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1 yr post Fusion

MLT01MMLT01 Posts: 172
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi Everyone,

I'm a year out of my Fusion and things are not looking so good. I have been in pain since June around my 10 month mark..Recently it's is extreme at times!! It hard for me to say this but I am in more pain now than before my Fusion.

Dr took Xrays in late June and noticed shadowing around the screws along with fluid..Also had an MRI and that showed Moderate bilateral narrowing.He couldn't tell how much I am fusing by the Xray with is a little concerning to me because doesn't Xray show bone??? There was a little fuzzy areas along with black..

I spoke to him last week and he scheduled me for the CAT SCAN on the 10th. He mentioned about a non-union. He is thinking that because of how the Xray looked and the pain I'm in..

Has anyone gone through this? Is anyone having such pain when they are a year out?? Can't sit more than 10 min before needing to stand, driving is almost in possible,sleeping what is that, ect..


spondylolisthesis at L4-5; stenosis,
Lumbar surgeries 1999 L4-L5
Lumbar staph infection 1999-2000"
Meningitis x5 in 1999-2001
Brain shunt 2000"
Brain shunt removed 20001"
ALIF/PLIF fusion 8/5/09


  • Soon I will be having my hardware from L4/5 fusion removed. I have developed moderate to severe pain in my back for the last six months. In my research on pedicle screw problems, I have come across information about shadowing around the screws. Sometimes there is a problem with the hardware loosening. My NS has told me that when he goes in he may find that this is my problem. He has given me a 50/50 chance of pain improvement, good odds to a spiney I think. PLEASE, remember this info is only based on my personal experience. I wish you the best.


  • I wanted to answer your post to say how sorry I am to hear that your pain has come back and is getting worse!

    At least your doctor is listening to you and taking things seriously. If it turns out that you haven't fused, there are others on this site who will be able to share their stories. Hopefully there will be some with good stories where, even at a late stage, the spine did fuse together. There is someone on here, who has just started to wear a bone stimulator to try to help things to fuse. I wonder if that would be an option for you.

    I know, that for us fusion surgery patients, hearing that we are fused is what we long to hear.
    Not fusing is one of the things that worries us, and while we are waiting for the news, time drags.

    At my 3 month appointment, I was told that there was no sign of fusion yet. I was very disappointed, to say the least. My next x-ray to check for fusion will be at 12 months, unless I have problems, when I can see him earlier. I am hoping that I will get good news then.

    Wishing you well Maria, and hope that things will improve really soon. :-)
    Meanwhile, you are not alone.
    Keep visiting here and you will get good support from people in a similar situation to you.

  • Thank you for responding!Sounds like you know what I'm going through..I always say to my friends and family until you have a bad back you can't understand..

    I hope you find relief with the hardware removed!!

  • It looks like you had a 360 fusion done. Is that correct? Has the doctor been taking x-rays regularly since your fusion? Are you a smoker? I know lots of questions but answering them could help with people chimming in on what their experiences have been.

    I have always been told that shadows/darkness around screws indicate that they are loose. I had a failed fusion with a broken screew on 1 side and a loose screw on the other. A shadow was pointed out by 2 surgeons that did opinons for me. Also white in a x-ray is good and black/dark areas are not so good. I am NOT giving you advice just telling you what I've been told by surgeons. There can be a whole range of reasons why you may not have fused. Have you been taking an nsaid's such as ibprofen? That is known to inhibit bone growth. Did you have a cage installed and if so what type of material was put into the cage.

    Hope your doctor can help you out with your pain and also provide you with a care plan.

  • Hi Bkins,

    Yes, I had a 360 fusion!! I do hope not to need another..I do not smoke. I had the x ray in late June and the Dr wasn't to excited about the xray..There was some cloudiness not solid white at all.

    anxiously waiting for the 10th when I have the cat scan and the Dr appointment right after..Sounds like you had a failed fusion..When did you feel like things were not right? I can't raise my foot off the ground without pain,sitting in the car,lying down, rolling over side to side is even an issue! Did you have any of these symptoms???

  • Maria,

    Yes, I had a revision fusion done in Jan. of this year. It was a 8.5 hour surgery. I had a fusion done in early 2006 and thought I was good to go. It was just rods and screws and did not include a cage. I felt good for the first year or so and then slowly started to slip and be in more and more pain. I was not told to back off lifting, bending, and twisting once the surgeon released me with no more appointments. Big mistake, at least for me.

    The Jan. surgery was the 3rd one for the same level and has proven to be much harder to fight back from. I do feel much better then I did. I had an insurance issue that put off the revision surgery for 9 months until I could change insurance carriers.

    I didn't have all the symptoms that you have listed but did have ever increasing amounts of pain. I could sit and lay down without added misery. I would of been much better off if I could of had the surgery when the damage was discovered.

    Let us know how you make out and I hope you are wrong about maybe not having fused.

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