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More Surgery

Brian McCarthyBBrian McCarthy Posts: 58
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a hybrid Charite L3/L4, L4/L5 and ALIF L5/S1 fusion April 22nd last year and have had pain ever since. I've had more denervation, FJ injections, pain management and finally another discogram last week. Went for the follow up today and I now need more surgery. This time its L5/S1 Pedicle Scew Fusion, Sacroiliac Fusion and possibly partial removal of a sacrolised transverse process. At least this time it will be through the back and not my abdomen. But I'm still pretty scared. The last surgery took a long while to get over and as I still had pain all the while, it feels like I have never got over it. Has anyone had this type of operation and can tell me what the recovery was like and if it was successful please?
Mine is probably going to be wc 6th April.


  • I want to wish you luck and give you hope that the second operation will work. I also had to have 2 cervical spine operations and though it is no fun-we have to do what we have to do to get better. Good luck!
  • :))(

    Dear Brian, :H
    Have not had done what you are but I just wanted you to know I'm thinking of you and sending support. Remember, God only sends us what he knows we can handle. I've 3 cervical and need 1 more as it failed. I had lumbar Surg in Dec 08 and just found out I need that another to fuse more of my back. All these things we deal with really do make us stronger, and I always keep it in perspective, there are many people out there who have it muchworse than us. I am only 45,have not worked since Jan 06, but luckily got s.s. disability which helps. When you have pain, just try to think of all the great times you've had in your life,because many people can't even do that.
    Best of luck..
    If you need to vent you can reach me at my e mail address
    donnajeanmcwhite@yahoo.com :-C
  • Have you consulted with other spinal specialists prior to agreeing to this surgery? The main reason I ask is that a sacroiliac fusion is a fairly rare surgery. Many spinal specialists do not perform it at all.

    Unfortunately I think your recovery will not be much easier than from your first surgery. The fusion from the back is also a big surgery and the sacroiliac fusion is in another category altogether. I do not know which way your surgeon is planning to do it, but some doctors will not let the patient put ANY weight on the surgical site for something like three months. The patient has to use crutches or a wheel chair for any movement.

    Hopefully there is now an easier way to do it! I wish you the best.
  • Thanks Gwennie
    no not yet, I only just got the diagnosis on Friday.I do have faith and confidence in my surgeon - he has a very good reputation here in the UK and I'm sure he would not suggest this if not absolutely necessary. Besides, the prospect of another discogram with someone else is too much to think about! I'm intrigued by your comments about recovery and the sacro fusion. My surgeon has told me yes its a big surgery but no where as big as the last, and recovery will be about 3/4 weeks! Do you think that to be unrealistic? And what about the sacro fusion - is it really rare in the USA? I may have misunderstood but he said it was quite straightforward using synthetic bone material and maybe some kind of plastic brace/device that dissolves.
    Either way - I'm not looking forward to this at all but I just can't live my life the way it is now any longer.
    I'll keep you posted.
    Thanks and regards
  • Hello
    just been confirmed that I go in for this surgery on Tuesday 7th April. That's almost a year sine the last surgery, and I'm dreading it, but it has to be done.
    Thanks for all your interest and support. I'll keep posting and let you know the progress
  • Well I got home on Sunday after my surgery. All seems to have gone quite well except for running out of morphine one night and left writhing in absolute agony for nearly an hour. Then had a very bad reaction to Oromorph on top of getting an infection and going on IV strong antibiotics until last Friday.
    Still very sore, weak, fidgety, tense and fragile but all to be expected this soon after surgery I suppose.
    Just hope recovery is quicker and easier than the last operation when it was done through the abdomen.
    Hope all you other back sufferers are coping with the various stages of recovery and approaching surgeries.
    Thanks for being there
  • Sorry to hear of your troubles; there were alot of complications with the Charite disk (that's why it got recalled). Good luck and try to keep a chin up.
  • I had my 6 week follow up and very disappointed to hear that I am not yet fused. Now have to have another 5/6 weeks of doing nothing other than lying flat with occasional short walks. Last time I was fused after 6 weeks but apparently because the SIJ has such a wide and deep void at the back (can't be seen from front view x-ray) the bone material is very dense and therefore takes longer to "set". Makes sense but still very disappointing especially as I'm still in pain and still on heavy medication.
    Hope everyone else is recovering well and are pain free.
  • On what seems to be a set-back, but probably isn't. I think that's a pretty "large" area for fusion, and given there is more potential for subtle joint motion to inhibit fusion I wouldn't be too discouraged yet - give yourself some more time. Please do take heed to you doc's recommendations to take it easy. Sorry about your pain not easing up yet - many of us can relate.
  • I am still in a lot of pain despite 80mg Oxynorm and 100mg Amytryptoline daily. I've been referred to a pain management program and now been told I have "Failed Back Surgery Syndrome" - I am totally devastated. After going through two big operations within 12 months and now after 9 months I'm still in so much pain. I've been told I have to learn to live with it and that it's OK to stay on the medication. I am so depressed and disappointed about all of this.
    I've written again to the surgeon who told me last month he didn't know why I was in so much pain. Anyone else has FBSS and how do you cope?
    Brian UK?
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