Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

HELP! 2 Yrs Post op L3-S1 fusion now problems L2 stenosis and spurs

martyjommartyjo Posts: 57
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi, It will be 2 years in January since I had my L3-S1 fusion. I had thought that I'd be doing quite well by now but still have to take daily pain medication although some days are better than others.

Out of the blue, I started to have sciatica like pain going down my right leg which is the leg I had sciatica in prior to surgery although the surgery was for horrific back pain.

I saw my Ortho and he says the L2-3 has bone spurs and Spondylosis and gave me a steroid pack for a week to see if it would calm down. No good on the steroid pack. My right leg still has the pain and my foot is tingling.

He has suggested a epidural injection to L2. Since I had more than 4 epidurals prior to having surgery, I don't hold much hope that this will be a magic shot and will probably have it done just to see.

Has anyone out there had this happen to them after a multi-level fusion? I was told that this sometimes happens but I thought way down the line.. Not 2 years down the line. If the injection does not work my option is to fuse that level too. Also, he's suggested hardware removal. What if any thoughts does anyone have about that. I don't really want to go through all that pain again.

I take 4 vicodin a day and 2 skelaxin a day. On bad days I may have to take 5 vicodin. I'm not sure if this is excessive or whether this is not bad. My Ortho has been reducing my Vicodin although now he understands that I've got a problem.

Any help from anyone would be great.


  • I think you are referring to "adjacent disc disease" which often happens after fusion. Regarding the timing, usually when we have a number of discs with problems, other discs are not exactly pristine either. You may have had slight problems with L2-3 but it was not deemed "bad enough" to operate.

    I know when I had a fusion at L4-5, both neurosurgeons I consulted with said they would fuse three levels for sure, and possibly five. I was stunned as five orthopedic spinal surgeons had each said he would fuse the one level. I couldn't understand what seemed like a huge difference. It was just a judgement call. The neuros wanted to do everything that MIGHT cause me a problem down the line, the the ortho I went with wanted to do the least he could, but that he thought would solve my problem and take away the pain. But, my point is, my other discs above L4 all had some degree of bulging.

    You might as well try the steroid injections...I never had a bit of reaction to one for four years. This past nine months, I switched PM docs and I have now had many injections and nerve blocks and have had a reaction to each and every one. It is worth giving it a try, especially if you haven't had any since surgery. Once they clean out all the gunk during surgery, you may find that the injection has a better chance of working now.

    Have you been doing more or doing new activities since the new pain started? Have you had to take pain meds all along or is this something new? I had my surgery the same time you did and I still am having some changes in the numbness in my toes...so I know it is possible for some healing to take place, even two years out.

    You might want to get another opinion from a doctor that specializes in revision surgeries, to see if he/she might have a different opinion from your surgeon.

    Good luck to you.

  • Hi, I'm 2 years post L3-S1 fusion. The most painful surgery I have ever had in my life. I still have back pain for which I take pain medication. Recently, I've been having sciatica running down my right leg and again pain in the low back which runs either down my groin area or down my hip to all the way down to my foot. I've been told to have an epidural injection but since I had at least 6 for the prior back problems prior to the eventual surgery, I don't hold much in the way of feeling any better after the injection since none of them worked. I'm all for just getting the one L2-3 fused too. Why not, get it done and over with. My Ortho did not say much was worse above L2.

    What are your thoughts? Is it just as painful as having multi level fusion?
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.