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Possible 2nd Surgery for spinal fusion

Started by CrystalT88 on 06/04/2018 3:53pm

So I wanted to get some advice regarding my situation. About 3 1/2 years ago I had all the tests done to my back because of the pain that was effecting my everyday life. After an MRI, CT, Xrays, and a Disc graph(Spinal graph) my results showed a shattered disc in L5. Shortly after I was scheduled for Surgery to fuse L5 to S1. The three months after surgery was a relief for me but the moment i weened off the back brace, I started experiencing the pain all over again. When it hit my 6th mark, I had gone into for a new MRI that showed a compression of L4-L5 area. about 4 more months later I had a CT with contrast so that they could see if the equipment was set. The CT showed the equipment was fused but I was told that there was more narrowing then what they had anticipated.

It's not 3-4 years since my surgery and I've been in extreme pain that only helps with a nerve medicine, muscle relaxer and oral narcotics. I'm right back at having to use a wheelchair just to be able to get around if I go anywhere that I have to walk for more then 15 minutes. I can't even do grocery shopping without being put in so much pain that I can't function for the rest of the day. I had a new MRI, CT w/contrasts, X-rays, and a nerve connection study. The MRI showed L4 was herniated, but the equipment in my back was set and had no complications. The nerve study showed permanent damage in my L4 and L5 root. I have another Disc graph/Spinal graph to see how many more levels have gone bad. Surgery is already on the table for me as injections have absolutely nothing for the pain.

My question is, would laser surgery be a good option to considered or with the 1st spinal fusion if getting another fusion would be in my best interest? Please help.

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2 Responses


I had a spinal fusion L4-L5-S1 and laminectomy. I had the surgery September 2006. It was a work injury in 2002 but the company did not want to be responsible and was-in legal-mud for 3 years. During those 3 years I worked a very physical job. I walked with a limp, my legs were losing sensation and had lower back pain if I over did it. Once the legal decision was made in my favor and I would have income (I was a single mother) and I was warned by my neurosurgeon that I was damaging the nerves it was time to have surgery. I finally was going to have a stable spine. My neurosurgeon explained I would have 6 pedicle screws and a sort of wire cage to hold my spine. Surgery went well by the surgeons standards but I was in horrible pain. The morphine pump did nothing. Every day the PA or surgeon would come to my hospital room and raise the Oxycontin 10 more milligrams! It did not help. After 5 days I said I could be miserable at home and was discharged. I healed well and was told my nerves looked like “squashed spagetti noodles”. I have regretted that surgery for the past 12 years! Once I realized the pain was not going to get better I became very depressed. I lost sensation in both legs, had trouble holding my bladder and was in pain 24 hours a day. I soon stopped the oxycontin because I did not think clearly with it. I had to stop working. That surgery changed my whole life. I believed I just had to learn to live as I was but then the government or medical community decided no more narcotics! Mine were greatly reduced but never stopped completely. I thought it couldn’t get much worse and I lost all ability to control my bladder. I called my doctor and he sent me to the ER. It was the area above my fusion. I had another fusion, adding L3-L4 to my fused area. My past surgeon was deceased and was introduced to an orthopedic doctor that specialized in spines. I was a registered nurse and my coworkers had in the past to only see a neurosurgeon. It ended up a quickly scheduled surgery because it was severe. He also removed my old hardware because it did not work with the new hardware. The surgeon came to see me right before surgery and I told him I was afraid because the last back surgery I woke up in horrible pain and I didn’t think I could do it again. He offered to postpone surgery but I had begun to loose control of my legs motor function and didn’t was to be in a wheelchair. It has been one week since my surgery. The pain is less than it has been in years. My limp is gone after 16 years. I am very new in healing but already feel so much better. I have hope again. I am the last person to recommend surgery that can be avoided but in my case I am happy I had the second fusion. It’s still a lot of healing to go before I know how it will all turn out but I am very optimistic!


I had spinal fusion done in 2016, I am now 74 yrs. old. Fusion failed. still in very much pain. Started to have intense pain in my legs and finding it hard to walk. Was lucky to make it to my mailbox. After much discussion with my pain management team. We decided on a spinal cord stimulator. Had it implanted on 10/30/17. after a lot of adjustments to the programmer (with my rep from Medtronic) we now have it where it should be. I now walk 2 miles - 6 days a week with my husband. I still have pain but it is much less. I feel better and am able to do many things that I have not done for a long time. Best decision I ever made.