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More Surgery

Brian McCarthyBBrian McCarthy Posts: 58
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I’ve now had two back operations recently, on strong medication and still in a lot of pain. April 2008 it was a multi-level hybrid, L3/L4,L4/L5 ADR and L5/S1 fusion. Then April last year had revision fusion at L5/S1 – this time with bolts and a rod plus SIJ fusion, and have been in pain ever since. In Feb/March this year I was admitted for pain management and SIJ de-nervation which has not helped relieve the pain at all.
I met with the surgeon today and I really don't know what to do. My SIJ fusion has definitely not worked and the de-nervation gave me no relief at all. The first option we discussed was bolting each joint from the side but going through each of the glutes - a massive operation and one that would restrict movement and take a long while to get over. The other way was to do a revision fusion and this time fix plates over the joints. This is slightly less invasive, going through the same incision as I had last year. I'm told there would be a 50/50 chance of it working. The surgeon is going to investigate options further with an ortho surgeon more experienced and to find out if there are newer and less invasive ways of getting to where the bolts have to go. He will also give some more thought about the revision/plate option and promised to get back end of next week. The other option is to do nothing and to go back on the list to go Input Pain Management, which for a few reasons, I am not keen on. Going there is admitting defeat that there is no way to stop the pain. I don't want to be treated for chronic pain - I just want to be rid of it.
I am not very keen to say the least on having any more surgery, and my family and friends are all saying not to have more surgery. It's easy for others to say this but they do not have to endure the constant pain, feeling drugged all the time and the feeling of uselessness along with remembering the life I had before all of this started.
I am really at a loss to know what to do for the best when there is a chance of having yet more surgery that doesn't rid me of the unrelenting pain.
Does anyone know of anybody that has had SIJ revision fusion that has been successful?
I desperately want my old life back but it looks increasingly like that is never going to happen.
Brian (London UK)


  • Hello to you,

    I am sorry that I can not offer any advice about a fusion or revision as I have not had either of those surgeries.

    I can relate to back pain and wanting to go back to a day when we were able to play and do what we want without all the pain and restrictions in our daily lives that we know of today.

    I am heading in for another surgery next week and I have friends tell me the same,why do it again if it didn't work the first time? But I don't want it to stay this way forever so we do what we have to do in the hopes that there is a chance of success.

    I hope others are able to comfort you with more knowledge of your certain procedure, but I just wanted to say hello and let you know that you are not alone and that I really hope and pray for you that your doctor will come up with a plan that will help you heal to a pain free future.

    Don't give up!!

  • Brian,

    People say I am nuts after having 5 surgeries that I need another surgery and more than likely going to do it. But from my point of view as you stated they are not living with the pain, you are. As far as pain management I am in it. At this point and time for myself another surgery is not going to take all the pain away, but hopefully make me more functional.

    I think the most important part is you have to have faith in your surgeon? Out of all the doctors I see, I have so much faith in my surgeon and his abilities that I am sticking with what he says. He originally put me in pain management and it worked for awhile. Then like the seasons things changed. I went back to him and trust his opinion. So listen to your body, your surgeon and of course do your research. Yes it bites doing more surgery, but be happy their is a chance they can at least lesson the pain. I know a hard pill to swallow, but hang in there. Keep us posted on what you decide.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    As long as I'm in pain, I'm like you, and I'll take any surgical or treatment option they give me. I may be headed for another cervical surgery and people say "why"? I'd love to give them just a few hours with nerve pain and spine pain. Then they'd understand :-)
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Brian - I really do not envy your situation. It seems they tried options to keep you as flexible as possible, but it's not working out. I've been fused L3-S1. It was a hellish surgery (two surgeries, actually) and it's been 18 months since it happened. I'm finally getting back the life I once had. I still have to be careful, but the pain is gone and I'm moving much better. I did physio twice a week at first and have continued with it for the past 18 months. I'm just now going to once every other week. It's a long haul, and a fusion is no fun, but at last I am pain free.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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