Just wondering if anyone else here had a unilateral fixation on their lumbar spine and how they made out with it.
My first fusion was in 1999, L4-L5-S1. The orthopedic surgeon was trying out this new way of securing the fusion, instead of
using hardware on the left and right side of the spine and keeping everything as close to and flat against the bone as possible,
he inserted long screws (2 1/2 inches) angled into the bones, one screw at each level instead of two, one rod ( 2 1/2 inches also), it stuck out into the soft tissue.
The reason was that he could angle the screws to the bones with the effect of it putting pressure on the vertebra and promote fusing. or thats what he said afterward.
The result was hardware that was very painful and bulky, the clipped off ends of the screws were sharp (I found this out when they were removed 5 years later) and felt like broken glass inside constantly. because of the close to the surface placement it would cause pain if I wore jeans or pants that put any pressure on them. The area is a mess of scar tissue. the rod also had sharp burrs on top and bottom.
I was aware of the hardware every minute of every day when it was in, finally convinced him to remove it and had the best 6 months in years...until the next disc went. and the donor site pain became unbearable.
The other bright idea he had was to make the central incision and push the muscle and all soft tissue out of the way and obtain the donor bone from the crest through the same incision, a very small one. I know this is common, but the next fusion involved 2 incisions and was less traumatic.
My second fusion was the standard screws both sides, it is not interfering with everyday life.