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Has anyone else who has had a spinal fusion had this kind of problem so late after the fusion.



  • Jen,
    Hopefully your MRI will offer something explaining your hip, groin, and leg pain. That is not typical of the L4-L5 area. I am quickly learning how frustrating it is trying to get answers when your images don't offer an explanation...Could it possibly be pain from limping or favoring one side for so long before/after your surgery?
    I love that, "pain being associated with the mind" I've heard that myself several times in the last few weeks. Makes you want to scream doesn't it. Then you go home and start second guessing yourself.

    I don't necessarily believe there is anything wrong with my fusion at all. I am fully fused! I really feel like the surgeons I seen were so busy trying to defend the fusion that they weren't bothering to try and find the source of my current symptoms. There is, after all, more than just that one level in my back.
    Hang in there yourself. I hope you get answers for your pain. You said you were only 2 months post fusion. I hope you have a very successful fusion and everything heals well.

    Take Care and think positive.
  • Meydey,
    Thanks for your encouraging post! I'm not usually so negative. I knew I should have waited to post! It has been 21 months since my fusion. I do have known permanent nerve damage at L4-L5 from previous surgery but they do not feel it is "causing my current symptoms." Removing the scar tissue is out of the question but they don't believe it is "causing my current symptoms." It's just so frustrating when they say, "I don't have an explanation for your pain. Feel Better." And then they are done. As if we aren't stressed enough trying to figure out how to get things done in our home, fighting with disability company's if we are blessed enough to have one, and employers etc.

    I'm done having my little pity party. (for now)
    I need to and will get motivated to start the whole process with more doctors all over again...
    Thanks and take care.
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  • Still playing the "hurry up and wait game." Two surgeons have said I am not a surgical candidate. 2 sets of Facet Joint Injections and they ruled me out for the Rhizeotomy. (sp?) My most recent examination from my physiatrist showed deterioating relexes now in the left leg. (Ah, I could have told him that. My left leg has now started with some of the same symptoms as the right.) According to him, all my symptoms reflect problems with the levels above and below my fusion. He is finally ordering a Ct mylegram since the MRI is obviously not showing him what is going on. He wants me to wait until after Christmas though. (He says they can sometimes make you worse for a period of time.) Yippee!
    He also mentioned just finding a surgeon that will just do an exploratory. Originally I was against that. Not so much anymore. It is obvious I need some help here before all this nerve damage becomes permanent. Do I keep waiting for him and each of these long steps or...I wonder if I should just start going surgeon to surgeon until someone listens to me.
  • Hello,
    I had a PLIF and laminectomy L4 L5 & S1 in Feb. 08. Although it didnt rid my "foot" pain, it did help in the sciatica and being able to stand up straight. A few months after the surgery, I started getting this horrible pain left side of the incision. Sometimes it was bad that I couldnt move. I would lay on ice for a half hour and would get better. I had xrays and a really really good physican's ass't noticed that I have now developed arthritis in the sacroilliac joint. The pain sometimes can be unbearable but if I take it easy, its fine. I am now on SSD. Hope this information helps. Take care AND take it easy!!
  • Okay! Thanks Ann. The sacroilliac joint is one area no doctor has mentioned to me yet. I do know that the weather has a huge affect on me! I appreciate the input! We will see what the CT mylegram says. I just had another set of spinal xrays today.
    I love this forum. You get so much good stuff. Then you have to figure out how to tactfully ask your questions so you don't get thrown out of the doctors office. LOL! Seriously, You guys are all great!

    Merry Christmas to you all or Happy Holidays!
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  • I might have missed this - but have you had a discogram done?

    Also - google image 'Dermatome Maps' and see if you can determine what level corresponds with your pain - particularly since you mention that the dr. keeps focusing on the fusion and ignoring the fact that you have more than one level in your back!
  • No discogram done. I am scheduled for a CT Mylegram Jan 5th. I am hopeful it will show something that the hardware was hiding in the MRI. I did take a look at the Dermatome Maps and I am sure I am having problems with the level above and below the fusion. I am sure the L5-S1 is the worse of the two. Nervous about the mylegram but glad to be getting it done. I'll be even happier when it's behind me. At least I finally feel like we are going to do something productive.

  • I had a two level PLIF last dec and had my hardware removed in Sept. I had alot of problems and am still in alot of pain. My ortho had me do a cat scan today and mon I have a MRI. Then on the 5th I will go back and see him with scans in hand. He says something is still wrong and he wants to find it. I had a tear in the disc above the l-4, and it wasnt bad enough to do with the other two. In fact he told me he wouldnt have done it because it wasnt bad enough for the risk of problems with another level being fused. So I am hoping that is not the problem, but the tests will tell. I understand how you are feeling. Its tough after a year, not feeling any better than when you went in. I have had 9 surgeries in the past 2 years. Not all back, but it has been an ordeal, I just hope I dont have to go through another fusion, i dont know if i can deal with it. Good luck and I will be checking on you to see how you come out with your appt. Keep me in touch with how you are doing. Love Robin
  • Here I am, still diligently searching for answers into this pain. Of course countless test, procedures and consultations later and I am no further than where I was before it all started. Sounds like a familiar tune doesn't it?

    I went to see my doctor following my Ct Myelogram. He said the report really didn't reveal much other than a small bulge at the L3 level that would explain my worsening reflexes and hip and thigh pain. (He did request a copy of the images to view them for himself and said he would call me if he saw something different.)

    We then went on to talk about pain management and make changes to the meds. Once we have the pain under control we should start PT again. He also very kindly stated I just may very well be one of those small percentages of patients that have these big surgeries and are left with horrible pain. (A very tactful FBSS chat.)

    I went home and obtained the report from the myelogram myself and of course I'm no doctor but I read more than a small bulge on this report. At the risk of boring you silly, I’m sure no one wants to try and interpret this thing, I'll just give you a few highlights:

    T11-12 Mild posterior disc bulging and spurring without spinal canal stenosis or impingement
    L3-L4 Circumferential disc bulging eccentric posterolaterally to the left.
    L4-L5 Post surgical changes...marginal bony spurring, disc space narrowing and facet joint disease resulting in mild to moderate bilateral neroforaminal narrowing more on the right than the left.
    L5-S1 Small left posterior paracentral focal disc protrusion that abuts but does not compress the adjacent thecal sac.

    But evidently it is nothing significant and not the source of my pain...

    So, I had L4-L5 fused and the other levels are slowly failing. Maybe the nerves aren’t impinged when I am laying flat getting all these images done but sitting and standing for any length of time? Wowsers!

    I have begged my husband to get the knife and the screwdriver and just take this hardware OUT! So far he isn’t going for it. (Maybe he would feel better qualified if he stayed at a Holiday Inn for a few days.)

    Now What?
    If you made it this far,
    Thanks for letting me Ramble.
  • just came across this very interesting thread. I had multi level hybrid ADR L3/L4, L4/L5 plus ALIF L5/S1 in April 2008. Never really recovered and after more tests had a revision fusion L5/S1 with hardware plus complete SIJ fusion in April 2009. And I'm still in lots of pain despite Oxycontin/Oxynorm and don't know what to do. My surgeon says he doesn't know why I'm in pain and I'm off to see Pain Management Clinic next week. But I don't want pain to have to manage and see this as being defeatist. Anyone know if ADR can cause problems/pain with facet joints? Pain is overwhelming and constantly nagging, getting worse as the day goes on. Also getting sharp bolts of lightening type pain low back and sharp pains in my left foot. Considering getting a second opinion as no one can tell me if this is "normal" and to be expected or not. Feels like something is wrong but pain is dragging everything out of me.
    Maybe we are in pain because it just takes this long to heal - but no one says that.
    Brian London UK
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