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Fusion surgery/new proceedure

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Lower Back Pain
After 40 years of sporatic lower back pain I now have had chronic lower (L2) that flared up about 6 months ago and is continual. This morning was my worst pain. I literally crawled back to bed on my hands and knees. Every morning I get up and have to hunch over due to the pain and strap an ice pack on my back which relieves the pain from a 10 to a manageable 5-7 in about an hour.
This makes a surgery decision difficult. Last week I saw a doctor who is performing a new "outer brace" fusion which is less invasive than the big screws gold standard fusion.
I am in my late 60's and was very active prior to this. Any suggestions or positive surgery result feedback would be appreciated.


  • I am not familiar with this "new" procedure, but it may go by a different name. Have you had a MRI recently to see what is going on? It is important to get more than one opinion before proceeding with surgery. Regardless of what the specialists tell you, no spine surgery is "easy." You want to feel comfortable that you are going to the best specialist for your case.

    You would want to know that this procedure has some track record and that your doctor has performed it many times.

    Good luck with your decision.

  • Thanks for the good thoughts. This new technique has been given to 6 patients with the longest post op being only 6 weeks. So you can see my hesitency. My MRI showed a "shot" L2 and extreme closure of spinal column there.
    The new proceedure is like a toolshed "C" clamp that is attached to the outer discs after cleaning out the bone buildup. I hate surgery and my last 2-3 for other things has not been what I expected so I was so happy to find this site.
  • I don't know how you feel about being a guinea pig, but I'm not big on it, especially if it comes to spine surgery! Perhaps this clamp is a brilliant new invention that will do the job....I guess I would want more information on its longevity before trying it out.

    It sounds like you have a classic case of stenosis. You can read about it here, if interested:


    Are you seeing a fellowship-trained spinal specialist for treatment? This would be either an orthopedic spinal surgeon or a neurosurgeon who was additional training in the spine and devotes his/her practice to issues of the back and neck.
  • Have you tried any conservative treatments at all? I would be very hesitant to be the 7th person ever to have any surgery done. You know what your pain levels are so you are really the only one that can decide if it is worth the unknown risks that may be associated with it. I have always been a firm believer in trying every conservative option that is available before ever opting for surgery. Surgery holds no guarantees and sometimes even makes pain worse. If you are seriously considering this surgery you may want to get another opinion or two. Good luck to you and please keep us posted.
  • Ah,,, I remeber when I was the 3rd person to have the " new surgery" Grade 5 spondylolythesis(sp) I wanted then to use the bone paste. I asked the doc how long does this "bone paste" hold. he said I don't know you are only #3 in 6 mos. But I was the one to beg for it. Always look at what is the worst that can happen, menningitis and death. Got the meningits but not the death. I have read of the cage shifting. I don't think the cage is so new, it was talked about back in 97 when my last fusion was done. Guess I needed the big nuts and bolts. I am glad I have my 3 suregeries, 1 to put the harware in with hip chips, 2 to take it out as it was wonky and 3 to put it back in with bone paste. Some where along the lines I broke a screw, must have been holding the horse. If I were in my 60's I would have it done sooner than later. I always keep in mind if all hell breaks loose I may end up in a wheelchair and ask them to make a clean cut and hope the pain is gone. I'm 48 and 10 years post fusion but having disc problems only recently( I think it was the 60 lb grain bag). I don't believe I would do anymore surgery unless to cut the cord and get some wheels. I am very active, able to vaccum, walk the dogs, can't carry the 40 lb dog food with out bulging a disc. I had been trimming my horses feet till 4 mos ago, I muck the stalls every other day. I did get 3 surgeons opinions when it was my turn to have surgery. I have to say though my inclination toward a wheelchair is fueled by hanging out with paralympians in basket ball, track , handcycle so I am not frightened by loosing it below the waiste. There is life with wheels. I still have daily pain controled by Tramadol, for back and fibromyalgia.

    Loss of function the longer you have it, like numbness and spasms the harder it is to repair.I'm an OT so I did all the PT/OT, rolfingPT, chiro, nothing held and I was in bed 23 hrs/day. Now it's only 10-12 but at least I'm active.

    Teresa in CO
  • Hi Teresa! can you explain what type of surgery you had? Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?! Are you familiar with the new Modular Stabilization Systems by Paradigm Spine? I'd love to talk with you.

  • hi, friends

    I am new. Also my english is limit but I have to write to do. Please accept me.

    3years ago I have accident slip-fall.
    Now,11 months ago, I had fusion spine surgery for L4-L5 L5-S1. The problem is still I have pains.

    Do you know that how long do I wait for full recovery
    from pain? my several pain gone but still I am home all day. give a advice for me...
  • Nick,

    We need a better name for it. There must be a proper medical name and description for it. Can you get the doctor to provide the real names. Also if possible a website that shows it and the procedure?

    There are a number of surgeries that you could consider outer back. Most of the hardware when you look at it. You see what looks like a bridge or c-clamp. Some look a series hinged clamps together. There are some that look like an X. Most all screw in and the head has a pivot. Much like a ball/socket joint.

    I'd be asking when it was FDA approved. How many has he done. how successful were they. How long have those patients been in recovery. Can you speak with one of them? The more you push back. If he can back up what he says he is less likely to flinch and not want to answer.

    I just AxiaLIF fusion which is considered relatively new. At least on this forum as few have heard of it. It has actually been used since 2004. But no in the US until 2006-07.

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