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Disc above fusion herinated

janeellenjjaneellen Posts: 37
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a PLIF in 2007.Successful-as fusion's go, and was just getting my life back.Never got back to pre- fusion activity,but life was good and had finally achieved acceptance of the reality of post fusion life.The process of trying some of the activities I enjoyed before lumbar fusion,landed me back in the neurosurgeon's office.It seems surgical intervention will be required again.After six weeks of denial,I am curious if anyone else has had to have another surgery at the level above their fusion? When does one quit?I know that a fusion puts more pressure on the disc's above and below it. As my life goes,I have slowed down a great deal and was trying to be aware of my behaviors as to how they affected my back.So I get two years out of each disc-then back under the knife?I quess you just use up all your disc's-then quit?Not complaining-just curious about other people's experience.



  • Hi there. I had a cervical fusion at c4 to c6 with corpectomy at c5 in january 2006. January 2009 all my symptoms came back and i ended up having another surgery June 9th 2009. A c3/c4 laminectomy/foriumectomy
    above the fusion was a bone spur that developed and was pressing my my nerves. My ct scan also verifies the same thing is happening at the level below the fusion at c7. all this was done posterior in June and after 5 months I am just feeling better. My arms are still going numb so the c7 nerve is starting to be active now. I am so excited about the possibilities of having another laminectomy I could jump up and down and do a happy dance NOT!

    I am sorry about your situation and understand all your going through. There are many of us here that seem to never get a break from the endless spine surgeries that keep haunting us. It really bites but i keep going and say to myself others are worse off then I am. I try to stay busy and keep my mind off things. good luck :)
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • Jane so sorry to hear about your new problem. Its not uncommon ("adjacent disc disease") they say, they risk of herniation of the next level is about 20% in the first year after surgery, and then 3% per year thereafter. I always wonder about how much activity level has to do with who herniates the next level - or is it just that person's spine stability? I remember my surgeon making a comment when I asked him about adjacent disk disease that the risk is much lower for ALIF's than PLIF's "if its done right" and is considered to be neglible; my surgeon said if it happens it probably because the next disease has some DDD to begin with too anyway-who knows. Hang in there!
  • I too have adjacent segement disease and just had my second plif two weeks ago. The surgery is harder as well as the recovery but all in all I'm better than I was before surgery. 2006 ihad my l5-s1 fused now my l4-l5 is fused. I had a herniated disk and a bone spur above the fusion. My leg pain came back along with back pain . I tried conservative treatment and It didn't help. I was in the hospital longer with this surgery five days and needed a blood transfusion. I also needed a walker and it took longer to get off pain pump because I had Terrible spasms unlike last surgery. The pain was worse this post op but they gave me better drugs . I take oxycotin soma and norco and that controls my pain when I'm home. My first surgery I only needed the norco post op. I'm getting around fine now and taking less meds but it is easy for me to over do it because I have two little ones but I try to rest when needed. My doctor informs me I have a small herniated disk above my new fusion and I wonder if I will need to go back for thirds. Well I look at this as my second chance at taking better. care of my back. I'm 28 years old but I can't do the things that most 28 year olds can do. I already have
    implanted in my head to bend at the knees ask for help if something is heavy lose extra weight eat and sleep better and if it hurts don't do it . I'll try these ideas this time and see if it prolongs my next with my surgeon. I think I took my last surgery for granted and thought I could do anything . Best wishes and let us know if you follow through with a second surgery
  • I already know that my next level up is an 'if' not a 'when'. It's got no fluid and in the Discogram it was a pain generator already (just not a severe pain).

    My NS says that it could be anywhere from 1 to 10 years before my next level surgery. He can't even begin to say how long though.

    As a preventative measure he specifically used plastic spacers in my fusion to help me keep some flexibility. The post-op x-rays are showing that I have that little bit of extra flexibility that he was aiming for.
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