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20 years old, 10 months post-fusion, possible revision surgery?

BenkaDreiBBenkaDrei Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm 20 years old, I was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis on the L5-S1 segment when I was 14, continued with physical therapy since, and had no problems. Last summer, 2008, I was having continued pain, and saw 2 different spinal surgeons, and my spondylo had degenerated and was slipped about 75%, causing some nerve damage and general pain. Surgery was recommended especially because of the nerve issues and the degenerative nature. I had surgery in December, and I went back to my college in late January with pain killers and in a back brace. I did physical therapy, and I was doing really well through 5 months post op. Now it's around 10 months, and I'm having a lot of pain, localized in the spinal area and generally around my lower back. I saw my surgeon two months ago, and in the x-rays the fusion wasn't setting as it was supposed to, one side was more fused than the other, so he wanted to see me again 3 months later and he wanted me to try PT again, I did for 2 months, and it did nothing to improve my condition. I was getting fed up with the pain, after all, I am a healthy 20 year old college kid who doesn't want to deal with chronic back pain, so I saw my surgeon again, and he wants to wait for the 12 month mark to do a CT scan, and leave the 2 months for possible continued fusion. He talked about a possible pseudarthrosis, as did my PT, and I might need a revision surgery.
Does anyone have any advice for me in keeping my head up in all of this, because it is very discouraging, because for the next two months I have to do pain management including getting an electro-stim TENS pack, taking pain meds, which I HATE, decreasing my already significantly decreased activity level, and wearing my brace again. I thought I was getting better, my life could start up again, when I'm supposed to be in the best time of my life.
Anything would be great!


  • I am so sorry to hear of all you are going through. I can ONLY image how you feel and your level of frustration. I am 47 and was 41 when I got injured and I too felt that I was WAY to young to be living like this.

    I wish I could tell you how to make everything all better - but sadly I can't. :(

    You do have to keep doing as your Drs. recommend in order to have some hope of getting this corrected to an acceptable level for you.

    As big of hassle as this all seems that your Dr. is telling you to do - try to look at it like this.

    These 2 months will pass no matter what you do or don't do. Hopefully by following the instructions at the end of these 2 months you will have some more answers/options.

    I encourage you to "hang out" here and try to get as much support as you can :)

    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • It's sad that you're having so much pain right now being a student. When I was in College it was enough just to find the rent money and food! Thank goodness for kraft dinner and grants. I can't imagine having physical problems to deal with also. I found music "When the going gets tough the tough get going" a real incentive for me to keep moving. I hope you're Dr. can give you an extended relief pain med to help you through this so you'll be able to concentrate on your studies. The TENs unit sounds like a great idea. I also use deep heat relief a platinum infrared heating pad but get your Doctor to okay that for you first though. I'm also starting heated pool therapy with physiotherapy and may get a disabled membership to that pool if it helps. Wishing you healing thoughts and hope you can find some relief to continue studying. Wishing you healing thoughts. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Have you had a myelogram ct to determine if there is a impinged nerve? I am 18 months out from a PLF and have not fused. Found out last week I have a nerve impinged @ L5 with bone spur. I had pain starting @ 5months and has continue to present. Looking at a total redo fusion and even larger laminectomy with interbody fusion. Mentally I am not ready to face this surgery again. So suggest he look alittle farther into your pain. Yeah this really sucks!
  • Yeah, I didn't get any scans yet, my surgeon wants to wait for two months before he does any real scans. He wants to give my spine the next 8 weeks to heal if it can, so we're trying to create an environment in which it could heal. So I'm decreasing activity, using my handicapped pass to get around campus, and wearing my brace. So pretty much, we'll see how it goes. He does want me to get a CT scan before I come see him in December, so that says to me he definitely thinks something's not right. And he did mention the possibility of getting a revision surgery if something is wrong.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I had my L5-S1 fusion (with no hardware) at age 20 in 1987. I recovered well and didn't have problems for years but later needed further surgery (in 1993). The first fusion hadn't taken too well so the one in '93 was L4-S1 and included hardware.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
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