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Had One Spinal Fusion; now another one?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi, My name is Alma and I've suffered with leg pain for almost 30 yrs. I had a spinal fusion on L 3 in 2004 and I've done fair part of the time after a long recovery. [I actually was able to walk a mile a day for 5 days a wk until I began having severe burning pain in the bottoms of both feet. This got okay after I quit walking, and started wearing New Balanace tennis shoes and began taking Nuerontin 3 times a day.] A discogram now reveals my 3rd L disk is badly worn, leaking and an MRI revealed it was bulged in Feb. after missing a step coming down off a ladder. He hasn't done another MRI recently or since my back popped and I felt something move; it could be ruptured. I have the same pain as that of a herinated disk, back pain all the time and sometimes in my leg. Now my Dr. wants to do another fusion on my 3rd L disk. I'm down more than up most days getting relief only when lying around taking my strong meds. I can hardly stand the thought of having to go through another fusion; they are horrible! I'm afraid that my condition is only going to get worse; facet joints will eventually get mis-aligned and then bone spurs will form most likely. Has anyone experienced this same problem and have any advice?


  • Alma, I am a bit confused about your question. From reading your post, it sounds as if the Dr wants to repeat the same surgery. is that correct? You mentioned L3 twice but not if it is L2-L3 or L3-L4.
    There are a lot here who have had first surgeries then needed more as time went on, often a laminectomy is followed years later by a fusion etc
    One of the drawbacks of fusions is that it puts more stress on discs above and below the fused joint.
    This is something to talk to your surgeon about.

    Blessings Sara

    oh and it really helps if you can put your info in the signature so it shows up whenever you post.
  • Hi Sarah, [Just read my other post and now I see why you were confused, so sorry. I meant to say that my L 4 was fused not 3! Must be these drug, lol.]
    Thanks so much for writing me back...just got back on today and found your message.
    Sorry, for the confusion. I'll try again, lol. My previous fusion is L 3&4 fused. The L 4th disk was my bad one. Now he says my L 3rd is bad and he wants to remove the other hardware and move it up one level. I just assumed it would be at level L 2&3...maybe I'm wrong and he'll only do this if my L 4th is fused okay...otherwise a 2 level fusion; I suppose 273, 475?
    Noticed you had correction to scoliosis May 7th 2008...how is this going? Was your condition pretty bad and causing your disk to push out of place?
    I believe I have some similar problem and the s curve is at L 3 where it's worn, leaking and bulged. I mentioned it a little to my surgeon on one of my visits; but, he didn't think by just looking at an xray infront of him that I had much of a problem. He said, "Have you tried wearing a heel insert?" I told him I use to, but, didn't now. What I should have told him was..."it would have to be at least 1 inch or more high to level up my hips." I've noticed it when looking at some of my neckline tops, they look crooked. I noticed it a number of yrs ago thinking, why is one hip flat and another one round? Then I noticed when I raised one heel up a good bit, my hips looked the same. I think I'll talk to my DR. again about this, especially if I agree to have another fusion. It's so noticeable, all he'd have to do is to take a few minutes and looked at me in my underwear. Even I have trouble keeping my panties from slipping to one side of my buttocks, so frustrating. So what do you think..did you have some of the same problems?
    And to tell you the truth, I feel pretty lucky that I've done as well as I have since having the other one in 2004 and reading all the posts in this group...wondering if I'd be as lucky the next?


    Spinal fusion on L 4 in 2004; Feb./2008 MRI revealed L 3 bulged; April & May/2008 steroid injections; June/2008 a discogram revealed a worn, leaking L 3 disk; DR. wants to fuse L 3...I'm uncertain?
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