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3rd spinal fusion? Don't know what to do....

Hi all
I had a fusion in 2001 for grade 1-2 spondy and then had reconstructive surgery in 2002 as the screws snapped. The surgeon reinforced the fusion by putting a bar and screw into my left hip and replaced the L4-S1 fusion. This also failed and after years of pain and taking Tramadol i am now on the waiting list for further surgery to have the metal removed as the hardware is causing severe pain on my nerves and i feel like i have daggers going into the outer sides of my thighs all the time. I have hip pain, muscle spasms and tightness along with cramp in my lower back and my left leg is feeling weak, especially noticeable when i climb stairs. My new surgeon cant understand why the last one put the bar into my left hip and the screw is rolling around in the hole. He says i have psuedoarthrosis and wants to just remove the metal and not replace it to see how i get on but the slip is now 3-4 which i believe is 75-100% slip? I am particularly scared of going through this again as i remember the pain from last time and i am very unsure of not having anything in there to stabilise my spine, although the metal isn't doing anything at the moment. Has anyone got any thoughts on my situation, will it slip more, have more pain, things go wrong ect. I am also taking cabergoline to shrink a pituitary tumor and this has an effect on my mental health along with the misery of the back pain. My knees hurt along with my elbows, muscle pain in arms and my feet are really stiff especially in the mornings, don't know if this is related or not.
Sorry if i sound like a hypochondriac
Bellaboo xx


  • First let me say welcome to spine-health. First thing I would do is get another opinion. Have you looked up the term psuedoarthrosis? If not it something you need to look up and ask your surgeon specific about. It typical means you have a non-union on the fusion. So while I understand taking the hardware out, I don't understand fixing the psuedo at the sometime. That is why I suggest to you to get more opinions. Also keep in mind the more times they enter the more issues you will have with scar tissue, so you don't want to do this all over again, as i am sure you all ready have plenty of scar tissue. Your surgeon may also be doing the right thing, as I am no doctor. But when you have concerns always seek out another doctor for a second opinion. Actually I tell everyone before doing any surgery they should get a second opinion. I am sure you would rather get better and put all of this behind you, so you don't want to have yet another surgery if removing the hardware doesn't fix the issue.

    At the top of the page you can find a search field where you can put terms in and read other thread along with doctor written and peer reviewed articles that will help understand what you are going through. In addition we have other members whom have had more than one surgery and you can seek out the advice that they have.

    Once again welcome to spine-health. If I can be of any assistance don't hesitate to pm me. Take care and look forward to reading more of your post.
  • Thank you for the welcome tamtam :) I am going to see my doc hopefully this week so I will ask him about a second opinion. This latest surgeon thinks he is going to get in my back a 4th time if I can't manage without hardware and you are quite right about scar tissue! I will have a good look around this wonderful forum for any similar situations.
    Thanks again x
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