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I just read my op notes(3 level spinal fusion L3-S1) and looks like I had a corpectomy at all levels. I have searched for information on this and find very little. Is this a normal part of a fusion and I just wasn't aware? I also had lami's, faccetectomies and foraminitomies at all levels...which I Understand now that I have a little more knowledge of things...but what the heck is this corpectomy thing and have you all had them with your fusions? Could it this mysterious corpectomy that is keeping me in pain??? I know I am still new in recovery...4 months I think..but I have gone backward instead of forward it seems. I am scheduled for yet another MRI and CT...this time to see if something moved in there....guess i didnt present well at my last surgeon check up. Im furstrated that the mechanica back pain is back, along with all the nerve pain down my leg. I am back on neurontin, not sure if its working. My brain knows it's there...forgets sometimes...lol...but I my brain knows its in my system, hope my legs get the message soon. I have new pain in my foot and calf...and for the first time ever I have typical sciatica pain down the back of my leg. You know, for years, I was told by so many doctors that i didnt have sciatca because I would tell them the pain was not down the back of my leg...my pain was always front thigh to knee...they made me feel like Ii was lying. So good for me, I finally have back of leg pain. Im so happy! NOT.
I would appreciate any info anyone has on this corpectomy thing. Not that it matters now, all said and done. but it might explain my long recovery, or my ongoing pain...something to wrap my mind around! Peace everyone! E.
3 level fusion L3-S1 July 23, 2012


  • You may wish to put corpectomy into the forum search.

    Amost others, it provided, http://www.spine-health.com/glossary/c/corpectomy

    It appears that you may have had a bigger op than you expected.

  • I read the definition as well, but I couldnt find anything else on it. I found very little in terms of forum posts or anything. I was hoping to find someone else who had it done with their fusion. I know when the surgeon talked to my family after surgery (before I was awake, at 3:30am) he said everything in there was broken off..I hav'nt really understood what happened, but I guess all my vertebrae were broken...and he completely removed them? Wow, huh? Guess that is why recovery is so slow? I mean I am doing pretty good, up and walking...just a lot of pain if I don't take A LOT of pain meds. I really like my surgeon, but I am feeling like I really don't have any idea what they did to me...that is my fault because as mouthy as I am in my regular life, I become "the good patient" with doctors.. So what do you think this means? Do you think this makes my recovery harder, longer, less chance of things being successful? I don't want to think it but I am afraid i am not fusing...the mechanical pain is back...my back hurts, my hip hurts. those were the things that were unbarable by the time I had surgery. Of course I have all this new nerve pain, which i understand is from all of the owrk he did in there...touched all those nerves and made them mad! If I am a failed fusion, do they go in and try again, and when do they usually make that call? I know I am only 4 months out...and my surgeon has not even once brought up the idea that he shouold be fusion..every time I ask, they tell me way too early! Yet I hear of a lot of people getting xray's done and reports of white streaks, and some fusion...I know we are all different...and doctors are all different...brace no brace..PT, no PT...but fusion is fusion right? If it's there he should tell me? Okay, Im off my rant. Thanks again for the response, Dave. I new this one would be hard to answer! Peace, Ellen
    3 level fusion L3-S1 July 23, 2012
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,374
    Thanks for the words while in was inpatient, Glad to be home and slowlu gettting my stregth back.

    Ny paicture on the right showa a 2 level corpectomy-vertebralectony. They not only yaked three discs but two vertabrea also. Thus the cage/strut full of hip bone, Sorry that tis maybe part of your treatment ,,,, ain;t no fun and totally shut down my R,O,M, (range of motion).

    The whole story - http://www.spine-health.com/forum/pain/neck-pain-cervical/my-acdf-pictorial-failed-two-level-massive-revision

    best wishes and warmest regards,

    Spine-Health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!  (Click on Welcome to Spine-Health)

  • So what they did to me is not just a normal part of fusion, but like an extra thing I get...like a bonus to a 3 level fusion at 44? LOL So they took out the discs and 3 levels but also the 3 vertebrae? Hayzooz Christo they did this at L3. L4. L5 and S1.....Im totally shocked I didnt understand this was done to me. I know he had no choice, I remember him saying everything was just broken off and he had to clean everything out. Again, Im just shocked. I am so happy you are home and on the mend! Oh and your neck totally amazes me every time I look at the pic. I did't get any great shots with my last MRI...maybe this time I will have something to proud of! Peace to you, D.....E
    3 level fusion L3-S1 July 23, 2012
  • So sorry to hear that you are still having so much pain.
    I don't know why a surgeon would decide to do a corpectomy rather than to remove and fuse where the discs have been. It must be more invasive, so I guess sometimes there is a need to do it. I even wondered if with a three level fusion, which has a much higher rate of non-fusion, as there would only be a need for the two ends of the fusion to fuse the vertebrae, whether that would make the chances of fusing higher.

    I do believe that it is very difficult to see if fusion has taken place or not, just using an x-ray. I have never been conclusively told that my fusion of L4/5 in March 2010 has actually fused. All I was told at one year out was that it must have done, otherwise my screws would have come lose or broken by now. I have heard that a CT scan is the way to go to see if fusion has taken place.

    When is your appointment to have the CT and MRI scans done?
    I'll keep thinking of you and hoping that the day will come when you start to feel that it has all been worth the difficult recovery you have been through.
    Take care my friend,
    Jelly xxx
  • I just read your story! Wow with the cervical crap, D. As for the lumbar, very similar MRI stories. I wonder if we are long, lost blood relatives...because only DNA causes as much degeneration as the 2 of us are lucky to have. Can I ask your age? I hear so often that degeneration is just a normal part of the aging process...and I believe it whole heartedly but I kind of hung on for years with the idea that 'ah shit, its normal degeneration". Now fast forward to 3 level fusion with corpectomies at every level...dont think thats normal aging for me at 44? God Bless you D, for you spirit through all of this. What are you symptoms with the lumbar right now? do you have pain from hip, down front of thigh to the knee? Just wondering...cause that has really been my sorst symptom to deal with pain wise..hip to knee, now its down to my feet and back to the mechanical back pain..left side. Im lost right now. Taking more than prescribed (hold the hand slapping everyone) of my pain meds. I have to survive to take care of my kids and writhing in bed for days isnt an option when you have a 3 and 8 year old. D, I would love to talk out of forum some time, if you wouldn't mind. Have a few questions for a veteran! Peace again, E
    3 level fusion L3-S1 July 23, 2012
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,374
    I'll Pm ya .. Finally "back" up to speed after my hospital adventures!

    Spine-Health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!  (Click on Welcome to Spine-Health)

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