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Fusion cancelled due to Discitis

keckmoch1kkeckmoch1 Posts: 7
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have been battling terrible back pain since 4 weeks out of my last surgery on May 11. I have had 2 MRI's, a CT Scan, blood tests and X-Rays. Today I went into talk to my Dr about my fusion only 2 days away and he tells me he wants another MRI to rule out discitis. He called me tonight at 8pm to let me know that I need to get a biopsy ASAP and I am being referred to a Infectious Disease Doctor. I have read a little bit about discitis and am looking for more answers. Does everyone with this end up in the hospital? How long is the recovery time? Will I ever walk normal again? I am only 31 years old, I have two beautiful young kids..what kind of Dad will this allow me to be?

Scared in Washington


  • Welcome to spine-health. Have you been in a lot of pain since your micro d in May? Is it the same pain as pre surgery or a new kind of pain?

    Did your doctor send in a prescription for you for antibiotics right away, while is he getting you into the infectious disease doctor?

    Did your disc reherniate is that why you were going to have a fusion in two days?

    From what little I know about it, you usually need to be on antibiotics and a back brace, but unsure about a hospital stay.

    Hope that you are able to get in to see the doctor quickly and they can clear this up for you.

    Please keep us updated.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • After 4 weeks I woke up in terrible back pain and this weird pain in my front right hip. The leg pain was gone but with this pain I can't walk very far without crutches or a walker. Everyday it feels like it gets worse and I can feel the L5 rub on my pelvis.
    No, I haven't been on any antibiotics. I just recently went for a second opinion and this is when discitis was mentioned. My referral dr has put me through a barrage of testing and had a hunch this was it but had a hard time seeing it. He sent me for a MRI yesterday and personally called within and hour of it being taken. He said not being on antibiotics will help with the biopsy. My first dr had kinda just figured I had a disc failure because of the two previous MD.
    I'm sure glad my wife told me to get a second opinion, I found a dr who actually cares what I have instead of just going into surgery. But I'm still really scared of this, seems to be more serious than a fusion with worse side effects.
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  • Infectious Disease Doctor is absolutely the best thing for you. If you have an infection, you need it completely resolved before having a fusion. We have seen many people on SH with non-fusions due to infection.

    Good luck!!

  • Completed the lumbar biopsy this morning, now we have the wait....

    Have my first appt. with the infectious disease doctor on

    Still feeling really down and depressed I have been fighting stuff off for over 8 months and thought I saw a light at the end of the tunnel...now this. Guess I shouldn't get my hopes up...thank you for your support Karen.
  • to see that your biopsy is over and done with. It is so hard when you have waited a long time for something and then something like this comes along. I hope by Thursday, you mean tomorrow. Thankfully your doctor's have been really looking out for you this week and are quickly having the tests done and getting you in to the specialist.

    Great that you are seeing the infectious disease doctor. Hopefully there will be a quick and easy resolution to this for you ie antibiotics and back brace. Is it possible that when they clear this up, you might not need a fusion? I may have misunderstood your previous post, but sounds like they originally thought there was disc failure, but maybe not?

    Glad your wife had you go for another opinion, so wonderful to have the great support and advice of a significant other (mine also is my greatest support and catches things I might not)

    You will get through this and continue to be a wonderful dad to your two children.

    Let us know how it goes tomorrow, you will be in my thoughts

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
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  • Just seen this thread and can imagine how worried you are but I too am thinking maybe this may mean you wont need a fusion and that this infection is the cause of your pain after all. Thinking of you and will look out for your further news with hope.
  • Yes, the MRI orginally showed the disc failing but we now believe that is because of discitis. My doctor says that most of the time after this infection the body fuses the bones together naturally. (I assume this is the reason for the brace.)

    I have been pretty positive though the past 3 months of surgery and pain but the past 2 days have been the worst. I feel like I am getting better. The other good thing the lastest MRI showed was that there is no more herniations and the saitic nerve is no longer being pinched. Most of the pain I am feeling now is from the infection and the grinding of the L5 and the pelvis.

    Thanks for your support...It's nice to have an outlet during this tough time.
  • You and your wife are terrific and brave. You as a pair thought something was wrong and continued to push for answers. I hope you have an insightful appointment tomorrow. You ask what kind of a Dad you could be...strong and one to be proud of.
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • I had l4-s1 fusion and the doc found something on follow up mri shortly after fusion said it probably fluid and that was that. well the pain in my back gradually got worse and worse, the surgeon and attending seemed to shine this off three years passed and the pain got so bad i could not move
    the doc finally got a mri and that little spot on the mri turned out to be a serious staph infection right at one of the screws i was imediatly sent to the infectios disease doctor and blood work and biopsies was treated for six weeks with antibiotics iv pic line. my question is can this infection come back since the hardware is still in and this infection brewed so long and the pain is returning worse than before. i tell my doc the pain is back and they dont seem to think the infection can come back but symptoms are in the same area an visibly swollen. do i need help or grin and bare it like usual.
  • I also had discitis after my first fusion. The infection caused the fusion to fail and destroyed quite a bit of bone. My surgeon was adamant that the infection could not be cured without removing and replacing the hardware. The reason for this is that the infection gets trapped on the surface of the hardware in a biofilm. I was very keen to try anything to avoid more surgery, but he convinced me that removal and replacement of the infected hardware was all that was going to help.

    In my case, I was admitted for IV antibiotics first, then the disc space was cleaned out from the front and new cages placed. I then had further IV antibiotics and ten days later they cleaned out the bone from the back and replaced all the screws and rods. I got more IV antibiotics after and was discharged in a rigid brace worn 24/7 for 3 months. The reason for this as I understood it was that the bone was weakened by the infection. The one screw did loosen but the hole filled in with new bone at the three month mark.

    I am fine now, with no signs of infection and good bone growth on the way to full fusion.

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