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Rods & Screws to be added 1-year post op from ALIF L4-L5

Due to a failed fusion, my surgeon is suggesting that he's going to have to go back in and add rods and screws to stabilize my spine and allow the bone to continue fusing. He also intends to add more bone material.

A CT scan at 11 months showed lack of fusion, so I've been using a bone growth stimulator for just over 5 weeks. The x-rays yesterday show some bone growth on the front of the fusion area but none in the back. This is allowing the spine to move. I did have many months of what I thought was success after the surgery, with pain kicking in about 3 months ago (around 9 months post-op).

I've been searching through posts and not seeing where anyone had this done so long after the fusion surgery itself. He intends to go in from the back and said that this won't be as bad as the ALIF but will still be a 2.5 hr surgery and an overnight stay. No work for two weeks, and then a gradual return over the next 6 weeks or more.

My daughter gets married next month and I live 2,000 miles away. So the surgeon is going to wait until I return before he does another CT. He told me that with the number of planes I'll be stuck on, plus the hotel beds, lots of walking, etc., this will be the trip from hell. He is scheduling the CT for the Monday after my return, followed by an appointment with him on the Tuesday. His eagerness to get me in immediately after I return has me nervous. But I'm sure he would tell me if the trip was too dangerous for me.

Just wondering if anyone else has had an experience like this. Most of what I'm seeing is people getting rods removed at this point, not added. I always have to be different...lol.


  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 05/29/2014 - 7:28 AM
    The recovery from adding the screws and rods should be a bit easier than the whole fusion process again. I found that my second surgery, the recovery was a bit easier.
    When they did my second surgery, they went back in in exactly the same spot they did for the first surgery.....so let's hope that your new surgery fixes the lack of fusion and stabilizes the spine and you are back on the road to recovery.
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