are loose, and confirmed that there is no fusion at that level. He's now suspecting discogenic pain at L3-4 as well. So I get a back-front-back procedure. (basically a 360) I get 8 hrs on the table: back: opened by ortho and hardware removed-- flipped front:opened by general surgeon and spine opened wide and set straight (YAY!!!!) w/wedge shaped cage done by ortho and closed by general surgeon-- flipped to back: neurosurgeon cleans up nerves, hardware replaced in new position and closed by ortho. Whew! :SS Would wonder if I'll end up with hardware at L3-4 too. Trying really hard to find a loop hole to get insurance to pay for a tummy tuck. I GOTTA GET SOMETHING FUN OUT OF THIS!! :D

Looking at April/May (that's best for my schedule and will take all surgeons a while to converge on OR the same day) Anyone have one of these? If so....lay it on me! Ortho says hospital stay and recovery should be about the same as my PLIF???? HERE WE GO AGAIN!!! :S


  • I am not entirely sure what the plan for me is , but there is talk of putting cages in via the back and screws in , front and back , after my non-fusion of L4 to S1, I am awaiting more news from the surgical team who are dragging their heels somewhat. I know it is going to be a long op and complicated as they have to remove all the loose screws from the last op too .

    I see you are also a nurse, so much in common , maybe we will be recovering together on here, I really do hope so, I have been waiting far too long! I hope we both get a date soon and can start living our lives again .
    Best Wishes Viking :)))
  • i didn't have the same surgery you're having, but i did have a 360 right off the bat. i think it would have been a little bit less painful and the recovery a little bit faster had i only had either the front or the back done... but when you have both done at the same time, there is really no comfortable position to sit in or lay in, or do anything in. it kind of sucks. to be honest, my anterior incision is the one that i have problems with still. my back incision, skin, muscles, etc... all totally fine. my stomach, however, the muscles didn't heal entirely. when i had my csection with my son, my stomach healed up totally fine. not with my fusion. anything above l5-s1 they have to do a vertical incision... and i think that has a lot to do with it. anyway, i still have pain in that area, the muscles are all screwy and i still have pain in my muscles, as well. unfortunately they can't move through them like they do with back muscles... they have to cut them. stomach muscles are pretty much the main stabilization we have to hold ourselves upright. it will definitely be different than your plif, but i think if you got through it that time, you should be alright time time around. it's definitely going to be a longer recovery, more discomfort and pain... BUT a MUCH higher rate of a success. and that will make it all worth it.

    good luck with your surgery!
  • We're closing in on the 1 year anniversary for Chris' surgery and will be returing to NC for a check up and to determine next steps, if any. Keep me posted on your surgery dates as our visit may coincide. Terri
  • hey there alcb-
    same as me!! 12/08 had L5/S1 done PLIF, doc couldnt use cage because of the discovered occulta and lack of bone room to use it- 6 months later, felt all the same annoying pains i had pre-op. MRI showed nothing according to surgeon except non-fusion, so we wait until the 1 year anniversary to decide what to do.
    Discograme done 12/08 (YUCK!) discovered source of pain beside the still moving segment that didnt fuse, was a torn apart L4/L5 disc. So let fuse again shall we??

    1/09 almost 3 weeks ago- doc did 360. General surgeon opens me up- spine guy does the cleaning up and put cage that screws into the vertebra at L4/5 b/c he cant use a plate at that level due to the aorta being right there
    - and he uses cage at L5/S1 and plate- all with BMP (Even though I have heard the good and bad of it) b/c my own bone didnt work and he said noway would cadaver work for me. Then they flip me over and he goes from the back to remove rods and add the longer ones- pops the head off the one screw which is now in my saccrum forever- (but not in the way of anything) adds a couple more screws and zippity doo da- 5 hours later i am done.

    I love when they say the recovery wont be as bad--- REALLY? have YOU had this done??? surgeons crack me up....
    being cut front and back makes getting comfy once you get home difficult.

    I have suffered from severe leg cramps for the last week- US and CT show no problems... just lucky i guess. happy to report they are diminishing however.

    Here is hoping you do well with your upcoming event- you will do great... i feel better than i did 2 weeks ago, so there is hope!

    so, do not feel alone- we are birds of a feather- which is somehow reassuring isn't it?
    Let me know how it goes for you- best of luck

  • They should have been able to move them aside - its one of the advantages of anterior approach. But the healing, yeesh. Laughing, coughing, sneezing, I know I'm only 12 days out but things still feel disheveled!
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