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Surgery ???

blazerblazer Posts: 784
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Update: i had a 2 level l4/l5 l5/s1, on 3/19/10. TLIF
Most recent CTscan 1/11, shows l4/l5 completely fused.
L5/s1, no signs of fusing.
I get another CTscan in 6/11, and see my NS on 7/6/11, and was told if no improvement, i will need a ALIF with a plate put in there. I assume to stabilize my spine.

O.k. my question is, and i looked around this site and could'nt find an answer.

Is that a necessary surgery?
Meaning are there any future compliciations if i dont get that surgery, or if w/c will not approve the surgery.
Can my spine just stay in that condition, or will i eventually be worse off, then i am now.

I'm well aware these are just opinions, and there are no Dr's here.

Thank's in advance.


  • How do you feel? Is your pain getting worse, or are you functioning OK, and its just a matter than the films don't look good? Why did you have the fusion in the first place? Where there any suggestions of bone stimulator or is there a danger in waiting for second level to fuse? I have seen some research that suggest your body can still "fuse" between the first and second post-op year. I would guess that if your solid at one level (L4-L5), that puts the adjacent levels (L5-S1, and L3-L4) even under more stress, so it probably is going to need "something" done at some point. If they are suggesting a plate, they are probably concerned that one vertebrae is slipping over the other, which yes, does need to be fixed.

    I think if I were in your boat, I would wonder 1) why didn't I fuse the first time (activity level too much, smoking, NSAIDs etc.), and make sure that doesn't happen a second time and 2) what are the risks of a second surgery? Is there something that can be done differently, i.e. BMP, Mastergraft etc. to make sure you fuse the second time? Most surgeons will tell you second or revision fusions are much less predictable than first surgeries, so you are appropriately concerned.
  • Thanks; and yup my pain levels are the same as they were as before i had my 1st surgery.
    Bad pain in back and butt area. And pain down left leg. Also the cold wet feeling in parts of left leg and right leg.

    I have fused before 2 cervical fusion in the early 90's and now the l4/l5, I do smoke, but i wonder if i did to much to soon regarding movement. After my back surgery.
    NS put BMP in the disc space, and i used a BGS, for 6 months. And a back brace for 4 months.

    If i do need another surgery, i will be in a worse situation then from the 1st one, cause my kids live with me, and my son is buying a house with his fiance, and they will be gone, so it will just be my daughter with me.

    And my fiancial situation is getting worse, as this house is gonna be foreclosed on pretty soon if it dont sell 1st.

    So i guess i just hope for the best, and wait to see my NS in july.

    Thanks again.
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  • thats no good you still have all your pre surgical pain still happening..... that may give you an answer there to your dilema

    you have some time before you see your surgeon and if you decide to go ahead with surgery, try to schedule at a time that isnt so stressfull, re house, and organizing things , so your recovery will be in the most beneficial state that you can make it

    sorry your having thses difficulties
    hang in there
    ohh and ask the surgeon, if you dont have surgery, what is the likely scenario, its your choice and you dont have to have it , if you feel strongly enough that you dont want it
  • Hi; and thanks.

    Yup, i think i know what road i'll be heading down.
    To the operating room again.

    Guess i was just hoping for other options. With this being a w/c injury, my financial and having a home for my daughter and myself situation will not get any better until i reach MMI.
    Every day i'm in so much pain i cant function and would like to go lay down, but i never do because thats just not me.
    I've always worked all day long, i just cant get used to not doing anything.

    I'm gonna ask NS what will happen if i dont get surgery if i need it, but i dont think he will have any good answers for me.

    O well, anyway what are your doctor's telling you?
    Is there anything they can do to make you more comfortable? Hpoing so for you.

    Thanks again, and my best to ya.
  • Howdy Jim,

    Sorry to hear you're going through this. I'm about to get updated MRI's, blood work and nerve conduction all redone to see where I am at. Since I had a cracked vertebra, chances are there for me to hit the OR again too. Since I don't know, I have been doing the what ifs in a calm fashion. I pretty well know my answer if I am still cracked.

    I'll also find out if my back needs to be done. Sigh.. I relay this Jim because internally "we" "our bodies" know the answer. Again, sorry you're in this boat.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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  • your not use to laying down and resting, but you no it may give you some relief from the pain, prhaps you could give it try

    thanks for asking about me , i just got off the phone with my dad and told him about my disease and there being no cure, then i started crying

    its kinda funny, he quite old and doesnt like that he cant walk as far without some mild pain, he walks 5 klm a day

    anyway he told me not to give up hope

    well you never no jim , you may still fuse that level yet, and if not , considering you have had succesfull fusions , if you decide to go ahead , all may turn out really well

    take care
  • I think we are in the same boat blazer. I was about to ask the same questions that you asked.I had the same back surgery on 01/09 l4 l5 s1 .well the w/c sent me to a QME doctor and he is saying that l4 l5 is not fuse .I told my doctor and he recommended a ct scan which i did but i don't have the results yet. i have a feeling that there is still something wrong with my back because I can't stand the pain. I really don't know what i am going to do . if the ct scan is positive .that means more surgery?. we are in the same boat together.
  • Brenda, hi and i fully agree. After you go thru this one time you dont forget the sympton's or pain. You know whether you wanna admit it or not what road your gonna be going down. Good luck with your future Dr. visits, and hope for the best but expect the worse.

    Flower, i wish i could offer a resolution for your pain, but i cant, i can only offer support for you.
    I can totally understand your dad"s feelings. When your child hurts we as parents also hurt.

    payo,yup the pain is the same, and with me even if i push on something i get the sharp pain in my lower spine,and i can feel the instability.
    Good luck with your ctscan, but like i told Brenda you will always recognize the pain, after you have gone thru it once.

    If we get a designated driver we can drink some beers on the boat.

  • I am really sorry to hear that you are facing another surgery. @)

    I agree with flower, that you should try lying down when you have bad pain. I find that it really helps me, and after 20 or 30 minutes, I am generally able to carry on much more comfortable.

    I would imagine that if you don't get that level stabilised, the pain will just get worse.

    I really hope that you can find a solution that will set you on a new road to getting your life back.

    You may have read that I am having problems with my neck now, but hoping that conservative treatment can help me without resorting to another surgery. There are 2 discs indenting my cord though, so not sure that they will be able to get them to pull off the cord.

  • blazer said:
    Brenda, hi and i fully agree. After you go thru this one time you dont forget the sympton's or pain. You know whether you wanna admit it or not what road your gonna be going down. Good luck with your future Dr. visits, and hope for the best but expect the worse.

    If we get a designated driver we can drink some beers on the boat.

    Thanks very much Jim. I have the MRI's on Thursday, and the blood work on Friday. The Neurologist assessment and nerve conduction is on the 13th next month. Tick, tick, tick, tick (as time goes on!)

    Make sure there is some Bud Lights there my friend! (G)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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