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xlif surgery fusion did not fuse

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
In February 2009 I had an xlif, my l2 and l3 were going to be fused together. I have a bar and 2 screws and in 3 months where the disc was should have fused together, however, this did not happen. My doctor said that the screws are loose and that although it was trying to fuse together it has not been able to. I am going for surgery in May so that he can lock it up with screws and possibly a piece that goes where the disc was and with any luck this should allow it to fuse together. I am in excruciating pain and I will do anything to make it stop. Has anyone else had a fusion that did not fuse and what was done about it and how are you now?


  • Hi jbd543,
    After several surgeries it seem to be that the cage which is placed is not completely fused and causing micro-unstability. The plan of my neurosurgery (second opinion) is to test this during an other surgery and if it is not stable, add extra bone-tissue. This will be done mid May. Since my pain (deep bone pain at L4) is severe although all the meds, I can not live with this anymore so I have the feeling that I am with my back against the wall. Other negative points are that they used cadaver bone from the bone-bank and I used a lot of nsaid's (Ibuprofen, etc) which is negative for good bone growth. What kind of pain do you experience? My pain in deep "bone" pain out of my back at level L4 with some nerve pain to my leg. But the back pain is more severe.

    Regards, Renos.

    45 years male, married, 3 sons, living in Europe.
    Jun.2003, Chronical pain back, botton, leg, foot right side
    Nov.2005, ADR L4L5 with no result and extra pain left side
    Febr.2006, Posterial fusion L5S1, Right side pain resolved but left pain worse.
    Aug.2006, Anterial fusion L4L4S1, no result but worse.
    Febr.2007, removal ADR posterial and placement of cage L4L5
    2007, rehab for 18 weeks

  • Hi,

    I had more surgery on May 18th to hopefully correct the problem. I had 2 strikes against me when I started, I am overweight due to not being able to get around well and I am a smoker, but what had done me in is that I did not stay put, I loaded the dishwasher, I did the laundry etc. These things were major causes of the fusion not fusing. This time rather than going in from the left side as was during the first surgery my doctor went in through my back orthrscopically, I know I spelt this wrong, sorry. He added more screws and I believe a small part to take up some of the space where the discs were. I was well medicated at the time so when I go for my post op I will be able to tell you more. The excruciating pain which ran across my back like a constant labor pain and the pain which ran on my right side through and down my left side has gone away. I know this for sure since before when i would cough my entire side and this one particular spot near my appendix would pull and have a sharp shooting pain if I was to cough. I am not even a week post op so I am uncertain of what is surgical pain and what might be disc pain. the pain now is at the surgical site in my lower spine and the bruising has a throbbing all its own. I have pain generating in my waist, hips and traveling down the front of my legs, there is also a burning sensation that comes along with it. This is what I am experiancing so far. The good news is the pain that I was desperate to rid myself of is gone, the bad news is yet to be determined since I am so soon post op. I guess time, mri, and cat scan will soon determine where I stand...lol comfortably or uncomfortably. I have every confidence in Dr. Huntington so I will follow through with whatever he suggests as I progress along. I would like it if you would keep me aprised of your situation and your pain path too if you would not mind. I have also found I am now borderline diabetic but I hope through my one and only allowed exercise of short walks and a more nutritious diet will bring this under control. please keep in touch, maybe we will find a line of commonality that we can work with or at the very least know we are not alone in our quest for better health and less pain. Take care.
  • Hi, I can totally relate to you, I have been suffering from "failed back syndrome" I guess that's what they call it now. I had a anterior lumbar fusion for a collapsed disc L-4/L-5 (recent found out it was fused to S1)my pain is excruciating too! They did shots, ablations,riztomies,at the pain clinic not to mention years of pain killers. Recently I found out the bone graft did not take and the screws did not fused properly. Now, I had two opinions from ortho docs, and my pain guy that a spinal stimulator is the next step, I guess the last step is to go back in and do surgery.I have a bit of different circumstances, I had to take a plane flight cross country 2 weeks after surgery, my mom was on life support. I don't think this helped the healing process at all, but that is my story. I also have psoratic arthritis, DDD, and this month I'm going in for Anterior cervical discectomy, another collapsed disc with arthritis bone spurs and spinal stenosis. It''s tough, I take it one day at a time literally! I need to see pain dr. my meds just aren't strong enough. Does anyone know what else to take for severe chronic pain other than vicodin, norco, oxycodone the side effects are too much on the last two. And I just think there has to be alternative. I already tried NSAID, no good killed my stomach. Good luck to you all, I'd appreciate any advice as well.
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