I have had back problems since 1989, my first operation was for a partial laminectomy at L-2/L-3, followed in 1995 with a discectomy at L-3/L-4. In 2006 the next Neurosurgeon fused L-2/L-4. In 2008 they decided to fuse L-2/S-1, the next 4 years were miserable, then in 2012 my latest Neuro did an ALIF at L-4/L-5 because he said it had a failed fusion at that level.
They say pain is relative, but after Percocets, Nucynta, Lyrica, various muscle relaxers, Methotrexate and even a spinal cord stimulator implant (which I had removed a year later), I still hurt.
My latest Neuro met with me last Friday and took some x-rays in office after my latest call telling him that I think something else is wrong again, and sure enough when he compared last years x-rays to the new ones he said "I think you might be right" and sure enough the disc at L-1/L-2 appears to have ruptured. So now I have to go in next week for my favorite diagnostic test, the INFAMOUS CT Mylogram. I have had them before and I prefer the surgery to the test.
Anyway I am told that if it becomes necessary to go in again, then they will take out all of the old hardware ( 8 pedicle screw and rods ), I don't know about the ALIF plate, and install all new hardware. It seems to me , with NO Medical training, but a lot of LIVING with it, that fusing one more level just makes it inevitable that the next level will eventually succumb to the same problem.
Has anyone else been through a similar nightmare. I am 62 and wonder if I am not better off just taking the pain meds that keep me functioning, I actually fear the amount of time recovery will take at this point in time.