I saw the surgeon today to go over the results from my recent myelogram/CT scan. The tests were done because I continue to have constant discomfort and pain has gradually gotten worse since January.
The good and bad news is that the tests came back looking great. The only issue is that the fusion is not complete. It actually looks like bone has grown from the top and bottom, but have yet to meet and connect in the middle.
A fascinating visual is seeing bone growth along the length of the facet bolts. My surgeon said he has always suspected this happens with facet bolts, but I am his first patient whose radiographs actually show this to be true.
The bad news is no evidence exists to explain why I still have all this pain and discomfort. My surgeon suspects the low back pain is due to fatigued muscles, but has no clue why I am getting tingling down both legs. He did say I may be experiencing some micro movement since the fusion is not yet complete.
He suggested to continue working with weights and start riding a bike and swimming as additional exercises to help with the muscles. He also told me to remain careful about bending and twisting because I am "taller" (6 foot even). Apparently, tall people have a tendency to have more problems from bending and twisting.
Two other interesting notes ... first, he said that even 3-5 years post-op, most fusion patients still experience some tightness and stiffness when sitting for long periods of time, such as on long car rides. He suggested in these situations, after standing up, do a few stretches before walking away.
Second, he said when doing "strenuous" housework/yard work (being careful, of course), it is a good idea to wear a soft brace for support and protection. So, don't get rid of your braces right away ... they may still be useful on occasion.
I don't see him again until November. Hopefully things will start getting better soon.