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Going in for my FIFTH Spinal Surgery

OMGMyAchinBackOOMGMyAchinBack Dix Hills, Long Island, NYPosts: 15
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
On 11/18/2011, I will be going into a very well-known orthopaedic hospital in NYC for my fifth, yes fifth spinal surgery. Four surgeries in 2.5 years. A quick history...
I am a male in mid-50s. Live on LI.
In late 1998, I developed a fracture of the spine at L5/S1 due to crashing into a low fence playing baseball. I developed grade II spondylolisthesis at L5/S1. I was having bilateral pain down both legs into my heels, soles and toes. I had pain in the lower back as well. After another week I had dropfoot on the left side. Had spinal surgery #1 with fusion and instrumentation. Once I recovered from the surgery approximately 9 months later, I developed massive low back pain. Ortho surgeon took x-rays and said it’s just the trauma of the surgery. Everything will get back to normal soon.
Well, after a few years, many surgeons & way too many years on morphine, I finally found a spinal surgeon who would take my case. We did x-rays, CT scans, MRIs & myelograms. On film all looked good. He told me that he should go in and take a look and most likely take the instrumentation out. In June of 2008, my surgeon discovered during surgery #2 that the fusion never solidified and was "mushy". One of the screws was almost out, another screw was very loose and the last 2 were slightly loose. At this point, they cleaned everything up and did a revision posterior fusion with instrumentation. A few days later when I was finally lucid, my wife told me that I need to have another surgery in one week. This would be an anterior approach (surgery #3) to put in two HAMM cages. Needless to say, 2 surgeries in 12 days is a lot to handle. Found out after this surgery that I have a severe case of osteoporosis. I had to inject myself daily for 2 years. Now I just get an annual infusion. This disease obviously is a main culprit in my spinal issues.
Recuperated well and went on with my life. I still have a fair amount of pain and that will never go away. In late January, 2011, I started to develop sciatic pain again in both legs and feet. After the MRI revealed severe stenosis at L4/L5 on all 3 sides. I had decompression surgery in April, 2011, (surgery #4) to free up the nerve.
While recuperating, on Father's Day, I started to feel a new pain on my left side with sciatic pain bilaterally as well as increased back pain. More MRIs and lo and behold, a lumbar facet joint synovial cyst was found impinging the nerve root. We tried aspirating the cyst using CT guidance. A 30 minute procedure turned into quite a painful 2 hour session. The procedure failed to decrease the cyst. Which brings me to the here and now. I am scheduled for my 5th lumbar surgery on 11/18/2011. They will do a facet decompression at L3/L4/L5/S1 with fusion (cadaver bone, gave all I am giving) and instrumentation.
Thanks for listening. And yes, I keep my head held high because I can breathe, eat, walk (kind of) and hear all the beautiful sounds that surround us.
Anyone in a similar situation?
OhMyAchin Back!


  • Sorry to hear you have had to go through so much! My gosh, that is a lot. Your surgery date is coming up soon. I just had mine. Keep us posted, and yes thank god we can still walk, eat, and smile :D
  • Wow, you are even ahead of me. I have had 4 spinal surgeries, 3 of which were fusions (in 4 years).

    Good luck and keep us posted.

    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • I truly hope this will be your last one and after healing, you will get a good reduction in your pain.

    I, too, have osteoporosis, and so far so good.

    There are times when I feel a bit low, and I go out onto my patio and listen to the birds singing and watch them flying in and out of the bottlebrushes and the gum trees. Then I count my blessings.

    Continue taking in the beautiful sounds of life as you prepare for this surgery.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • I guess you could say my situation in similar.
    2002- stenosis surgery in and around L 2.

    2006- spinal infection hit me from out of the blue, almost killing me. Had to have emergency surgery in L 2, L 3 area, spent weeks relearning how to walk again.

    2007- had posterior part of fusion, 10 days later had anterior part.

    Here is where I am today. I walk 4 miles a day, my weight is down to my high school days. I will have pain the rest of my life, perm. nerve pain, but, like you, my head is above water and life is good.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
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