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Second surgery needed and worried

I had a L4/L5 fusion with a disc replacement and rods done in April of 2012. I was just told that I need additional surgery . A two part surgery. Day one in through my side and day two my back. I need another two levels done. going up. L3/L4 & L2/L3 I am scared to death I am worried about my mobility and my quality of life afterwards. I did not do well with the first surgery and I am in constant pain. Has anyone had multiple levels done and gotten relief . I need to hear your story.


  • Hi Luna, your second surgery that you are describing is the same one i am having on 9/17. Its called a 360 degree lumbar fusion. My surgeon wanted to do this in 2 parts. The alif throught the side one week to fuse L3-L4. Then go into the hospital 2 weeks later and do the back to put in screws. I told him noooooo, so i am having mine done all at one time, on sept 17. He says it will take from 3 to 5 hrs to do it all at one time. But i just want it over with.
    I have lumbar scoliosis, Herniated disc at L3, and L4, spinal stenios at lumbar, slipped disc at L5-S1. I have been in pain since 2007 and never knew why? Now after, spinal injection, physical therapy, and God knows how many doctors and medicines, i am to have this spinal fusion in 2 weeks.
    Good luck to you and keep us informed. When is your surgery?
  • LunaLLuna Posts: 8
    edited 09/06/2012 - 3:03 PM
    My surgery is in November. He is doing the side part day one and the back part the very next day. I was hit by a car in January as a pedestrian. I had 3 herniated discs and a chipped vertebrae. The bone fragment was pinching the nerve going into my left leg. So you have never had surgery before this one coming up?
  • BkinsBBkins Posts: 364
    edited 09/06/2012 - 5:31 PM
    I have never heard of going in through the side and then the back as being referred to as a 360 surgery. Always thought a 360 was done by going into the front and then the rear. I could be wrong but these are 2 different surgeries. Maybe its called a 90 degreee surgery, Ha Ha. Anyway they are both life changing operations and should be looked at as such.
  • doubleusnddoubleusn Posts: 122
    edited 09/08/2012 - 11:06 AM
    My 1st L5S1 failed.

    After interviewing new doctors (I got many opinions) I finally found the right guy. (Different NS, diff city)

    First: Discogram is a MUST.

    He did mine in two parts 7/25 DLIF from the side.... 8/13 Revision and 3 level PLIF with hardware.

    FWIW: I was up and using the bathroom on my own the same day as the DLIF and left the hospital the next day.

    The PLIF was tougher as we also had a revision to do...4 days in for that one, but I feel better now than I did post first/old surgery.

    DISCOGRAM is a must though.... I have my leg back even though L3L4 was white on my MRIs....my leg jumped of the table during the Disco.

    MRIs are overrated and so are doctors that don't do full diag workups and just rely on imaging.

    Luna said:
    I had a L4/L5 fusion with a disc replacement and rods done in April of 2012. I was just told that I need additional surgery . A two part surgery. Day one in through my side and day two my back. I need another two levels done. going up. L3/L4 & L2/L3 I am scared to death I am worried about my mobility and my quality of life afterwards. I did not do well with the first surgery and I am in constant pain. Has anyone had multiple levels done and gotten relief . I need to hear your story.
    Jun 2011 -TLIF @L5-S1
    Mar 2012 -NonUnion @L5S1
    May 2012 -Multi Level Discography
    July 2012 -XLIF 2Cages @L3L4/L4L5
    Aug 2012 -All New Hardware @L34L45/L4L5/L5S1
    Mar 2013 -FBSS = Pain Management until they figure it out.
  • You are right about the discogram. I had mine done August 22, 2012. It was very painful but neccessary. How else would the surgeon know WHICH discs to operate on. You sure cant depend on the CT scans and MRI. After the discogram, i was taken to have a CT scan and it showed which disc were ruptured, because the dye leaked out around the disc. This is what my surgeon told me, and gave me a copy of the ct report.
    Good Luck to everyone having surgery in Sept. Mine is also coming up in one week. But I've prayed about it, I am ok with it, and i have faith in my surgeon. I may get nervous closer to next monday. I may come in here and be a blubering fool. Well i hope not. LOL.
  • Hi,

    I am fused L1-S1. My first fusion was a 360 going in both the front and the back in the same procedure. About 6 hours of surgery time and 5 days in the hospital.

    My 2nd was posterior and my 3rd anterior. I should have had a zipper put in. I have cages and screws and a bolt (from my spine to my pelvis).

    I was knocked unconscious by a snowboarder and the first problems I had were with my SI joint. Then my spine started deteriorating hence all the fusions. Often a fusion will weaken the levels above and below but I also know many people who have a one level fusion and are fine. I am not one of those.

    I am really good at building bone and have a nice chunk of bone now sitting on my not so good SI joint. So it has come full circle. I am scheduled to have my SI joint fused in oct.

    On the positive side all my fusions solved the problems I was having. I always had a little pain but that may be because my fusions were within a short time frame and total recovery is so long. Even tho surgery does fix things you are never 100% of your pre-surgery/pre-accident self.

    Good luck.

    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.
  • Luna a discogram is a procedure in which they inject dye into your disks, usually one or two good ones, and the the disk(s) they think are the problem. After the dye is injected you get a CT scan to see if the dye has leaked out of your disk I had my procedure this pas Tuesday. It is now Friday and I finally do not have a procedure pain just the same pain I had before the procedure. Like was said in at least one of the posts above a full work up with a discogram is needed to see exactly where the issues are. It gives the surgeon a better idea on if you need surgery and the kind of surgery that you need.

    Single level L5/S1 360 fusion with 6 screws and a rod (10/29/12)
    Diagnosis: Grade 1-2 spondylolithesis, Pars Defect, L5/S1 disc tear anterior and posterior, DDD, spinal stenosis
  • I have heard of people on Spine Health in the past getting one operation one day, and another one the day after. Also going through the back, front and/or side. It doesn't sound very pleasant at all.

    Have you not had a Discogram before? I HAD to have one before I had fusion surgery in 2010. When I first met my surgeon, he was talking about performing a one level fusion. However, because the discogram proved 'positive' by confirming that 2 discs were pain generators, I ended up having the 2 level fusion. Not sure where in the world you are, but here in the UK, in the National Health Service at least, the surgeons must have evidence to show there is good cause for needing invasive spine surgery and they use discograms before fusion operations.

    If you are young, reasonably fit and healthy, I am sure you will be fine and very well looked after by your surgeon and his/her team. You will need plenty of time to rest to get over it, a good pain medication regime, possibly physiotherapy/hydrotherapy and a very good support network. If you get offers of help from friends and family, take it.

    You can probably find a few previous posts here on Spine Health that may talk about such surgeries, but remember that with the excellent outcomes, those people might not have carried on posting because they are too busy living their lives, so you may not get a true picture of any successes.

    If you have any questions, concerns or doubts about what your surgeon is planning to do, have a good chat with him/her and ask as many questions as you wish. Perhaps they have done a similar operation on someone near to where you live and, if so, perhaps they could put you in touch with them so you can chat about their experience, which might help you a lot too. It's just a thought.

    I hope your professionals will provide you with lots of information, advice and possibly even give you some statistics? This, I am sure, will help you to be more informed and reassured. I know it's not easy contemplating invasive surgery and it is only natural to be worried (tell me someone who wouldn't be?), but I'm sure they wouldn't do it if it wasn't necessary.

    I really hope it goes well for you and, when it's time for you to undergo this procedure, perhaps you'll let us all know how you're getting on - after you have had time to recuperate first, of course.
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
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