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Hip bone being used to fix past L4-S1 fusion.

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a L4-S1 fusion April 08'. At first, I assumed I was experiencing normal healing pain...and for a while I was fine. Every doctor's visit, the doctor said my back was fusing. All of a sudden, I couldn't put any weight on my right foot, or sit on my right butt cheek without pain. I go in, and they do a MRI. My doctor said it could be a problem with a screw, but he wasn't going to remove the hardware; because my fusion was so new. He prescribed steroids and pain meds. Now, it's about three months later, and I'm still in pain. My last doctor's visit, my doctor said that my bone hadn't fused properly. His reason was my smoking habit. So, I was sent off to cat scan to access the fusion. Tomorrow, I'm going back in to get my results. If the fusion isn't right, he's going to use my hip bone to try to fuse everything together. What the hell did he use the first time? This time, he offered cadaver bone, and I was like no way!!!!! He said that my own bone would have less likely chances of rejection. So, any one out there have this done before? He said I'll be in a little more pain than last time, but he's never had this surgery...so, he has no clue the amount of pain you're in when you wake up.
Ya'll let me know. Tomorrow's the day to schedule the surgery...


  • I did not have hip bone donor graft, but from what I understand, the pendulum is swinging back to this being the best medium for fusion(as opposed to cadaver or ground up pieces of your vertebrae being removed anyway.)

    Have a friend who just had this done, her brace rubs against the site on her hip. She uses lots of ice packs. I would suggest trying on the brace and seeing if a piece of foam would fit to help keep the brace from rubbing against donor site. Anyone else have any experience here?

    What did he use the first time? Just curious if you had BMP since you describe what sounds like nerve pain that came on postop. If BMP was used with the bone he used, BMP can cause bone to grow on your spinal nerve roots and cause compression on nerve roots resulting in return/new postop nerve pain(mine came at 5 weeks.) Just curious, something to ask your doc what he did use. More informed you are, better choices you can make.

    No lecture here, but smoking does prematurely age your discs and some studies say it interferes with fusion. Just wondered if your doc told you about that before surgery or not, or if this is something he's said for the first time now that things aren't going as he planned.
  • Yes, he did tell me to stop smoking before...but as my grandmaw says, "a hard head pays with a sore @$$." In this case, it literately does. I'm not sure what he used before to fuse my back. I was 28 at the time of the surgery, so I had no idea what I was getting into. This time, I'm way, way more informed.

    I'm hearing on several sites that the pain from the hip bone removal is greater than the back surgery. God help me.

  • Don't believe everything you read on these forums!! That may be true in a few cases, but most people get through it just fine.

    Are you still smoking? If so, the chance of not fusing a second time is still a possibility.

    It is entirely possible that the surgeon will be able to harvest the bone from the iliac crest at the same time that he makes the incision for the fusion.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I have had 2 surgeries using hip bone. The pain I experienced from the hip was not too bad. I was not able to lie on my side that the graft came from for a few months. I was told the amount of bone taken was a little smaller then a deck of cards and it is that area only (not the whole hip) that was sore. I learned to baby my hip and within time the pain was gone. Good luck and I hope if you do have future surgery that it is a success.
  • Thank all of your for your comments. I'm off in about 45 minutes to head out to the orthopedist. I do plan to stop smoking...well, the plan is today. I think I'll have to slowly cut it out though.
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