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Potential ALIF and SI JOINT FUSION due to non fusion after PLIF with hardware

I had a failed l4/l5 fusion surgery and already have hardware. After a year and no fusion the doctor is suggesting doing 2 SI injections to see if that is a problem with the constant pain even on meds or if it is because of the non fusion of the PLIF fusion/hardware surgery. If they decide to do the ALIF what can I expect after being on several meds for over a year? What about the SI fusion? He said this time they would be taking bone from my hip area to use as fusion and another doctor would have to be present to move my organs and such and that it is a little more dangerous. I really dont care about that aspect. I am worried about the pain since the first surgery has left me mentally scared to death due to the pain involved and 6 days in the hospital. Anyways any body been through this? Thanks
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Comments

  • Sheri76Sheri76 Michigan Posts: 639
    No, I've only had a L4-5 fusion with laminectomy, March 2105. My X-rays say fusing has gone well, that all seems okay, and all the pain on right side prior to surgery was gone right after surgery. I didn't have any bone taken from my hip.

    The issues I have now are walking, like against a force with downward compression torque like pressure. Sometimes standing feels like there is something loose, or tangling by sacrum/tailbone area. Inflamation sets in easily, and if it gets real bad, it feels like I'm pregnant out my back. 

    Researching SI joint fusions, I have read one on the ifuse one, but haven't read enough to form an opinion yet. Is that the one you were referring to? This one only shows it done posterior, referred as less invasive. Although, it seems less invasive can also mean a quick temporary fix. But that video didn't look temporary though.

    I will be seeing my neurosurgeon soon, but I'm sure hoping talk of another fusion won't be spoken of, depending on what he finds. If nothing is found there, they will take a closer look at my hips. 

    I have had a SI joint injection, earlier this year, but didn't make any difference. 

    Sorry to hear your fusion failed. Hopefully things will go better this next time.
  • Tom ATom A KentuckyPosts: 28
    Hey Ekegelmann, Twenty years ago I was taking five Tylox a day for nine months before my first fusion at L4 L5 where they harvested bone from my hip to use with my procedure. I could not lay down for more than two hours per pill and had horrible leg pains. I'm not going to lie, it hurt like hell. Eleven shots of morphine just to get me out of ICU. They had me hooked up to a morphine pump that I could activate every ten minutes. The doctor said that I pushed that button for two days non stop. I had no bowl tones for forty eight hours and my surgeon said that I felt full surgical pain. Walking always helped and by day four I was only taking oral meds and went home. All my nerve pain was gone. I had the surgical pain, but in a weird way I enjoyed/laughed at it. Within two weeks I was off all meds and in about a year I started playing softball again and went over fifteen very active years before fusion two. 
    Yes it will hurt. Try and reduce your meds prior to surgery. Maybe practice meditation and learn to eat pain. As for using bone from your hip, I have had two fusions and the one with my hip bone is solid and the other one with a cage at L3 L4 failed.
    Good luck and if you are ready for the pain it might not be as bad as you seem to be worried about. 
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  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 962
    edited 06/18/2016 - 4:26 PM

    Erik

    I also had a failed L5-S1 fusion and they had to do a complete redo of that level 18 months after my first surgery.   The recovery was no cake walk... the first 1-2 weeks were hell and the overall recovery is a longggg road.   You're a lot yonger than me so hopefully that should help. Taking bone from your hip should be a good step even through this will give you another source of pain and discomfort for awhile.   As far as pain meds the only thing I can say is that if what they give you doesn't work ask for something different... there are lots of options now days.  For me time release Oxycodone worked pretty good at killing the pain both before and after the surgery. 

    Harry - 65 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • ekegelmannekegelmann MichiganPosts: 13
    Thanks for the words, sounds like its gonna be hell either way. I know its not the SI joint because Ive had zero bone growth after my ALIF fusion on Feb 12th 2015. Bone isnt going to magically grow since my last CT scan in March. So I am prepared for the worst. Ive reduced meds sice January in hoping that meds with help when im in the hospital. I will have support at home and if all comes to the worst ill go to a rehab to get some privacy. Ive got a 3 and 5 year old that just dont understand that after a surgery I can wrestle! Oh well, pain eating I will be doing! Is the pain different from a ALIF to a PLIF and how bad is the bone harvesting pain site?
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 962
    edited 06/18/2016 - 10:49 PM

    Erik

    In my case the bone harvest pain wasn't all that bad... after a couple of weeks I didn't even notice it anymore.  The toughest thing is if you wake up from surgery with nerve pain.  On my fist fusion surgery I woke-up with zero nerve pain... but on my second fusion surgery with the same surgeon I woke-up with ALL of the pre-op nerve pain and more.  It was horrible... it took 4 long months to go away.  Hopefully you will be one of the lucky ones and wake-up with zero nerve pain.  In my case both my surgeries were PLIF so I don't know ALIF vs PLIF pain... but I'm sure somebody out there does. Besides the first couple of weeks the other tough challenge is the long haul to fusion and "feeling normal" again.  For me and I think a lot of others here the fusion recovery road is one of many many months.  Staying patient... sticking to your doctors instructions... and keeping a positive attitude... are all important. There is light at the end of the fusion tunnel...

    Harry - 65 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
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  • Hvills--you nailed it totally!  Especially the staying patient part!! 

    Ekegelmann--if you do a search in the upper right hand corner for "Recovery The Most Important Phase", there's a really great article about recovering from surgery and the concerns that go along with all things post-op!  I'm sorry to hear about the lack of bone growth.  As a fellow fusion recoveree, that's one of the statements I fear hearing (I'm showing decent shadowing, so hopefully, that will continue!!).  All the best to you, and keep us posted, ok?
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
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