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Can Your Doctor Tell....................

Mindymork62MMindymork62 Posts: 207
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
from a simple XRAY the cause of having bad pain when you are 8 weeks post-op from a double fusion in the Lower Lumbar, OR will an MRI or CT Scan show the problem if there is one, allot clearer?


  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    The x-ray is the first step. The doctor is looking for any unusual findings. Depending on the pain the doctor may put off CT/MRI until you are farther along in the recovery process. If you have hardware you don't want to do an MRI this early unless totally necessary. Hardware is metal and MRI is Magnetic Resonance Imaging. You don't want the forces of MRI having an affect on hardware.

    I had my L3-S1 fusion in February 2010 and in March wanted to discuss my cervical spine problems. My doctor would not allow it until he knew my hardware was more incorporated into the bone due to the metal vs. MRI. I was finally cleared to have my cervical MRI in August.

    I had significant pain through most of April before I began to feel decent relief.

    Are you also seeing a pain management doctor and are you on a good combination of Long Acting and break through medications?
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • I never even thought about the metal in my back and having an MRI. Some of the pain is coming from a T 12 compression fracture that happened in Nov. 2009. I had the procedure called Kyphoplasty. The discogram I had in May for the lower lumbar just happened to show some areas of the T12 that may need a revision. I'm taking Neurontin and 10 mg Lortab for the pain. It hurts the most when I've been on my feet for any length of time, and walking.
  • The purpose of the X-rays at that stage is only to make sure the hardware is where its supposed to be, a screw or cage hasn't slipped, etc. Most surgeons don't want to CT until 6 months post-op. Most hardware these days are MRI-compatible, but they do cause a reflective artifact that can limit its use.
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