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fusion l4 l5 not fused done last july

peter boylanppeter boylan Posts: 30
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi went to my surgeon today with my xrays i have very bad pain in my back since my fusionl4 l5 in july 2010 im taking 80ml of oxys a day so when he told me today the fusion hasnt worked he made me get a blood test and im having a nuclear medicine scan on monday he checking to see i might have a infection in there or something else can anyone help me will have to have another fusion very worried im 48 yaers old


  • Please can someone give this aussie adive please

  • I can't really give advice, but I wanted to give you a response. Because you are in Australia, and most of the members here are in the USA, they will be along later, once they get up and active.

    There are other members who have needed a re-do surgery due to nonfusion. The hardware that was put in for the fusion won't last for ever, so something will probably need to be done.

    I know how stressful this can be, and hope that someone will be able to reassure you.

    I notice that you are quite a new member. Welcome! >:D<

    I think you will find the support offered here will really help you. It is great to find others who are dealing with similar problems, especially those that have come out the otherside and lived to tell the tale. (I don't mean that literally!!! =)) )

  • Hello can some one help me very confused dont know whats wrong with me
  • The only thing I can say is that my fusion took 14-16 months before I fused.

    It seems to me that your dr. is jumping the gun if he is declaring you as not fused.

    I do think he's right to order blood tests and make sure there isn't anything else going on in there.

    Your oxy dose seems very high. If you were healing I would hope you would be able to ease off by now. It's that reason I say hurrah to your doc for ordering tests.

    Best of luck and let us know what your test results say.
  • I had a ACDR at C5-6/ACDF of C6-7 and am 3wks post-op...I had symptoms 18 months and I was off work 14 months before surg was done...My doc says not to expect to return to work until late this year which will be almost 2 years off work...I 32 yr old active nurse...my surgery is different from the one you had but I wanted to post a response to let you know your not alone...there are many of us out there...I am very happy to hear your doc is ordering tests...there are risks of infection in any type of surgery...so it is good he is looking into that...could be an easy fix:) Everyone recovers diffently and at different rates...and each surgery is different...so if you do end up needing another fusion don't stress it...that one could take in a snap!!!! I do have to say that your dose of Oxy is VERY high...are you able to get out and walk like they say to do or are you sleepy all the time from the meds??? Just wondering...I have my xrays in 5 wks which will be a total of 8 wks post op until my surgeon even does his 1st set of xrays to look at fusion...how many sets of xrays have you had....take care and I hope things work out for the best!!!
  • Hi since my fusiom in july 2010 i have had 4 lots of xrays done and with the meds im taking it helps me to walk im not sleepy at all i have trouble sleeping if i didnt have the meds i would be in bed with very bad pain some days are bad when the weather is changing i have have extra meds on those bad days having a special xray done tomorrow i will let you and every one know when i get me results Regards Peter
  • With your MD doing 4 sets of xrays I'd say he's watching you closely...but as stated above some fusions take months to set...depends on type of fusion...what they used to fuse with...ect ect ect...
    it sounds like your pain is hard to manage...if you are able to still do activities with the Oxy amount your on...it's normal for our bodies to ache a bit more with weather changes and colder weather gets to me more...what kind of xray are you getting just out of curiosity...keep us updated...take care...pain free...
  • Sorry you are going through this.
    I had L4-5 ALIF done Aug 24 2010 and was told 3 weeks ago I have a fibrous non union with motion in the segments. I am facing possible revision I've been to two surgeons already and will seek 3rd opinion.

    I did have blood work done as well to rule out infection.

    I have been in severe pain since my surgery and had a rough complicated recovery. I have been unable to return to work.

    As for your oxy dosage if you are functioning on your dose and working close with your pain mgmt of PCP, and its helping with your pain, I wouldn't worry right now. I was up to 180 mg oxy 30 mg every 4 hrs for several months. I am now down to 90 mg I am in more pain but I got to a point where I was concerned about dependency issues and after working with PM doc I successfully weaned down. Everybody has different tolerance levels. Insomnia is common on higher dose narcotics. I never felt any euphoria type feeling from my meds.

    Let us know what happens with X-ray tomorrow.

    PS My ortho spine surgeon said with me, I should have fused by 6 months, I had iliac bone graft with BMP. for me the fibrous non union & micro motion is why I am facing revision at only 8.5 months. Every case is different, but do get 2nd opinion before you proceed with revision surgery.
  • It was 16 months before I was deemed fully fused. My surgeon said that he sees continued bone growth well into the second year in many fusions.

    Of course, if you still have an infection that completely changes the score. Glad your surgeon is looking into that and can hopefully rule it out.

    Any changes in the appearance of your hardware?

    I'm with Virginia about the oxy. While when having chronic pain we can never expect to be pain free, titrating to effect is what we strive for and still be able to function.


  • Hello every one i had my nuclear xray today they gave me injection and they did xrays for about 28 mins and they told me to come back in 3 hours for more xrays that took about an hour they will send to my surgeon so he can look to see whats going on in there i will lets you know when he give me a call bye talk soon =)) :H
  • The pain has come back in my left leg 1st time since my fusion last july what happens now ?????
  • HI Peter...sorry to hear your pain is back...my best guess is since the fusion didn't set...it is irritating the nerves somewhere and that's why the pain is back...what did your study end up saying?? Hope your up and feeling well soon!!!
  • Still waiting for my surgeon to let me know about my xrays and blood tests do you think i should get another opinion from a neuro surgeon
  • I'm not to fond of the fact that you haven't heard back from your Surgeon in a whole week...if he was worried about a possible infection and the fusion not setting he should be "in my opinion" on the phone ASAP...with me saying that...I'd seek a second opinion...I'm on the phone in a heartbeat if I have a question and I hear back from HIM or his nurse that SAME day...I'm scared that things may get worse for you if there is something in there going on...take care...PLEASE keep in touch and let us know what's going on...
  • I have had a revision surgery ,as my first fusion didn't take.
    Firstly,it may be a bit different for us down in the southern hemisphere.It took me over three months to get a first appointment with my surgeon.He is sooo over worked,due to a lack of surgeons doing this sort of work.Aussie should be better,but they can't just run to our every concern.
    There is many reasons why fusions fail,infection is just one of them.Please tell me you don't smoke,as thats a killer of fusions.
    My surgeon was happy to do revision surgery after one year.Also a CT scan shows the bone up better than a MRI scan,so maybe he will want you to do that next.
    Any pain down your leg will be from nerve disturbance due to movement still happening due to non-fusion.Medicate for pain till revison complete,why suffer more than you have to!
    I look forward to you keeping us posted on progress.
    Feel free to message me,us southerners need to stick together,LOL.All the best mate.
  • ~X( Hello Sheba yes i have had xrays and they show no bone growth but the last xray i had was 1 and halve weeks ago it was a nuclear xray ??? plus i gave up smoking 4 months ago. Im thinking of seeing neuro surgeon im a bit confused about the last xray they gave me injection took some xrays and then took more 3 hours later what this about do you know or any one else cause my pain is getting worse each day plus im started getting pain in my left leg and buttock why why HELP PLEASE
  • I'm so sorry that your pain is increasing. Have you rung your surgeon (even though he should be ringing you).

    I'm a West Aussie.

    Now that you've given up smoking, do keep off them for good - that may have affected the fusing process.

    Perhaps you need a change of medication?? Pain patch perhaps and Gabapentin or Lyrica to help with the nerve pain. Do see your GP as soon as you can.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • I TOTALLY agree with Trish...the MD office should be calling you but cuz it's been over a week I'd for sure be calling them...it's not about them being busy and not having time for you...that's BS...I've worked in busy hospitals/MD offices/Surgeons office as a nurse...and at least the way we do it up here in the Northern Hemisphere is if we have an established patient that has already been through surgery and they are having problems...those are the TOP PRIORITY...infections can be going on OR pain as in your case...and neither of them are good...the Nuclear Xray gives you dye that goes through your body and with the Xrays they can see different things...that's why you did some xrays and came back later to do more...they needed the dye to go through your system to see what's up...as for the pain going down the other leg...I'd say it's cuz you got things in there moving and irritating your nerves...I'm on Lyrica and it helps with the nerve pain...but if it's not nerve pain you might want to ask for a pain patch...that way when you do get some ZZZZs the med will still be going into your body and being absorbed little by little...hope this helps...
  • Why get another opinion when all the test results are not in yet. Always good to get many opinions sure but i think i would want all my results to be in 1st before runing around like a chicken with head cut off. Besides going to get another opinion aint going to get the pain under control. If medication not helping tell your dr to give you something that will help while it will make it easier to make decision on what to do next.

    Good luck, Alex
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Thanks for the advice i rang my surgeon today and his nurse said he is very busy and she told me she would leave a reminder note on my folder thats sitting on his desk for the pain im going to up my oxcy plus i do take valium at night
  • Thanks for the advice i rang my surgeon today and his nurse said he is very busy and she told me she would leave a reminder note on my folder thats sitting on his desk for the pain im going to up my oxcy plus i do take valium at night
  • So very glad to hear you called the MD...good for you...see they needed a kick...lol...let us know what your results say!!! Sending you positive thoughts...
  • I was just reading your post for the first time. Have you heard back from your doctor regarding your xrays?

    Wishing you all the best.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • My surgeon rang me on monday and i told him i had sciatica down my left leg and a bit on my right and sent me to have mri today and i have to see him wed next week im in no mans land at the moment its a bit scary
  • Good that things are starting to move now that the surgeon has rung you back. Once he gets the results of your MRI, then he can review your pain and how he may be able to help you.

    Let us how your appointment goes next Wednesday.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Good that your doctor is looking out for you and scheduling an MRI. This will give you a better idea of what it going on.

    All the best at your appointment, let us know how it goes.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • I'm so glad the ball is rolling for you now...keep your chin up...you've come all this way so far...keep us updated so we can keep cheering for you...
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    Did they use hardware in your fusion? My first L5-S1 fusion was done just with bone to fuse them together. I later had to have plates and screws inserted to solidify the fusion. That level hasn't given me problems since. (Don't be scared by my surgical history, I have very lax ligaments and tendons so joints in my knees, spine, etc easily loosen and need to be fixed),
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Yes i have hardware in my back if i havent fused will they take the hardware out, does any body know ????
  • Yes i have hardware in my back if i havent fused will they take the hardware out, does any body know ????
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