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One Year Checkup Still No Relief!

MJMcDevittMMJMcDevitt Posts: 71
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:56 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Saw the surgeon today for my 1 year checkup. Seems that I am fused well on the right and fair on the left. My pain is still the same as before the fusion. He asked if anything was better. I told him yes that I can stand up straighter. I told him that my problem is that I am retired (disability @ 50) and I have a high speed internet connection! I search everything, XLIF, artificial facet joint replacement etc. He said XLIF could be part of a larger surgery and artificial facet joints have not been successful.

He told me that the surgery was a success because I fused. The pain is a different story.

He has given me 3 options. Do nothing, and live with it. Have minimally invasive surgery to fuse and straighten out my spine from L-4 to L-1 (already have fusion at L5-S1). Or an "open" surgery for the same thing. Open = filet me like a fish!! He says if it is an open surgery he would be able to "see" my spine and can't see it with minimal.

No guarantee and maybe 50% chance of it relieving my pain.

How am I to make this decision!!??? Especially after the problems with my last surgery! (See link)




  • I wish I had an answer for you. I'm sorry you are still dealing with pain 1 year later. I am only 2 months out but am still dealing with pain as well. In my case, the original pain is virtually gone. Now I have another disc acting up, and another surgery is definitely a possibility. However, I am trying to hold off on it and just went for my first ESI yesterday. I plan to go for more, if this one helps, and I am looking into purchasing a TENS unit.

    My surgeon also called my surgery successful, because the original pain is 90% better. However, when I told my PM doc about that, he was pretty angry. I had a period of two weeks, right after the surgery, where the pain was gradually getting better and things seemed to be going well. At exactly 2 weeks post-op, this new pain began on the other side of my back/ribcage. The PM doc said he would not call the surgery successful after only two semi-good weeks, especially being that I developed new pain.

    Have you thought about getting a second or even third opinion? Yes, you have fused which is a good sign. But if you are still in pain, then it wasn't really successful, was it? Then again, I don't know much about fusions. Do they typically relief the pain, or are they moreso done to stabilize the spine?
  • Matt did they check your hardware? Do a hardware block? My NS said about 30% of patients will need the hardware removed at about a year.

    My PLIF from L4-S1 was excellent for me. I do get sore once in a great while (when I over do things) but it has been a great surgery for me. I say I am 100% better 90% of the time...

    My neck is still healing (taking a longer time do to the MVA) and now I may be having a thoracic fusion this winter. I was just discussing the XLIF with a NS and she said they often use it to add levels to exhisting fusions with excellent success.

    Feel Better,

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