Hi there folks.
I've lurked on the board for quite a while and have read many stories, both good and bad.
My story starts 21 years ago as I was leaving my teenage years. I was 19 at the time. The original injury was a freak accident involving a dumpster, a bag stuck on the lid, and some slushy ice. The outcome was a ruptured disc, temporary paralysis, and a company doctor telling a scared kid to get back to work.
I was finally fed up with pain and financially able to undergo surgery at age 32. I had a PLIF with instrumentation at L4-5 along with laminectomies of L4 and L5 with additional disc decompression and cleaning up of the ruptured L4 disc. The relief from pain was nearly immediate and glorious in my case!
I then met my nemesis again 11 months later when I slipped in an icy parking lot and fell hard on my right hip.
This fall broke the weak union and two lower pedicle screws. However, the tests run at the time (x-rays, MRI, and standard CT Myelogram) showed nothing. We thought it may be the L5-S1 disc, as it was mildly problematic before, just not enough for fusion. The pain was identical to surgical recovery, only I had to go through it without much in the way of pain meds due to my need to work with shoddy insurance.
Around five years later, during one of many epidurals, I noticed something odd on the flouroscope image and asked my pain management doctor. He went white as a sheet and was immediately apologetic, obviously thinking I was going to sue or something. Never crossed my mind, though. I was just happy we now had a root cause!
A thin slice CT Myelo later confirmed both bottom titanium pedicle screws broke just below the head and the fusion broken and remodeled all sorts of wrong. This was August 2012.
I had surgery scheduled for October 2012, but received a job offer I couldn't refuse, so I cancelled surgery and continued pain management.
Now, two years later and I'm 40 yrs old. I had revision surgery on November 17th, 2014. They remoced the old hardware and intervertebral cage, revised the laminectomies at L4 and L5, and performed a new laminectomy at L3. However, they were unable to remove the threaded screw bodies from L5 and didn't want to fuse an additional level. So, they used some of the bone they got while seoarsting L4 and L5 along with the laminectomy work to place autografts on the poterior side of L4-5. They then closed the wound, flipped me over, and performed and ALIF at L4-5, using a top-rated vascular surgeon for the anterior entry and exit.
I learned from here this is, affectionately, called a 360.
I'm now recovering well and had only one hiccup due to an infection caught at the surgical hospital. I was rehospitalized for three days at a different facility (I'd have died before returning to the other one), where they got me back on my feet, literally, and well enough to go home.
So far, so good. The leg pain is gone and I'm really only dealing with surgical pain at this point.
I'm open to any questions.
PLIF March 2006. Broke union and hardware February 2007
Discovered breakage and labeled FBSS August 2012
Revision, hardware removal, and ALIF during 360° procedure November 2014