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anterior lumbar interbody fusion T12-L2, awoke with acute pain

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Chronic Pain
9 yrs ago. I had disabling back pain. I went to the Spine Institute in NY.(I was told this was the best place to be). I live in Delaware. I was told that ALIF at T12-L2 would fix me right up. Would be able to be driving wiyhin 2 wks. 9 yrs later I am still in severe pain. My fusion was done rhaums cages, titanium rods + 6-screws. They used my 10th rib for the graph. Pain meds give little releif. I mean a whole laundry list. 160mg oxycotin 3x daily, 15mg Oxyi IR 6x daily, oxyifast for break through pain, zanaflex, muscle relaxer 4x daily, Pamelor. Unable to take anti-inflamatories. Though they have tried same with most nerve drugs. I have had T10-S1 injections over the yrs both sides. Spinal cord stimulator, morphine pump. Nothing works.
My wife beleives that it is the hardware. Because the pain changes with movement. I am onlyup about 6 hrs a day. 1 hr or there then I need to go lay down to regroup. I am scheduled for Ketamin treatments in the beginning of the year. This is a trial. To have my hardware removed they say they have to go in the same way. My incision is on the left side to front. With pain going from my chest, down through the groin, left thigh and leg numb and throbbing all the way down to my foot. I can't wear pants without causing more pain. I wear lose cottin shorts all the time. The incision site is so painful I can't imagine them cutting it open. Will they make me worse. Has anyone had success with hardware removal? Has anyone come out with more pain? I was 36 when I had surgery and have been classified disabled since. On SS disability and try to do as much as I can but I really don't want to except this condition as my quality of life. Anybody else experience this?


  • I am sorry that you are experiencing so much pain. I usually only respond to questions pertaining to lumbar issues as that's where my experiences lay. I know that thoracic surgery is much more difficult.

    Since you mentioned that the pain changes with movement, I wondered if you had considered having a "postional" MRI. They can do them sitting, standing, and even in flexion and extension positions where you bend from one to the other. I wonder if that might show something?

    Some people have had reactions to their hardware and had it removed. I hope they see your post and respond.

    I hope you will be able to find a solution. Do not give up. There is someone out there who can help. You might want to have a consultation with the spine specialty hospital in NYC. They do a lot of reconstruction and rescue surgeries.

  • Thank you for your response. I will ask about the postional MRI. I have not had one of them.
  • Glennbo,

    I found this post while up late because I can't sleep from my pain. I am new to the forum thing, so excuse me if I mess up :). I had a bad mountain biking accident almost 2 years ago that left me with a shattered L1. I had emergency surgery (which I had to wait in the hospital for 4 days for) where they used the same hardware you described in your post (ti mesh basket, rods, screws & staples). They also cut me open down my spine and on my side (about 12" each) and used one of my second to last ribs for bone cement. I lost my insurance about 6months after surgery and have been trying to heal myself since then with gentle yoga and weight training. I have had no medical attention since then (can't afford it and having a b*tch of a time trying to get MediCal) and am really worried that something is drastically wrong with my hardware or somethign. It is almost impossible for me to sit up straight for too long and i can feel a knobby protrusion about where the fusion was. I feel out of alignment in all directions and weak in the spot of the injury. I also had nerve damage from the accident that I believe was intensified by the surgery. My left side (the side they cut me open on) is constantly shifting through phases of numbness, burning, and aching or piercing pain. My hip almost feels to me like it is dead or something. One of my feet is always cold.. I could go on and on. This is really hard for me because I am young (25) and used to be really athletic, and for a little while after surgery, I seemed to be recovering pretty well. But now it just gets worse and worse and no one seems to understand. Sorry I don't have answers for you, but I would love if you could share any knowledge you have or advice.

  • I had a 2 level PLIF last Dec and never have felt releif from the pain. My Ortho did a test where he injected lidocane on the screw heads under xray, and it took the pain almost all away. He has done this many times and had sucsess with hardware removal relieving pain if the test is positive. I just had mine out Sept 4, and yes, he took it out the same way as it was put in. So, you might want to check with your Dr to see if this is something he can try for you. My pain, might have decreased ever so slightly, but it is to early to tell yet. It is similar to the first surgery in the time it takes the muscles to heal. I did talk to someone named Bruce on here, that had his removed and feels great. Hope this helps. Love, Robin
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