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Question regarding upcoming ALIF surgery-Failed fusion

Archeun1981AArcheun1981 Posts: 2
edited 12/29/2015 - 12:07 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello everyone:

I injured my back in March of 2014. After several months, and failing conservative treatment, I had a PLIF of L5, S1 in Feb of 2015. This included a disectomy, fusion with instrumentation. I continued to have severe pain and a CT-Myleogram was completed in October 2015 that showed my fusion had failed to heal properly and there is a fracture within the fusion itself. My surgeon has advised me that I need to have an ALIF completed with bone morphogenic protein.

I am concerned that having another surgery will make the pain worse and I am concerned about the post-operative pain. I've read several different articles from people who have had the revision surgery and the post op recovery was more difficult then the recovery from the first surgery.

Does anyone have any experience with this that can give me an idea of what to expect? Any information would be helpful.

Thank you.******************************************************************************************************
Welcome to Spine-Health

While you may have provided us with some information, there is always more to provide.

One of the most important things that members can do is to provide the rest of the community with as much information about themselves as possible. It is so very difficult for anyone to respond when we do not have enough information to go on. This is not meant to indicate that you are doing anything wrong or violated any rule, we are just trying to be pro-active and get the information upfront so that people can start responding and your thread is more effective.

So many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. The more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong, The fact that your test results are negative does not mean that you are fine and without any concerns. Many times it takes several diagnostic tests and procedures to isolate a specific condition.

Here are some questions that you should answer:

  • - When did this first start?

    . Year, Your age, etc
- Was it the result of an accident or trauma?
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  • . Which doctor did you start with? Ie Primary Care Physician
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- What Conservative treatments have you had? Which ones?

  • . Physical Therapy
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  • . Summarize the results, please do not post all details, we cannot analyze them
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  • . Name of Medication
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Providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
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You should also consult your doctor to better understand your condition and the do’s and don’t’s.

It is very important that new members (or even seasoned members) provide others with details about their condition(s). It is virtually impossible to help another member when all the details we have are

I’ve had this for years, it hurts, I cant move my shoulder – what could this be, what treatment should I get?

Diagnosing spinal problems can be very difficult. In many ways it’s like a game of clue. Especially, when the diagnostic tests come back negative – no trouble found! Then it’s up to the patient and the doctor to start digging deeper. The doctor is like a detective. They need clues to help them move along. So, you as the patient need to provide the doctor with all sorts of clues. That is like it is here. Without having information about a condition, its impossible for anyone here to try to help.

Specific comments :

Personal Opinion, not medical advice :

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 12/29/15 18:06est



  • When did this first start? The initial pain began in March of 2014 after I fell out of a chair.

    Your age: 30

    Was it the result of an accident or trauma: Accident

    Are there others in your family with similar medication conditions? No

    What doctors have you seen? (Orthopedic, Neurosurgeon, Spine Specialist, etc) Orthopedic, and Pain management

    Which doctor did you start with? Primary Care Physician who referred to Orthopedic

    Who are you currently seeing? Ortho doctor/Spine specialist

    What Conservative treatments have you had? Physical Therapy

    What diagnostic tests have you had? MRI/ CT-Myleogram, EMG

    I have a small herniated disc at L4/L5, moderate to severe stenosis at L5/S1, pseudoarthrosis at L5/S1,

    What medications are you currently using?

    Name of Medication Oxycontin 20mg-3x daily, oxycodone 15mg-1x daily as needed, Lyrica 75 mg-2x daily

    How long have you been using this? 3 months

    Has surgery been discussed as an option? (If so, what kind) ALIF

    Is there any nerve pain/damage associated? None found

    What is your doctor’s action plan for treating you? ALIF surgery to fix failed fusion.
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 728
    edited 12/30/2015 - 12:02 AM
    My case is somewhat similar to yours. I had a PLIF L4-L5L-S1 in May 2013 only to have a pedicle screw at L5 break 16 months later and the fusion slipped because is was too weak and incomplete to hold on its own. In my redo surgery PLIF L5-S1 (the L4-L5 fusion was good) the recovery was very rough but I think mostly because they also repaired a badly herniated disc at L4-L4 that was crushing my spinal cord. If it had not been for the herniated disc I think the recovery and post op pain would have been more or less the same as the first time. I'm now at 11 months post op and I'm not 100%... but my doctor says the fusion looks better this time... and for sure the nerve pain is gone. My doctor did say that the overall recovery would be longer this time as I'm now a bit older and it's the second time for fusion as the L5-S1 joint. Don't be afraid of it... you are very young and I'm sure your will recover like a million bucks in no time at all.
    Harry - 63 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
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