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Pain 6 months post ALIF & instrumentation failure question

oonamilkooonamilk Posts: 62
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hey everybody. It has been a long time since I posted here. I hope you are all doing well as you can be. :-)

Another question: Anything similar happen?

I had ALIF at L5-S1 Oct 2011. My doctor confirmed my fusion solid in Feb, and I started PT. All was going well, I was progressing, etc, and then about 2 weeks ago I started having an awful pain I my hip, groin, and shooting down my leg. My SI joint was ON FIRE. My PT did some mobilization on my pelvis/SI, and OMG- worst ever. My pubic bone was killing me - kept me up at night- and my SI joints and hip pain were awful. A few days later I went back to PT, and they did some more soft tissue work that helped with the SI pain a little bit, but not wonderful.

They sent me back to my surgeon who said 2 things:
I could have both or either of SI dysfunction and another anular tear at L4-L5, which has already been noted to be degenerating, but not as bad as L5-S1 was at time of surgery. If it still hurts in 2 weeks, get another MRI.

This is incredibly upsetting. Things were going so well, moving forward, I was feeling better - and then this!

Also, while I was in the waiting room of my doctor, I spoke to a gentleman who had the same surgery as I, but at L4-L5, and he showed me his x-ray with a broken screw on his cage! OMG! What is the failure rates of these instrumentation? How awful! Poor guy was in visible pain - my heart goes out to him. To go through ALIF and then have a screw break... How common is this?

My instrumentation is fine so far, but seeing his x-ray was scary. I have a relative who had to have both hip replacements redone because of recalled replacement joints. Not a pleasant ordeal, and certainly not something I wish upon anybody.

As always, thanks Spineys for listening.


  • I just had a terrible pain recur (right back and leg) at 7 weeks. The surgeon put me on a medrol dose pack and rest for 2 weeks. It did help some. I also have the rods, screws in the back - had the anterior/posterior. The surgeon said the way he did my fusion it is almost impossible to fail.

    I am back to walking a mile or so now. They did put me back on painkillers. He also said I might need MRI and a nerve block for an inflamed nerved but I am like you with a terribly diseased spine plus retrolithesis and scoliolsis. He said practically every nerve was filled with junk during my laminectomy.

    The doctor's nurse did mention that some physical therapists are inclined to go a "little crazy" to post surgical patients and can cause problems.

    Maybe after a short rest, you could try water therapy or just walking.
    Have you tried Tramadol or Ultram? Also Elavil (an antidepressant) is good for spinal pain. If you are fused, maybe nsaids. If the pain is really bad, there must be something they can give you. If you have leg pain, there is Lyrica or Topamax.(seizure /migraine meds for neuropathy).

    Good luck to you and God Bless. I know how you feel. I have been suffering for so long.
    Mary Anne
    Take care and God Bless,
    Mary Anne
  • I am sorry you are having such a bad run. It is so frustrating when you think you are finally "getting there". I sympathise.

    I had my fusion in Oct 2009 and I started having issues in the April 2010. I had a lot of front of thigh pain and had some awful flare ups where I ended up in bed on all my old meds!

    At the time my surgeon wasn't bothered so I tried physio, accupuncture etc etc.

    My problems were caused by an infection, mostly, but I have recently been told I have facet issues at l4l5 so I think they played a part too.

    I hope you get some relief and a positive outcome.

    Good luck to you - both of you.

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  • i was wondering how you were getting on as we both had ALIF around the same time {you are about a month or so ahead of me } i as sorry that you now maybe require more surgery !! its company sueD from the uk also needed a redo or her operation too ..i hope i dont i have a check in a few weeks and my pain is NO better !! good luck i hope all goes well
    tony {UK}
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
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