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Will a posterior fusion fix anterior?

Hi.  I had a 2 level fusion (S1/L5, L5/L4) and disc replacement at L3 , ten months ago.  They cut me through the front (anterior) and I am supposedly fused, but I am unable to sit for more then about 2 minutes without pain.  Bending is the same.  Without being able to sit and bend, I am disabled.  My original surgeon told me to to go see a psychologist (uh, thanks).  Fortunately, I have a doctor here who thinks he knows what's wrong.  He said while it is fused in the front, he believes the back is shaky and hitting the nerves.  He thinks a second fusion through the back (posterior) will take care of it.  He's also suggested burning the nerves, but to me that seems like a very painful short fix.  I already got the surgery done.  I want it to work.  Has anyone been through this?  Any advice?  Did the second fusion take care of the problem ? I also wanted to share because if I could do it again, I would not recommend an anterior fusion.  I wish they would have done the 360 and turned me over when I was already out.  It's really a bad feeling to think about going through this again, but living disabled is not really a great option either.  


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    Hello cccmom !
    While waiting for responses from members with shared experiences, search may be very useful to you for any of your concerns, upper right on page.
    Main site has all the formal medical articles and videos for you to research on.

    Please click on link for helpful information!
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • The anterior approach is supposedly as stable as a 360 Fusion.  I personally don't get it, but...I'm certainly not a doctor!  I'm glad I had a 360 fusion because there were a few times during recovery I did some stupid stuff and I felt that my spine being braced from the front and back helped keep me stable to fuse.

    Hopefully, your doctors can get it figured out for you.


    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
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  • If it's any consolation, I had a posterior fusion--also L4-S1, and I experience virtually the exact same symptoms you've described...

    It can be such a huge letdown when we think we've done all we can to correct a problem, and it seems as though it's not enough.  I went through one heck of a recovery, and one of the toughest parts of that has been reworking my expectations. 

    Did the surgeon you consulted with who theorized the fusion might be "shaky" in the back mention anything about how far along your fusion is?  My doctor informed me that it would likely take the better part of a year to fully fuse in this area (weight-bearing crux of the spine).  If you are 100% fused, then I could understand why a revision may have been recommended.

    Good luck, and let us know how you make out!
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • Hi, me too.  I had a posterior fusion 15 months ago and after a very hard recovery finally turned a corner. I'm worse! I feel like I was thrown out a second floor window. I'd been told I was completely fused. I was so careful. I don't understand. CT and xray show anterolisthesis (of the cage/spacer) again, same place. 
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