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Symptoms of non-fusion and failing hardware ????

jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,372
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:48 AM in Recovering from Surgery

I was hoping to hear what symptoms people have had before they are told that they are not fused, or that their hardware is failing.

I am hoping that all is well, but last x-ray taken at 8 weeks post fusion didn't show any fusion at all. That was a long time ago, and hopefully things are now fusing well. :D

I am now at 8 months post fusion. I am having quite a lot of neurological symptoms in my feet and legs and occassional nerve type pain in my buttocks and lower back.

More worrying, over the last month or two, I have been having a slipping/clicking type of pain especially when I am lying on my side and turn over. I have also felt this when sitting in a chair and I cross my leg.

Pain wise, things are not too bad at all; much better than before surgery. I hope that is a good sign that all is well. :-) I trying to remain very optimistic.


  • Hi there,

    I am also recovering from fusion surgery (L4, L5 and S1) and in the last few weeks have also started to hear a clicking in my back when lying on my side, often happens just by inhaling, have you ever experienced this? Thing is, this is happening halfway up my back and not at site of surgery, so I am wondering if it's perhaps as a result of moving to do everyday tasks in a different way than we perhaps used to? Hope that's all it is and am sure you feel same. When is your next post op x-ray due? I hope you gut good news from it, maybe 8weeks was just too early for them to see any fusion happening? I had an x-ray at 6 weeks to check the hardwares all in place and am not due another until end of March now, but I was told that it can take this long for them to see any new bone growth at the site so hopefully you're now well on the way :)

  • Yes, I hope I am well under way in my fusion now. :-)

    I have had lots of clicking in other parts of my spine, which I think may be due to my facets catching, but this doesn't worry me.

    However, this 'slipping and clicking' feeling over my surgery site, does concern me a bit. :S By 8 months after fusion, I'm sure that things shouldn't be moving!

    I don't think I have had the clicking when I inhale that you describe.

    I saw my GP this afternoon, and while I was there I mentioned this slipping/clicking feeling.
    She has referred me for an x-ray. I am quite relieved to have them take a look and make sure all is ok. :-)

  • Howdy Jellyhall,

    Not sure if this is of help or not, as my issues are cervical vs. lumbar. Like you my first post op x-rays did not show fusion (where as my first fusion did show some at 6 weeks) even starting. I was told not to worry about it. Okay, fast forward around month 5. I started having voice issues (still have them), and a lot of my pre-surgical symptoms were coming back along with symptoms from my prior level! X-rays were done, and according to my NS, still no fusion, but all was good. Okay, then what is this? Me the medically uneducated one in the room - was pointing to an obvious crack in the C6 vertebra. His response, don't worry about it, that's nothing!

    Okay voice still failing, I go see an ENT. I don't show him the x-rays...at first. His findings? "My hardware was now moving, and irritating the vocal cords causing them to swell, and fubaring my voice. I then show him the x-rays, and right away HE sees' the crack! I've had nothing but problems since. I am now back to the neurologist mode. I went to my GP to get blood work done to rule issues out there. And now going to the neuro to get new x-rays and MRI's done to see what is going on now, and what the next step is. I've already been warned a revision is highly likely plus more 'stuff.'

    The main crux of all this Jelly? Your brain, and your body seems to know more than any doctor when something isn't right. I like to say to my hubby, and I'll share it with you. "If in doubt, check it out!" I so hope you find it is just more of your spine adjusting to its new environment from the surgery, but don't be afraid to check to be sure. *HUGZ* to ya!!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I don't have much to add here being so new to this recovery but just wanted to say that you are very much appreciated on this forum. You inspire, you cheer on and you lift spirits Jelly. I send you good fusion JUJU. I've read that fusion sometimes doesnt take place for 12 months. Glad your living more pain free these days. Thanks for the time you give of yourself and your contributions to this forum. That goes for you too Aviatrix!

  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    First I want to agree with what cgm said. You're a treasure. Brenda too.

    I'm glad you're going to get an x-ray. It'll help just knowing what's going on. I'll keep my fingers crossed for fusion!

  • Thanks, you guys are so sweet! *HUGZ* Jelly, gonna keep my fingers crossed that all ends up well for you. *HUGZ* :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.

  • You have made me smile :D

    I have had so much help from people on this site in the past, that I am just 'paying it forward' instead of paying it back.

    Believe me, I still get at least as much support from my visits here each day, as I give.

    It is just so helpful to be able to chat with people who 'get it'. Even our wonderful hubbies and family, just can't fully understand what we are going through unless they share our pain.

    "If in doubt, check it out" I love it Brenda!
    I am certainly not going to be disappointed if they tell me that everything is fine! #:S

    Thanks for all the lovely things you have said, spiney friends. You have really lifted MY spirits. :-) >:D< >:D< >:D<

  • I hear ya loud and clear!! Get support, give support, share support! Great people, great extended spiney family!!! *HUGZ* :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.

  • I went to the hospital today and had the x-rays done.

    Now I will have to wait for a couple of weeks to get the results. I am in the UK after all, so that means waiting. Still there was no charge, so I mustn't complain! :-)

  • Jelly,

    So I gather they don't let you have a copy of the CD before you leave? Wow... I will still keep my fingers crossed. And yes, no changes, I would keep that as a positive thing!! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I have read some account of very fast fusions here, yet my own OS laughed at me when I asked him after 3 months if I started fusing yet. he said it is way too early.
    He finally told that he can see new bone growth (fuzzy white stuff) around 4-5 months after surgery, and according to him it continues on at least until one (or even more) year after. So don't worry yet, Hope sooner or later you will hear the good news.
  • I hope the x-rays give some indication as to what's happening in your spine. It's frustrating having to wait for them, isn't it.

    Hang in there, and yes, you are very much appreciated here.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Hi Jelly

    firstly can I add to the comments of Brenda and cgm on how brilliant you are at providing help and support on this forum. You too Brenda :)

    Th Uk system is rubbish and it stinks that you have to wait two weeks for your results. A friend of mine went down to Worthing hospital and sat down and refused to move until he got a copy of his MRI. When they tried to move him he threatend to call the local newspaper!! He got his DVD.

    Anyway, just wanted to wish you the best. I think Benda has it right, our body's and minds know better than any surgeon/Dr if things are not quite right.

    BIG >:D<
  • I have had pops and sounds, not really worried me. But I didnt show any fusing until like 6 months. It is slow process. Also, be careful crossing your legs. I still cant do it, it puts a stress on my fusion. And that is 2 years ago. Good Luck and I hope you get the answers you are looking for soon.
  • No Brenda, we don't get a copy of our CD of the x-rays. If you have your x-ray done on the NHS, any NHS doctor can access them on the computer system, so there is no 'hard' copy. My GP will get a written report, which is what I have to wait 2 weeks to hear.

    Lotus, your friend insisting he got a copy of his MRI DVD made me smile. :D I asked for a copy of mine, back in October when I had a cervical MRI done. The man who did the scan said I just needed to ask at reception if it was ok, and he would copy one for me. I spoke to the receptionist who gave me a load of waffle about breach of data protection and the neurosurgeon needing to see it first and no, I had to wait. Well, I was too honest to just go and tell the man that yes, it was fine.
    Hence, I am having to wait until next March to get any feedback of what is going on in my neck. So close and yet so far!!!

    Even my physiotherapist can't access the MRI scans to view them, even though he can see that they are on the system. Because I am seeing him privately, he can't have access to them!! He is very frustrated too!

    I just tell myself that the fact that I am not getting terrible pain must be a good sign. :-)

    Thanks so much for all the encouraging comments.
    This is a great group of spiney friends and it is wonderful to feel a part of it. >:D< >:D< >:D< :*

  • Thanks for the response :-)

    I also get various pops and sounds in other parts of my spine including my neck, my hips, knees, wrists and shoulders. They don't worry me, but the 'slipping' I am feeling over my fusion site is rather concerning.

    Before my surgery, I used to get a slipping feeling there, which was my spondylolisthesis moving and wearing away the disc. That is why I had the fusion. I suppose that the movement that I am feeling could be coming from the level above, but I don't think that movement is a good thing.

    Interesting what you say about crossing your legs putting stress on your fusion. Were you told that, or is it just what you have noticed? I will try to not do it any more! :S

  • Jelly,

    Super bummer there !!! My next appointment with my Neurologist is March 4th. I'm gonna see if my GP will let me get the x-rays and MRI's done shortly before that...at least at a minimum the x-rays. I get the disks like 10 minutes after the scans are done, and the report within the week most times. Wow!

    Totally different than over there. I'm amazed that your MRI or x-ray could be up to a year old before a doctor sees you - soooo much can go on in between all that time! Whew! Wiping my forehead!

    Lotus; Thanks very much for your kind words. They are very much appreciated! *HUGZ*

    Jelly, how are you feeling today? Better I hope. Sitting her patiently supporting ya woman!! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.

  • I am feeling pretty good now thanks. I awoke with a pounding headache (from my neck I think) and took some painkillers which did the trick.

    I've been Christmas shopping and coped so much better than last year. My fusion has certainly helped a great deal with my sciatica in both legs and lower back pain.

    My physio is also amazed and very frustrated at how long I am having to wait for the cervical MRI results. He said that things could get much worse in that time.

    I have now resigned myself to waiting, and tell myself that they obviously haven't seen anything too bad on the scan or they would call me in right away. If I have any 'red flag' symptoms, I'll call them and let them know. In the meantime I am trying hard to forget about it and just get on with my life. (Not easy when you keep getting pain and symptoms!)

    As for the lumbar x-ray, I hope to get the results for that in 2 or 3 weeks. I'll focus on Christmas while I wait. :D

    Thanks for all the support. It really makes a big difference to know that we are not alone. :-) >:D<

  • Howdy Ms. Jelly,

    So glad you're feeling better! *HUGZ* This time of the year it's easy to overdue and not even know it at the time! I am dreading wrapping gifts! Last year I ended up in a ball crying. My neck and back are worse this year..dreading..dreading..dreading... Lol!!!

    Is private insurance expensive over there? I don't understand your health care system beyond what I see on here. I do see where some of you all go via the private route, hence my insurance cost question. I know when my C6/7 went, if I had to wait as you all do over there, I would have lost the majority of the function in my right arm! Scary to even think about!!

    It sounds like you are keeping a positive attitude. That is the best medicine we can do woman! Try and stay upbeat, and hopefully you will have answers soon. Big *HUGZ* to ya! And nope, you're not alone. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.

  • I know what you mean about wrapping presents!!
    It is so hard to find a position that feels comfortable for our neck and back. I always used to do it sitting on the floor, but that doesn't work now. Sitting at a table is probably the best, but I need to keep standing up, and after a while my neck tells me it is not happy.

    I have just got a Back Joy (brought back from the States by my son's girlfriend when she went home for Thanksgiving). Wow, it feels great. I am now so much more comfortable when I am sitting. I carry it around the house with me for wherever I am sitting. I now wish I had another one for at work.

    Private insurance is expensive over here. Most people who have it, are covered under their workplace insurance. I think that as we have the NHS, people consider it as unneccesary. By the time you have health problems and think it would be worth it, you have pre-existing health issues that they wouldn't want to cover.

    The NHS is great for emergencies, but chronic conditions that are not life threatening just have to wait, and wait and wait .......

    The waiting times have got much worse over the last decade or so. There had been rules (18 week rule) that were introduced to cut the waiting times. Since our coalition government and all the cuts they are making, the 18 week rule is not being enforced (although it is still supposed to be aimed for). My waiting time for my appointment with the neurosurgeon will be 31 weeks!!!

    If in the meantime, my symptoms became 'red flag' then they would see me almost straight away. That is what I focus on; if they are making me wait, then things can't be too bad. I am trying very hard to forget about it and just get on with my life! :S That is not easy with daily symptoms and pains! I am not doing very well at it, but I am trying hard. :D

    We are in good company my friend. What would we do without each other for support?

    I hope that you have a comfortable Sunday >:D< >:D< >:D<
  • Ms. Jelly,

    Support of each other is the cornerstone of this stuff! I find that getting and giving support helps lower pain levels. I guess too partly knowing others have similar lets me realize I am not that odd! (G) It also helps to see other peoples spine issues, as then I don't freak as much if similar starts to happen. I am watching a few on here with L2/3 issues to see how they fair. I'm hoping to hold off lumbar surgery for as long as I can.

    I've decided to try a new way to wrap this year Jelly. I have my adjustable bed, I'm gonna raise both ends, sit in the middle and wrap using the foot side as it raises flat! What do you think of that idea? Then I can lay back, take a break and go to the next one! Gonna try it!

    Wow, I am glad we don't have that type of health system here. I love the concept of it, but the wait times, wow! The longest (so far) I've had to wait to see my neurologist is this time...8.5 weeks. He is very good, and as such, the waiting list. He has been "spot on" with my medical issues to date. Some over here think our 'Health Care' plan that passed recently is like what you all have. In fact it basically "makes" people get insurance! I read the original bill, but not the one that passed - it's a bloody book now! (G)

    I'm with you Jelly. That they haven't red flagged you, hopefully you're doing good. If things change, you can hit the ER though right? Hopefully you won't have to go there - I hate the ER!! I'm here for ya whenever you need a shoulder woman! *HUGZ* :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.

  • Brenda, your adjustable bed sounds just what is needed to tackle the gift wrapping. Being able to lie back and take a break when you need to, sounds great too.

    Don't assume just because I have similar spine problems means that you aren't odd!! My family say I am odd!! Lol!! I always say it is better to be a bit odd rather than boring! :))(

    Thanks for your support and care Brenda. >:D< >:D< >:D<
  • Jelly,

    That is what I am hoping! I too use to wrap on the floor, can't get up! Leaning over a counter or the bed doesn't work either...so hopefully this way will! I'll let ya know soon. :)

    Odd can be a state of mind you know! (G) So I can stay in the "odd" balls block party then? Coowaaal! =)) :))( 8}
    >:D< >:D< >:D< Back to ya woman!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • The state of my mind is definately a bit odd!! 8}

    I think that last year I tried to do my wrapping on my knees using the bed as a surface. Not at all comfortable, but my family were home and downstairs in the lounge. Not sure yet how I will tackle it this year.

    >:D< >:D< >:D<
  • I tried that once, and my back screamed all kinds of really, really bad things at me! (G) Then add a nosy cat into the wrapping mix! Rofla!! :)


    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I'm sorry I haven't been around much lately. Too much life going on I guess!

    Glad to hear you finally got your x-ray done and really hope it shows that you are starting to fuse! Fingers crossed...toes too!

    I know it is really tough having to wait for results and so many people think that because things work a bit slower here...sometimes WAY too slow that our system in the UK is crap.

    I've experienced 3 different countries health care (US,Canada & UK) and I would choose the UK every time! I feel so sad for the people who struggle with Workmans Comp in the US. We don't have that worry here as everyone is treated the same...unless you go private. I've seen people go bankrupt in the US because of medical issues, we don't have that problem here either.

    We do have our share of problems here though and I do believe that the older you get in the UK the less they want to deal with you, which is SO wrong for so many reasons. I have a dear friend who is in hospital right now and suffering terribly. He is 67 and from what he has told me it sounds like he has gall bladder problems. He is being ignored and pushed from pillar to post. If he wasn't so far away I would be at that darn hospital giving them a piece of my mind.

    I didn't mean to turn this into a US v UK post! I mostly wanted to say that I hope everything is ok with you and you show fusing and that your hardware is all in it's proper places!!

    You really are a fantastically supportive friend. You've always been there for me and my son and I want you to know just how much I appreciate your support!

    Hugs to you!!
    Peggy x

  • I am still waiting for the results of my x-rays, but trying to be optimistic while I wait.

    I have good and bad days, but either way, my pain is so much better than before my surgery, so I am very grateful for that.

    I have my last day at school tomorrow before breaking up for Christmas and then it will be full steam ahead on preparing for Christmas. There is still so much to do, and I seem to be so slow these days and have to take a rest after an hour or so. Still, I love Christmas and having all the family together.

    I did create a DVD from Santa for our granddaughter. Thanks for sending the link :-)

    Hope that you are well and that you will have a wonderful Christmas once you join your husband.

    Take good care >:D< >:D< >:D<
  • Sorry just seen this post.

    Sorry to hear about your pain, but at least you were finally able to get x-rays done.
    Hoping that the x-rays show everything is coming along fine.
    Thats crazy with the long waiting times you have to go thru over there.
    I will get my 2nd CTscan done in early January. Then find out if things look alright in my back.

    Anyway, best of luck to you and let us know when you get your results.

  • How are you doing in your recovery?

    Hope that you are feeling the benefit of surgery and are managing to get back to your life. :D

  • Well i'm definitely better then before the surgery.

    I also feel without the surgery that i could have been extremely reliant on others to make it thru the day.

    But i'm not as well off as i had hoped for, post-surgery.

    So at the end of the day, this is the hand i was dealt, and just learn to deal with it.

    I truly hope your x-rays show good progress for you.
    I'm the same with the good days and bad days. But it seems the bad days far out-number the good days.

    Truly sad that you had to wait this long for your x-rays and to get in to see your doctor.

    But at least that day is almost here and hoping you get some good news. I'll be praying you do.
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