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I'm back...with a failed PLIF fusion. 360 fusion incoming.

highluxhhighlux Posts: 22
edited 07/02/2015 - 6:57 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I was on the May 2014 surgery buddy thread. I had a 2 level PLIF done. It's been a year. It failed.

Long story short....my butcher of a surgeon fused my at l3-4 and l4-5. I had complained of pain lower and had nuerogenic bladder condition arise before the fusion and my surgeon ignored what I and my urologist had to day. I should have had s1 fused...as it turns out that was my pain generator the entire time. He based my surgery off of a MRI even he said was of poor diagnostic quality. No injections...disco-gram...myleogram. Nothing.

I have suffered terribly over the last year since the PLIF. Literally in severe pain the whole time. As my failed fusion became evident...my surgeon bailed on me.

I am finally in good hands. Took this Dr. 2 visits and some tests to figure out exactly what was wrong.

I'm now facing a 360. He is going in the front, side and back. Im terrified.

There is a malpractice case against the first surgeon now, due to the mistakes he made.

Work comp has cut me off due to a Dr saying my injury was not work related...even though the Dr. who did my surgery said it was a direct result...and they even paid for the surgery. They took the first chance they could to abandon me before I was at MMI. My mistake for picking the wrong Dr. after my fusion failed. He was a work comp butt kisser Dr.

I'm on my own insurance now. Looks like a month till the 360. Soon as current good Dr. report gets to my lawyer...we are confident work comp will come back around. There is no way they can dodge this.

Couple things I have learned and I want you to take to heart....

Never trust work comp. Get a good lawyer.

Avoid a fusion at all costs. I would have never don't this. It has ruined my life. Unless you are literally dying in pain...do not do it.

I have went from one of the hardest working people I know...to a basket case with anxiety and depression. Constant pain.

I am giving the 360 a shot...because honestly...If I have to exist like I have been the last year...I dont want to live.

This is my hail Mary.

Do not get a fusion....unless you literally cant live with the pain. And be honest with yourself. Cause it can get real ugly real quick.


  • Sorry to hear about this. Good luck with the 360! Mine has been good. Success stories are out there
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • Sorry I can't say I know exactly what your going through but I do know what it's like to deal with incompetent doctors and how workman's comp is. Almost 10 yrs ago I fell of the back of a ups truck at work and landed wrong herniating 3 disc in my lower back to which after 6 month workman's comp said I was as good as I was gonna get and I accepted it stupidly. After dealing with it for yrs the first Nero surgeon I saw saved one disc but refused to do anything else and it didn't help at all. This last surgery I had 5 weeks ago I was released with obvious signs of infection then the dr trying to put me off by saying it's fine it's nothing to worry about its all in you head and refusing to see me on multiple occasions. It took my wife taking pictures of my back showing how it was progressively getting worse sending them to the Dr and threatening him with a law suite and all that to actually get him to agree to see me at which point he did look at my back and it was o wow there's a staph infection you need another surgery. Wish you the best and hope this next surgery helps out
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  • man a tough story. i sincerely hope the next surgery turns things around for you.
    1994 - herniated disc l4/l5 l5/s1 - sciatica - l4/l5 discectomy
    2011 - l4/l5/ l5/s1 herniated disc/scar tissue - sciatica - discectomy
    now - recurrent disc protrusion l5/s1, lots of back pain, considering fusion/adr

  • I can empathize with your situation. If you can find my story on here...I'm going to see if I can copy and paste not to make this about woes me but to hopefully help you feel in some round about way your not alone...and I am afraid at where I am now...
    This can't be happening
  • since what I posted from january n July I went out of work for what was to be a minor surgery out possible 6/8 weeks. Here I am 7 months later pain on left side no longer there... So what's the problem well 2 weeks into the recovery I started a very restricted PT . But noticed my right side started to bother me. So I had a post op MRI W /wo contrast now this would be my 4th MRI in September ... I had a pelvic, lower back, thoracic , 2 of lower back. Now I started to mention to my spine surgeon my right back and hip was starting to be painful so that's why he did the September MRI to rule out re herniation . It showed scar tissue near the root but he said wouldn't cause right sided pain and maybe there is minimal fragment radiologist says possible re herniation but again would affect right side....so he does a left sided epidural spinal block does nothing for pain but leaves me in bed with severe side effects and a spinal headache well since then and the PT my condition had worsened to before surgery... I did not have a fusion . Btw I am out of work and have now lost my position and pain just increases. So we order another MRI now do a different type of injection in the right side, no relief and at least side effects are tolerable ... So now dr is baffled ... I did Aqua therapy, I did land therapy any activity makes the pain worse I have been diagnosed with microdisectomy , sciatica, pelvic dysfunction, sacroilliac joint dysfunction , radiculopathy on right side, and my sacrum seems to be like an inflamed source of pain I can't sit long, walk long, bend , my husband lifts me up in the am from bed because sometimes I feel weighted like paralyzed and lately my arms are going numb like awakens me as if a pitch fork went thru the joints can't even do a full body stretch without pain barely sleeping ... So I was referred to colleague and at first he was very intrigued ordered spect scan and possible si injection followed up with him today totally different appt I wasn't on the schedule until the 8th , no it was the 5th, never reviewed films with myself and my husband said everything looks great but u have uptake near T 7 so I want you to have a cervical scan ? gave me a quick look over briefly talked I paid for a follow up visit and now suggests a rheumatologist who BTW can't see me until March . I'm losing my mind . Is anyone been through this ? I've lost a lot my quality of life, my job, which is income and I might add med benefits, just want the answer still no straight diagnosis I don't sit around all day I try to stay active but pain gets worse and no relief with PT eIther. Thoughts ? Anyone

    Also will add since posting this al blood work is fine...seems that there is another nerve or 2 more likely to be causing my pain..but spine surgeon or neuro didnt tell me this a family friend who is a cardiologist.....crural nerve, and femoral nerve? anyone have this?

    Desperate please help....

    Highlux this was my first real part of my story...I'll continue with the second which might be much of the same but i'll share too what I've learned
    This can't be happening
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  • edited 07/03/2015 - 2:17 PM
    there seems to be very many different "terms" used to describe the surgery on has endured. I was told I was having a microdisectomy , however as I got further in after surgery, due to pain 2 weeks after left side minimal but increased on right, I learned I had a laminectomy as well as the microdisectomy, which I researched on my own because I had the rarest of disk herniation which is an extrusion. Jelly ballons up pushes out and breaks off and lodges into the nerve. I did not have any instrumentation just the disk fragment removed from the nerve. I too felt great first 2 weeks followed drs instruction to T even had a family member come stay with me...What brought me to Dr. was all left sided leg pain from an injury, shoveling snow and fell, never had any back pain. But MRI confirmed the disk extrusion. I too started having pain about 2 weeks after surgery. Left sided and now right sided my surgeon did a post surgical MRI. Came back with scar tissue but doesnt look to be right sided and report said possible re herniation but from disk dr didn't feel he saw anything to suggest re herniation.
    I unfortunately am 12 months post op from my surgery call it what you will no instrumentation and two failed post surgical epidurals one severe, a "wet tap" no patch just bed rest recovered in 5 days...I had toradol, I had steroid packs ..I've had land PT water PT, traction, have had 9 mris , one radioactive bone scan, which had an uptake at T 7???whats that???? I had full arthritic lyme, blood work, xrays, a nerve test which I question because I had been on valium at the time of the test then I read later in an article you should not take a sedative drug with this test????and aside fromLast MRI read granulation l4 l5, scar tissue and some neuroforaminal encroachment?

    But all still left sided nothing to explain---- severe right sided pain----- back is a dull ache,now because its had surgery I'm sure I have soft tissue swelling below incision site but I've described its like sitting on a rock on the right buttock for hours and my tail bone is so predominant now my pain doesn't go down the back of leg like most sciatic sufferers... mine goes around hip increase of where your hip sits and travels over top of leg into inner thigh feels like a vice on the nerve sometimes into the lower extremity. Sometimes numbess and leg weak ness hardest to get up in the am.. Ive been diagnosed since surgery with SI joint, femoral nerve dysfunction, periformis, I don't think many doctors diagnose this, but every time they try something to help these conditions they just cause more pain...including PT...So now neuro surgeon is suggesting what ever you call disk removal and instrumentation and fusion and clean up scar tissue, I am going to bring to his attention on Monday when we discuss that I did read on another thread that someone had particles from their laminectomy that did not show up on the MRI which is what I feel may be happening in my case maybe something so untraceable by test that they can only see once going in ?? is rubbing against this scar tissue, has itself wedged into a nerve and because my activity brings on pain maybe its freaking out my peripheral nerve system???

    Has anyone had something going on but drs really could "see" until they were in?

    Unexplained pain on opposite side since surgery? Brought on by activity or sitting but NOT DOWN BACK OF LEG over the top to inner thigh????

    My next step which freaks me out is surgery, and I just want my quality of life I can deal with a few flare ups but this is 12 months of constant...and answers or similarities please post...desperate....THANK YOU
    This can't be happening
  • edited 07/04/2015 - 2:51 AM
    with the medical profession. I was in that dying pain. quality of life became zero...I found the test on line at 3 am searching for answers. If done correctly I would recommend it for reasons as your situation. One surgeon was suggesting a 2 level fusion, well I didn't want one but this discogram was the answer. I only had l4-l5 bone fusion.

    Ive shared so much with you but I am 7 weeks post op. I am wearing the corset all the time but I'd think by now things would start to show improvement. I'm not driving I'm walking around the house or a store as much as I can relying on others obviously to get me out and about. Would you share what went wrong? Symptoms that it failed?

    I try to help with preparing dinner...I am in such pain clenching my teeth to get through it. Walking is even becoming painful, I can't sleep at all. In the morning I feel "paralyzed" takes every strength I have to get up. Pain is back in leg. Everyone says its "recovery" pain. Well 11 months after the micro I said something was wrong all the other tests proved me wrong all neg until I did that discogram...Now I'm 7 weeks out and i have days worse then pre op.

    What can you share with me now that I gave my story and a ton of xxxx I left out.....how did they see it failed? my first xray looked good but I'm noticing my swelling is coming back too.

    This can't be happening
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    I have never been a candidate for surgery, so can only imagine how awful it has been for you with the failed surgery.

    But I can identify with the depression and anxiety. I include my feelings with my list of symptoms to doctors.
    I started to see a psychiatrist and did some talk therapy.
    It does not need to be a forever kind of thing. But it can be quite useful while transitioning with your awful pain and soon to be surgery.

    I do take antidepressants and anti anxiety medication. I decided to continue with the medication as I found it extremely helpful. So, I see psychiatrist every three months for med management.

    My inner negative self talk of hopelessness ..and helpless...is almost non existent.
    I am more hopeful ..... during the pain and accompanying issues, and with interruptions of life and it's difficulties with relationships or life's difficult situations that often get thrown our way.
    The feeling of hope was missing from life for many years. I'm so grateful to be able to have that feeling again.

    Best of luck with your upcoming surgery. Please keep us posted on how you're doing!

    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • I had my bone fusion 8 weeks ago, however i'm not seeing much of a difference from pre op pain. I did need the surgery because I had an annular tear. But I am certain the damage is done to the nerves. I am in the corset and I am using a cane for support when walking. I am being hopeful that over time the pain will resolve but I was disabled 11 months from the failed surgery, so now I'm looking at another 6- 12 months of recovery. no clearance for PT yet. I have an 8 week follow up next week and I don't have much change at all pain wise and I'm finding when I am walking its painful, pain in legs and hips and I'm having increased swelling at the surgical site and some type of buldge near the incision. Siting at a 90 degree is impossible, sleeping on my back is not working for me anymore without pain, and only can "rest" which is about 3-4 hours sleep on the right side.
    Savage thank you for sharing and I am glad that you are getting help and feeling hopeful again. Can't let pain control our lives.
    Highlux does any of my current symptoms post op sound like your fusion that didn't take?
    This can't be happening
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