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Loose screws AND pseudoarthosis at the interbody fusion cage
I haven’t posted with any real news in quite some time. There really just hasn’t been any news to post. As most of you know this journey is a long one, filled with doctor appointment after doctor appointment, test after test, scan after scan and procedure after procedure. Eventually we figure out that not everyone gets a diagnosis and for the spine patient or the chronic pain patient, even a diagnosis doesn’t guarantee a cure. Along the way someone gets up the nerve to tell us we may have to work on ACCEPTANCE. Then we must decide can we do that? Should we do that? Have we really tried everything? Is acceptance really our only option left? Bite your tongue.
After a lost count of MRI’s, scans, procedures, surgical opinions, and getting my hopes up for naught I recently had a Bone Scan with spect and Hawkeye done. I just got the results. I won’t bore you with all the details and I’m certainly not asking you to interpret but I will share a couple highlights.
Among other things the report showed findings for pseudoarthrosis at the L4 L5 interbody fusion cage and L4 and L5 pedicle screw loosening, most pronounced along the right L5 screw. (It only took almost 2 years to figure this out!) Sarcasm intended!
For a refresher, my fusion was a TLIF with instrumentation in Jan of 08. Despite my repeated complaints of pain, a year after the fusion I was told I was fully fused and I could resume all activities. I tried to do just that. It wasn’t until about 15 month after the fusion I hit a brick wall. My symptoms became impossible to ignore, increased to other levels, and have only gotten worse. I have MRI’s and a Myleogram that show new problems above and below the fusion as well.
Has anyone else had these findings after a fusion? Something Similar? What was your surgeon’s advice? Some thing tells me it’s not going to be as easy as just removing those loose screws. Considering the area around the cage is showing non fusion I'm wondering if a revision will be necessary. My dream of getting rid of this Hardware is not looking so good is it?
Evidently the back is fused it’s just the area around the interbody cage showing lack of fusion.
I have read plenty on here about removal of hardware but nothing really about loose screws AND pseudoarthosis at the interbody fusion cage.
Needless to say I am quite interested in hearing all the advice/personal experience I can. (With the full understanding that I must consult with my own physician.)
If and when I’m going to let them back in I want to get it all done right, once, and for the last time! I went into the fusion with blind faith. Not asking enough questions. I don’t want to make that same mistake twice so I’ll take all the thoughts on this anyone is willing to hand out!
Thanks in advance,