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Osteoporosis immediately after fusion surgery

RinrichRRinrich Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Spinal Stenosis
I am not sure whether to post this here or on the osteoporosis forum, but I will start here. I just joined this forum today after searching for some info, but so far I haven't seen anyone mention this problem here. But it seems that if anyone else has had this happen, they might be posting on this forum, so please let me know if it has happened to you or if you have an ideas for me.

Here is my situation: I had surgery for non-instrumented autologous fusion at L4-5 for spinal stenosis 6 weeks ago. At my first post-surgical visit last week my x-rays apparently indicated severe osteoporosis in the L4 vertebra. The doctor was visibly shocked because I had had a baseline bone density study a couple of years ago which showed good bone density and pre surgical x-rays and ct scans had not showed anything. So he asked me if I were in intense pain.

Well, there's the other problem: I have very complex health issues (see introduction forum for details), so I ended up in ICU after this surgery, just as I did after pancreatic surgery 3 years ago. Both times were due to bad reactions to pain meds. This time 24 hours after surgery I was taken off all pain meds except Tylenol and only spent 2 days in ICU instead of the 5 days I spent last time. In both cases, however, I surprised everyone by handling the pain quite well and even took very little Tylenol. This was even though I had a major (3 month) complication after the pancreatic surgery and had heart and lung problems after both surgeries. In fact, i have only taken one dose of Tylenol in the past 4 weeks. Don't get me wrong, i feel pain, but it has never seemed intense enough to take something. I have had pain for years, but I rarely take anything. So I seem to have some sort of ability to block pain.

The doctor said I should be in intense pain if what he was seeing on the x-ray is correct, so he is going to do more extensive x-rays next month to try to figure out whether something was just wrong with the picture or whether I redskin have suddenly developed this additional difficulty.

My questions are: Has anyone else had this happen? Is there something about post fusion x-rays that can look falsely like osteoporosis? Could something about fusion surgery cause osteoporosis? Of course I am praying that the result will be that the picture was somehow wrong. Meanwhile, if anyone has insight or advice, I would like to hear it.
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