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Problem seven years after lumbar spine fusion

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,550
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello...I had lumbar spine fusion on L4-5 seven years ago and have had no problems whatsoever until Jan 1st of this year when something just clicked in my back.Below is part of my MRI result recieved yesterday.......what i am worried about is will i need more surgery or is this a condition that can be dealt with by other methods.......i am 59.
I would appreciate any help.


All of the lumber intervertebral discs are degenerate.
Extensive posterior pedicule screws are identified at the L4 and L5 levels..There is a central disc protusion at the L 3-4 level which does cause mild thecac sac commpression at this position.The thecal sac here is probabably significantly commpressed.
There is further disc protusion at the L4-5 level which is pushing the thecal sac posteriorly and does extend a little bit laterally into the origin of both lateral recesses where it may indent the descending S-1 nerve roots as as they enter the lateral recess bilaterally.The appearances here are probably significant as well.
Appearances suggest two central disc protusions,one at L 5-S1 and one at L 3-4.


  • Hi Roblondon,

    I had lumbar fusion years ago, and in the last 2 years had some difficulties... I had facet injections that worked great for me (an uncomfortable procedure, but after a day I was fine). As for the meaning and implications of your MRI results, thats for a doctor... I hope you have an appointment soon so that you can have some advice which will help point you in the right direction. Obvioulsy the compression on the spinal cord is important; but I don't know if lumbar disc herniations have the same likelihood of recovering with conservative treatments like cervical discs can... bet theres other here on the site who may know though!

    Best of luck!
    L4-L5 fusion 1998; ACDF C4-6 2008; DDD
  • Thank you for the reply...injections if needed would not really concern me but the thought of another operation most certainly does.....
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  • Hi Rob,
    I assume you have another appt with your doc?
    I have been told that until the actual doc see's the MRI the reports are a guide and that numerous doctors will review and see different things.

    Only you and your doc will and can decide on the treatment. In the meantime, take care and try not to worry too much.
  • Yes, I agree...wait until you speak with your spinal specialist before starting to worry about "what ifs."

    The radiologist that wrote the report used particularly non-specific language! Nothing jumps out as being significant or something that would require surgery. But the language makes it difficult to tell how much a nerve might be being compressed by the bulges. For example, he notes a "mild thecal sac compression" and then states next that this might be significant.

    Actually, I've never seen a report written in such non-specific language!!

    In any case, it does not indicate any problem that came on suddenly. Everything points to degenerative changes, caused both by aging and by having a one level fusion. You will need to see the specialist to see what effect these changes are having on your spine.

    Good luck. Hope it can be treated conservatively.
  • Thank you for the replies,yes i will see the specialist then see what develops,probably going paranoid thinking about a possible fusion op again i suppose.
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