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axiaLiF surgery in england

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
hello i am patricia, new to all this forum stuff! no time usually as i work for NHS here in england. i am asking for specific questions about outcomes following axiaLiF and wallace ligament.
these procedures are fairly new in england to the masses anyway.
i was a nurse and got first back injury 20 yrs ago, after 3 week traction yes it was still around in those days) i made a full recovery after L5/S1 herniation. Over the years i have had flare ups some worse than others, but recently the gap between was getting shorter and flare ups more painful, but i did everything, the exercises, etc and got better never really taking a day off although i can work at home.
however on celebrating being in the final for a top health service award in UK, i toook my team to London for the final dinner and results show. thats when it all went wrong and i fell down a tiny step in high heels whilst going to the toilets, i wasnt drunk, but must have done another disk at L4/L5. it all went down hill from there and i went through hell with pain finally conceeding that i couldnt work anymore after 2 months of very bad pain.

look i know i work in NHS and i can get access to what i want when ever but you do still have to need it and pass the entry criteria. MY MRI scan showed the extent of damamge to spine- the first one ever. still i thought it would pass and i would be back at work within weeks.

after a vist to spine surgeon in local hospital he offered surgery as my only hope now and he would do some new procedures . i didnt dissagree with the surgical options, but wanted to check out if there was a better surgeon who had some published outcomes. It was after the second visit to accident & emergency in 999 ambulance following severe uncontrollable pain that i realised that my friend and colleagues at the local hospital cared so much about me that the choice of going elsewhere was not an issue, after all i was a commissioner of health services in my area and they certainly wouldnt let anything bad happen to me, how would they ever face me over the negotiating table again!

i went through 3 months of hell with pain( i wont go into details as its so boring now, but suffice to say 4 visits to surgeon, 2 visits to A&E,( ER) 2 999 ambulance rides,2 epidurals & facet joint injections, almost daily conversations with local general practitioner( family dr for you lot in USA) and 2 x use of 24hr doctor service and carrier bags full of every drug that i had been offered.

29th april - 6hr surgery for axiaLiF and Wallace ligament and bone grafting. thats 2 procedures done after each other.
a few problems in operating theatre, again too boring to go into now, but those guys must have been sweating ( i am an ex operating theatre manager so know the stress when things dont go quite to plan.

anyway woke up with no pain and that has pretty much continued for last 3 weeks. i get a few niggles if i sit too long, or walk too much, but just take a couple of minor analgesia tablets per day.

has a miracle happened?
what can i expect for the future?
will it be this good for ever?

these procedures are new in UK and there is no published UK data at all.
what do you all think, , what experiences do you have, i want to try and put some patient experiences together ( not just clinical)

i have read and i know that spine surgery is not always very successful, which is why we dont do much of it in UK and why new stuff is not funded and also i want it kept in centres of excellence where the experts, teach and learn .
i would be greatful for some information, papers that you might point me to and any personal experiences and if there are any UK patients there perhaps we can look at forum like this in UK.

many many thanks to anyone reading this.


  • hi pat and welcome to SH.
    my name is paula and im from ireland,i travelled to yorshire for my surgery almost 18mths ago because off the back log of patients here in n.ireland the high priorty were sent across the water.
    im very intrested in your post and i shall follow it closely.
    i hope you do get some useful information and i will be following your post.
    good luck.

    LOVE P
  • hi im shaun im english also im having a fusion and cage put in. in like 8 weeks ish time a derby royal infumery i was just wondering were u had yours done. sorrry i carnt help u in your quest but ay least im english lol
  • Hello Pat,
    I'm up in Scotland and had the single level axialif with facet screws done 11 Feb 2009. I am sorry, but I don't fully understand about wallace ligament etc, but I am very pleased that you seem to be getting some resolution to your pain, and wish you lots of luck with your recovery in the months ahead. It sounds like you have had a really tough time!
    There is little enough feedback on axialif anywhere in the world as far as I can see, but I think that it will grow as the procedure becomes more common. On the other hand it may simply fade off the radar screen if success rates proves to be marginal. It is already quite clear that it shouldn't be seen as a quick fix for anyone suffering from back pain, and it is only appropriate to patients with very specific spine problems.
    I have to go now, but I will try to get a better undertanding of what you have had done to you before I post any further comments. You can see some of my posts on this forum searching for axialif feedback, and there really isn't very much! Best wishes,
  • look i know i work in NHS and i can get access to what i want when ever but you do still have to need it and pass the entry criteria.

    As an American, this statement bothers me. So, others are put on waiting lists and you have priority?

    I'm just looking for information, not meaning to castigate you and I am sorry for all you've been through and I sincerely hope you get relief. These back issues suck!
  • hi all who responded.
    just been to a physio appt , they have been in touch with US spine surgeons and also cant get much info about the procedure, or even how to treat after surgery.
    the hospital i had done at is stockport NHS Foundation Trust. the spinal team are excellent there but they are NOT the regional centre that is at Salford NHS Foundation Trust. strange!!! you might think.

    to the US lady nancy - there is always a waiting list in England , i waited from 2and half months for surgery from 1st decision to operate. what i meant was i know my way round the NHS , pnone numbers, people etc. i work on the commissioning side that is i buy healthcare on behalf of my local population.
    look forward to keeping in touch.
  • Sounds like you are making a good recovery.
    I have not been so lucky.

    My spine failed to stabilise following 1st operation and then I had 2nd TLIF a year later. Sadly had major complications (which wre missed) and suffering badly today.
    I was fortunate enough to see a top UK surgeon for second opinion which confirmed what I already knew.
    I was lucky to be walking, unlucky to have had complications and needed to play the trade off waiting game to see what salvage may come prior to future surgery.

    I am in my 30's.
    Like you I have enjoyed a career in NHS but feel this latest twist of fete is sheer ARGHHH!!! because I am now a helpless patient and there isn't a specialist nurse who can co-ordinate my care...or a person who pulls it all togetherand it seems no-one dare make a decision without checking it past surgeon, who is great but not very communicative.

    Next, follow up care is very poor in UK. I would like to start a pain service...one that doesn't do the pills but empowers the sufferer to find the services (whatever that may be for that person) all co-ordinated in one place. One stop Pain Place!

    I found most ppl are just ignorant of my problems. They assume they do not ask and they do not listen.

    PM i you want more detail about my experience.

    Well done on your own recovery. I wish you well.
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