Spinal fusion





Definition

Spinal fusion is a procedure that promotes the fusing, or growing together, of two or more vertebrae in the spine.


Purpose

Spinal fusion is performed to:

  • Straighten a spine deformed by scoliosis, neuromuscular disease, cerebral palsy, or other disorder.
  • Prevent further deformation.
  • Support a spine weakened by infection or tumor.
  • Reduce or prevent pain from pinched or injured nerves.
  • Compensate for injured vertebrae or disks.

The goal of spinal fusion is to unite two or more vertebrae to prevent them from moving independently of each other. This may be done to improve posture, increase ability to ventilate the lungs, prevent pain, or treat spinal instability and reduce the risk of nerve damage.


Demographics

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, approximately a quarter-million spinal fusions are performed each year, half on the upper and half on the lower spine.


Description

Spinal anatomy

The spine is a series of individual bones called vertebrae, separated by cartilaginous disks. The spine is composed of seven cervical (neck) vertebrae, 12 thoracic (chest) vertebrae, five lumbar (lower back) vertebrae, and the fused vertebrae in the sacrum and coccyx that help to form the hip region.

While the shapes of individual vertebrae differ among these regions, each is essentially a short hollow tube containing the bundle of nerves known as the spinal cord. Individual nerves, such as those carrying messages to the arms or legs, enter and exit the spinal cord through gaps between vertebrae.

The spinal disks act as shock absorbers, cushioning the spine, and preventing individual bones from contacting each other. Disks also help to hold the vertebrae together.

The weight of the upper body is transferred through the spine to the hips and the legs. The spine is held upright through the work of the back muscles, which are attached to the vertebrae.

While the normal spine has no side-to-side curve, it does have a series of front-to-back curves, giving it a gentle "S" shape. The spine curves in at the lumbar region, back out at the thoracic region, and back in at the cervical region.


Surgery for scoliosis, neuromuscular disease, and cerebral palsy

Abnormal side-to-side curvature of the spine is termed scoliosis. An excessive lumbar curve is termed lordosis, and an excessive thoracic curve is kyphosis. "Idiopathic" scoliosis is the most common form of scoliosis; it has no known cause.

Scoliosis and other curves can be caused by neuromuscular disease, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Progressive and perhaps uneven weakening of the spinal muscles leads to gradual inability to support the spine in an upright position. The weight of the upper body then begins to collapse the spine, inducing a curve. In addition to pain and disfigurement, severe scoliosis prevents adequate movement of air into and out of the lungs. Scoliosis also occurs in cerebral palsy, due to excess and imbalanced muscle activity pulling on the spine unevenly.

In this spinal fusion, the surgeon makes an incision in the lower abdomen to access the lumbosacral spine (A). The disks between the vertebrae are removed (B), and bone grafts are inserted into the spaces (C). Then another incision is made in the patient's back (D), and the vertebrae are exposed and fixed to the pedicle plates and screws (E) (Illustration by GGS Inc.)
In this spinal fusion, the surgeon makes an incision in the lower abdomen to access the lumbosacral spine (A). The disks between the vertebrae are removed (B), and bone grafts are inserted into the spaces (C). Then another incision is made in the patient's back (D), and the vertebrae are exposed and fixed to the pedicle plates and screws (E) (
Illustration by GGS Inc.
)

Idiopathic scoliosis, which occurs most often in adolescent girls, is usually managed with a brace that wraps the abdomen and chest, allowing the spine to develop straight. Spinal fusion is indicated in patients whose curves are more severe or are progressing rapidly. The indication for surgery in cerebral palsy is similar to that for idiopathic scoliosis.

Spinal fusion in Duchenne muscular dystrophy is usually indicated earlier than in otherwise healthy adolescents. This is because these patients lose ventilatory function rapidly through adolescence, making the surgery more dangerous as time passes. Surgery should occur before excess ventilatory function is lost.

Surgery for herniated disks, disk degeneration, and pain

As people age, their disks become less supple and more prone to damage. A herniated disk is one that has developed a bulge. The bulge can press against nerves located in the spinal cord or exiting from it, causing pain. Disks can also degenerate, losing mass and thickness, allowing vertebrae to contact each other. This can pinch nerves and cause pain. Disk-related pain is very common in the neck, which is subject to constant twisting forces, and the lower back, which experiences large compressive forces. In these cases, spinal fusion is employed to prevent the nerves from being damaged. The offending disk is removed at the same time. A fractured vertebra may also be treated with fusion to prevent it from causing future problems.

Sometimes, spinal fusion is used to treat back pain even when the anatomical source of the problem cannot be located. This is usually viewed as a last resort for intractable and disabling pain.


The spinal fusion operation

Spinal fusion is performed under general anesthesia. During the procedure, the target vertebrae are exposed. Protective tissue layers next to the bone are removed, and small chips of bone are placed next to the vertebrae. These bone chips can either be from the patient's hip or from a bone bank. The chips increase the rate of fusion. Using bone from the patient's hip (an autograft) is more successful than banked bone (an allograft), but it increases the stresses of surgery and loss of blood.

Fusion of the lumbar and thoracic vertebrae is done by approaching from the rear, with the patient lying face down. Cervical fusion is typically performed from the front, with the patient lying on his or her back.

Many spinal fusion patients also receive spinal instrumentation . During the fusion operation, a set of rods, wires, or screws will be attached to the spine. This instrumentation allows the spine to be held in place while the bones fuse. The alternative is an external brace applied after the operation.

An experimental treatment, called human recombinant bone morphogenetic protein-2, has shown promise for its ability to accelerate fusion rates without bone chips and instrumentation. This technique is only available through clinical trials at a few medical centers.

Spinal fusion surgery takes approximately four hours. The patient is intubated (tube placed in the trachea), and has an IV line and Foley (urinary) catheter in place. At the end of the operation, a drain is placed in the incision site to help withdraw fluids over the next several days. The fusion process is gradual and may not be completed for months after the operation.


Diagnosis/Preparation

A potential candidate for spinal fusion undergoes a long series of medical tests. In patients with scoliosis, x rays are taken over many months or years to track progress of the curve. Patients with disk herniation or degeneration may receive x rays, MRI studies, or other tests to determine the location and extent of injury.

Patients in good health may donate several units of their own blood in preparation for surgery. This may be done between six weeks and one week prior to the operation. The patient will probably be advised to take iron supplements to help replace lost iron in the donated blood. Sunburn or sores on the back should be avoided prior to surgery because they increase the risk of infection.

A variety of medical tests will be done shortly before surgery to ensure that the patient is in good health and prepared for the rigors of surgery. Blood and urine tests, x rays, and possibly photographs documenting the curvature will be done. An electroencephalogram (EEG) may be performed to test nerve function along the spine.

The patient will be admitted to the hospital the evening before surgery. No food is allowed after midnight, in order to clear the gastrointestinal tract, which will be immobilized by anesthesia.


Aftercare

The patient will stay in the hospital for four to six days after the operation.

Post-operative pain is managed by intravenous pain medication. Many centers use patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pumps, which allow patients to control the timing of pain medication.

For several days after the operation, the patient is unable to eat or drink because of the lasting effects of the anesthesia on the bowels. Fluids and nutrition are delivered via the IV line.

The nurse helps the patient sit up several times per day, and assists with other needs as well. Physical therapy begins several days after the operation.

Most activities are restricted for several weeks. Strenuous activities such as bike riding or running are usually resumed after six to eight months. The surgical incision should be protected from sunburn for approximately one year to promote healing of the scar.


Risks

Spinal fusion carries a risk of nerve damage. Rarely, delayed paralysis can occur, probably from loss of oxygen to the spine during surgery. Infection may occur. Bone from the bone bank carries a small risk of infection with transmissible diseases from the bone donor. Anesthesia also poses risks. Unsuccessful fusion (pseudoarthrosis) may occur, leaving the patient with the same problem after the operation.


Normal results

Spinal fusion for scoliosis is usually very successful in partially or completely correcting the deformity. Spinal fusion for pain is less uniformly successful because the cause of the pain cannot always be completely identified.


Morbidity and mortality rates

Unsuccessful fusion may occur in 5–25% of patients. Neurologic injury occurs in less than 1–5% of patients. Infection occurs in 1–8%. Death occurs in less than 1% of patients.

Alternatives

Bracing and "watchful waiting" is the alternative to scoliosis surgery. Disk surgery without fusion is possible for some patients. Strengthening exercises and physical therapy may help some back pain patients avoid back surgery.

See also Bone grafting ; Disk removal .


Resources

BOOKS

Neuwirth, M.D., Michael. The Scoliosis Sourcebook. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001.

PERIODICALS

Robinson, Richard. "Setting the Record Straight." Quest Magazine 4, no.1 (1997). <http://www.mdausa.org/publications/Quest/q41scoliosis.html ;

ORGANIZATIONS

National Scoliosis Foundation. (800) NSF-MYBACK (673-6922). http://www.scoliosis.org .


Richard Robinson

WHO PERFORMS THE PROCEDURE AND WHERE IS IT PERFORMED?



Spinal fusion is performed by an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon in a hospital setting.

QUESTIONS TO ASK THE DOCTOR



  • How long will hospitalization be necessary?
  • Will patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) be used for pain?
  • How soon can the normal regime of school or work be resumed?
  • What outcome is expected?
  • Is there an alternative to surgery?


User Contributions:

mark
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May 20, 2007 @ 11:23 pm
I had a fusion, disc removed and nerve root area enlarged. No blood was taken before surgery. During surgery I lost alot of blood and became anemic. I was in the hospital for 19 days. It has been seven months and I am still having pain. My legs hurt, my shoulders or arms hurt. They go back and forth. Sometimes when I sneeze my legs will go out on me.

I had an MRI done recently and it showed that two of my disc's were bulged. My doctor says I could have nerve damage.

will my pain get any better. Should I get the two other bulged disc's taken out. Please help.
Po Chan
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Jul 18, 2007 @ 4:16 pm
Can you give me information on the use of bone morhgenetic protein for spinal fusion?
Has the FDA approved its use?
francisco rodriguez
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Oct 29, 2007 @ 12:00 am
i has been operated in L1 5 months ago, derived from a car-pedestrian crash, my intrumentation whas two 15" rods and 8 screws, i dont feel pain other than muscular one and the sacro-illiacus articulation, i think mental attitude is the principal way to recovery.
shani
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Oct 29, 2007 @ 1:01 am
Tell me the advantages and disadvantages of Spinal Fusion
croppled1
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Dec 7, 2007 @ 10:22 pm
If there is anyway you can modify your life to survive without fusion do it . If there is anyway you can do that without taking the new time release morphine pain killers ..do it . This site is the most honest one I have found about what can happen . You can always do a fusion later but can never undo one . Dont believe you cant get addicted to painkillers if your in pain thats bs and the drugs kill plus take away quality of life for many . Again there are exceptions to the above but for most you will think I will be ok ...well you better plan for the worst. If your single with nobody willing to care for you for life and will not take your life or die without risking either alternatives dont do it . Modify your life and live accordingly . Start making friends that are disabled and discuss issues about living with this long term .
R Gump
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Jan 12, 2008 @ 11:23 pm
How do I loose wieght after my surgery? I had a spinal fusion with intrumentation 13 months ago. My weight gain is in my middle area (waist line). I am actually slender other that mid-section. Please advise me if you can. The surgery was very sucessful.

Thank you...Roxanne
Cheryl
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Mar 25, 2008 @ 8:20 pm
I'm in pain all the time, I'm 49 years old, Forbes mag published
a article about Oklahoma Spine Hospital in Oklahoma City, Ok.
Speciality Hospitals rock, Steven Cagle surgeon at Olkahoma Spine
had enough balls to call Doc Sullivan a Corporate Prostitute after
hearing him attack speciality hospitals. Speciality Hospital
specialize I have Scheurman Syndrom, idiopathic scoliosis my back
is at 68% my lungs are being crushed, my legs hurt at times when
I want to scream. I'm a veteran from Desert Storm and always helped other people, live in Utah hope to go to OK soon Cheryl.
Joymarie
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Apr 5, 2008 @ 12:12 pm
I'v had two back surgery's in the past 3 years. Starting at the ripe old age of 19yrs old. The first, to fix a herneated disk at L4/5. It was the most pain i'v ever been in, in my life. My pain got better about 2 months in. But about 6 months in my pain took a drastic turn for the worst. I felt worse then before my surgery. They said that i developed spinal bursidice(sorry, not the best speller) due to the instermintation that was in my spine. So 1 and 1/2 years after my 1st sergery i prepared to go back in for spinal instermintation removal. Hoping that my sorce of pain was from the foreign material that was in my body i proceded. I again felt better almost imediatly after. But atleast this surgery was 10 times easier than the last. but like last time i started to go down hill fast. i did everthing i should have done(a.e therapie, bed rest, no working). i was stunned. i thought my body would bounce back quickly. but it did'nt. exactly opposite actually. I was worse then i had ever been. I now spend my days on the layzboy watching t.v. for hours on end. i can't work or finish college. I can't even walk around for more than 10 min. w/out extreme discomfort. I have no social life whatsoever. My doctor said that my fusion was unsuccessful and that he wanted to repeat it again. He also thinks that due to the fusion, i have now become unstable again. He thinks that a repeat fusion w/ L4 L5 S1 stabalization will give me my life back. understandably i am extreamly resistant. I don't want to live my life in extream pain the way i am now. I also don't want my life to revolve around painkillers and my back brace that by the way, i ware 24 hrs a day; 7 days a week. CAN ANYONE HELP ME PLEASE! I HAVE NOWHERE ELSE TO TURN. THIS HAS TAKEN OVER MY LIFE COMPLEATLY!!! and i fear i will lose my life for ever if i don't find relief somwhere. does anyone have any advice for me? i would be so greatful.
Wanda
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May 28, 2009 @ 10:10 am
I had a spinal fusion on my lowest disk 17 months ago I have gained 45lbs in the mid area. I try to exercise and walk the best I can but end up getting sore and have had no improvement. I have been exercising and walking on a regular basis for the last 4 months with no improvement. After my surgery the outside of my left leg in the calf area was numb and still is even though my surgion told me it would go away in a couple of weeks. I am just wondering if there are any exercises I can do that won't make me feel worse, and if there is any advice on my leg numbness.
Mercy
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Sep 12, 2009 @ 8:08 am
My son is 14 years old has a curvature of 80 degrees does have severe cp and is extremely delayed, but besides that very healthy have never had any complication except, seizues and operation for hips , last year we did some tendon release supposedly it would help out with his back at that poin the curvature was 34, but know they told me we need to have back surgery, I know this is probably the best but do not see if its worth my son going thru this surgery in his state, If he would were a brace coulndt I prevent it from getting worse?
Roz
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Jan 17, 2010 @ 7:07 am
If I have a bone spur causeing a nerve impingment at c4 c5 , would that cause pain under my shoulder blade. thanks
Eddie
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Feb 1, 2010 @ 11:23 pm
I was in an auto accident and burst a disc L2/L3 and cracked/chipped the bone - as a result I had L1-L5 fused with 2bars and 8 screws and some sort of a compound that promoted the fusion. It has been one year and the bones are completely healed. I spoke to the Dr about taking out the metal which he approved of and also asked about any possible way of removing the "fusion" from L1 and also from the L5 since those weren't damaged and in reality no longer needed to be fused - He said no, but with today's technology and the skill levels of Dr's today I can't comprehend why it wouldn't be possible - so if L2/L3 are now one and all of the others were never injured it would only make sense that a person would want them to be undone or go back to normal - and my other question is if L2/L3 were injured and Metal rods and screws were installed to hold L1-L5 in place so L2/L3 could heal why put the fusing compound on everywhere? Why not leave L1 and L5 unfused and just attached the hardware to it with the intent to remove once the fusion of L2/L3 is complete. Anyone know of any doctors to speak to about undoing L5/L4 and L1? I also heard that I could have had the option of just wearing a back brace for 3 months while the L2/L3 disk and bone healed instead of the total fusion - any thoughts?
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Jul 17, 2010 @ 8:20 pm
Thank you for the article describing the complications and the
realities of successful surgery. I am an adult with scolios
at 50 degrees but otherwise in good systemic health. I have been
advised that minimially invasive will not work for me that
I need the full fusion from T10 to S1. The plan is to use the
XLIF for the cages from the side and the TLIF plus full fusion
in posterior.

Can you give me an idea of the amount of blood that would be lost
during surgery in terms of units??

Thank you.
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Aug 17, 2010 @ 5:05 am
i had spinal surgery one year ago i am in a wheel chair as i am unable to stand or walk for more than afew minutes without severe pain i am 70 years old and have also suffered heart failure before my spinal op.sitting in the chair i have none or little pain my legs from the hips down are fine and kept exercised by propelling my wheelchair my feet.from the waist up iam also very fit my only problem is the area of operation.
q.is there any specalist therapy i should seek.
can i expecpt any improvement after so long without any
should i push myself and bear the pain for days aferwards.
i need the chair for mobility so that i can keep busy and contribute to the household chores like cooing and cleaning etc.please reply aqs i am desperate i look and feel very well and feel this detracts my medical overseerers from doing anything other than pain killers
regards major
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Oct 9, 2010 @ 4:16 pm
Good Evening .

let me explain to you my son situation my son with 6 years old he has scoliosis so this case need for many surgeries to recovery so that he has been done 6 surgeries till now (6_8 months between one surgery and another) and this case depend on the growing of the spine also I would like you to be informed that he has been done this surgeries out of Iraq in Arabic country they sponsors his case and suddenly they stop the treatment according to unknown reasons & for now we are in Iraq with the hard situation .so that we can't do the surgery to him In iRAQ , the last surgery to him was at :20 th _ dec_ 2009 so for the current time he so need to do the process therefore I need to your cooperation with me and provided me about the detail of the surgery included the total cost in dollar .and i have on other question if you could answer me about it
could he has one process to make his spine straight without needing to surgery every (6_8) months?
please found attached the reports and x_ray photos .
I am waiting for your answer to my mail
thanks &regards
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Oct 26, 2010 @ 6:06 am
i had a spinal fusion done 1*19*2010. L4, L5 and S1. it was the worse pain the human mind can imagine. 10 months later im still in severe pain, can't sleep at night, live on very strong pain killers...basically no life. my last scan showed i have one of my screws backing out. how can this be fixed? my right hip hurts a lot and still have numbness in my right leg along with LOTS of lower back pain. will it ever get better?
Amy
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Nov 8, 2010 @ 11:11 am
I had a T12-L4 spinal fusion & laminectomy on July 6, 2009. I am only 29 years old & still to this day have severe pain, numbness in my spine. I have handled this pain for over a year & now im going back to see the Dr. tomorrow. Im wondering if something has gone wrong or if I possibly have arthritis in my spine. I cant sleep at night & im tired of hurting every single day. Anyone have any suggestions?
Kate
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Nov 14, 2010 @ 2:14 pm
I had spinal fusion over 2 years ago from T3-L2 when I was 15 at a 52 degree curve. I have been in constant and more pain ever since the surgery. I recently just found out I also have a broken screw. No one can figure out why I am still in pain. This has really affected my life and especially social life. Does anyone know a good dr. to go to?
Richard Barecki
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Nov 18, 2010 @ 4:16 pm
Read This! It is interesting. Just want to send this to myself. is this enough.
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Dec 30, 2010 @ 4:04 am
to cindi #16 I also had s1,L5,L4 Two rods and six screws Sept 28,2010. Been doing fine until about two weeks ago. Now lower right back is very uncomfortable. Just feels like I pulled something lose or perhaps lifted too much. also my weight gain is going off the charts!!! From Judy
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Jan 13, 2011 @ 11:11 am
my son has duchenne he is 21. in 2004 he had spinal fusion in 2009 he developed adeep infection where they removed partial intruments it is now 16 months later and he has 4 open draining wounds along his spine. he did a course of iv antibiotic and has been on maintanance bactrium for the last 12 months. are there any options other than removing the implants, which they think survival rate is low due to status of his duchenne. he continues to develope these open wounds how many are to many and what is his risk of dying from the infection.
kerryanne72
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Jan 17, 2011 @ 9:09 am
Hi all,
I am reaching out to you in hopes that someone out there may have gone through a spinal fusion then had the hardware taken out to help the pain from after the fusion. My fusion was done in November 2007 to correct Kyphosis. I now have two rods, 23 screws, and two hooks from under my shoulder blades pretty much throughout my entire spine. The pain since surgery is much better than the pain I had before surgery. However, I still have a lot of pain. My surgeon basically told me that he thinks the option to help would be to have the hardware removed. They are trying to pinpoint the pain areas and it's all pointing to the hardware. I've tried physical therapy, exercise, etc., and it doesn't seem to make a difference. I am 32 and the surgery was done long enough ago that the doctor said that having the hardware taken out won't affect anything and that it's been long enough where the spine should be fused (therefore making the hardware useless at this point). I am just afraid of my spine curve coming back down the road. I am also afraid that taking out the hardware will be like having the surgery all over again. Any advice? THANK YOU!
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Feb 21, 2011 @ 6:06 am
My husband had a fusion of L1,2 & 3 nine yrs ago. He occasionally suffers a "spasm" which can last days and cannot sit properly. He takes Robaxin to relax the muscle which does not help. He says it feels like his back wants to "click" and then all will be ok. I am worried it could be more serious than that. what could possibly be wrong?
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Feb 21, 2011 @ 12:12 pm
I had this surgery in 2008, I was exercising the other day and my husband noticed a large bruise on my lower back were I had the surgery. Why did I bruise? Could I be bleeding internally from the movement of exercise?
Ceri Butler
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Feb 26, 2011 @ 6:06 am
I too had fusion and stabilisation surgery (L3-S1) in April 2008 and then additional surgery in Nov 2009. I have been increasing my physical therapy and have started to develop bruising around the surgical site. I too wondered about internal bleeding but am thinking it's more likely that I'm moving more so maybe stretching areas that haven't been exercised for a while. Be interested to hear if you have a follow up on this?
Ceri Butler
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Feb 26, 2011 @ 6:06 am
I too had fusion and stabilisation surgery (L3-S1) in April 2008 and then additional surgery in Nov 2009. I have been increasing my physical therapy and have started to develop bruising around the surgical site. I too wondered about internal bleeding but am thinking it's more likely that I'm moving more so maybe stretching areas that haven't been exercised for a while. Be interested to hear if you have a follow up on this?
Kim
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Apr 3, 2011 @ 9:21 pm
I am a 33 year old femals who was fused for a 48 degree curve at age 20. The hardware began to poke thru the skin and I was constantly in pain. Doc said hardware was useless once the fusion was solid and since i had been fused for 14 years, we decided to removal all the hardware from T2-L1. Today is 46 days post op, and at last doctors visit, we compared x rays from 3 week ago with the current one, and my spine fusion DID NOT HOLD. I have already curved 15 degrees in 3 week, and now a 5 degree curve from kyphosis. Just my story. The recovery in my opinion was much worse to have the hardware removed due to the extensive muscle cutting and truama to all the soft tissus. None of this is fun! Nor does it allow for a normal life. I scream and cry everyday, still. Now the doc want to re-fuse the spine and add all new hardware. I am going to wait to at least heal from the removal surgery before they put me thru all this again! I pray for us all with back problems.
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Apr 3, 2011 @ 9:21 pm
I would also like to add that the website says the fusion surgery for scoliosis takes 4 hours, this is not accurate! Mine took over 11 hours, which most fusion with hardware cases take. It says you will spend a week in the hospital, try 14 days! This website doesnt even begin to touch on the reality of the surgery. It is not for the weak. It will be the hardest thing of your life! You loose the ability to bend, twist, well every activity is limited, for life! Again, I am fused from T2-L1 which is about as much fusion and hardware possible. I wish you all the best of luck and can be emailed with questions or concerns at surfergirlatx@yahoo.com, if anyone would like to know the REAL story of scoliosis spinal fusion with instrumentation. It was discovered at age 11, and I wore the brace, I did everything under the sun to avoid surgery, but the scoliosis curving spine is really hard to stop even with proper hardware. And the pain will last a lifetime, eithr with or without rods. Please dont take any of my posts as negative, they are just real first hand encounters. I feel alot of the scoliosis docs are more concerned with getting paid rather than proper patient care. I have been dealing with this for more than half my life and I have constantly done my research, I just wish the doctors cared as much as we, the patients do!
Savvas
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Apr 12, 2011 @ 2:14 pm
My brother had an accident recently(seven months) and our worries till now were his traumatic brain injuries and how would he will recover completely from them, but a week ago a doctor discovered a new issue, his vertebrae, and more specific that his seventh thoracic vertebrae was broken and caused a curve on his spine and they told us the best way(didn't specify if there is another) is to do a spinal fusion till that moment i didn't knew what that was so my question is: Is there any other way to solve my brother's problem ?
james suski
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Apr 19, 2011 @ 5:17 pm
Hi

I had injuried my back in 2006 and I broke 4 vertebrals. Two in my neck and two in my back. They did operate on T-9 AND T-10 . What happen was that on one of my vertabrals they did a vertaplasy and on the other one they were only able to take out the pieces. So here is my question are they able to stop all of the pain that I'm dealing with. Right now I have to take 4 different types of pain medications a total of about 12 pills everyday now. Oh also do to operating on my back they did something to cause me to have pain in my legs also . If there is a operation that will take away the pain and give me back my life what will it cost? And can it be done on Medicare?
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Apr 20, 2011 @ 6:18 pm
Can someone please tell me the cost for spinal fusion hardware removal of L4,L5, and S1. I have no insurance!
Paula g
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May 7, 2011 @ 11:11 am
I had a spinal fusion (L5S1) two years ago and my pain got MUCH worse after that. I cant sit for a long period of time that gives me terrible back, coxcys and joint pain. I am 30 years old and I have pain 24hrs a day. This is really afecting my personal and Professional life.
I have seen lots of doctors but half say I need another surgery and the other alf say I dont. What shoul I do?
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Jun 10, 2011 @ 8:08 am
I really don't have the right answer for you but I just wanted to say my heart goes out to you for the pain you endure. I would like to suggest that you try swimming because it builds core muscles to help support your back and take pressure off the discs. If you can, join the YMCA or any other gym that has an indoor pool. Swimming has been the best excercise for my bad back and I think it't the one thing that eliminates pressure and build muscle without the resistance of walking or sitting for that matter. Mindi
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Jun 13, 2011 @ 9:09 am
hello my name is tanae my daughter is only two yrs old an she has severe scoliosis. she is currently at a 122 degree angle. the doc wants her to have immediate surgery soon but i'm scared. she already has a trach and on a ventilator but the doc says if she doesn't have this surgery she will die. there talking about rods but i just read all these horror stories an i don't want my daughter to be in pain for the rest of her life. the other thing i'm worried about is that a year ago she suffered a spinal injury an they had to do emergency surgery an her movement in her legs went away. she moves a them a little but i'm scared that this surgery will make it go away again.she has many health issues an i just don't know what to do. any advice please would help me
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Jun 19, 2011 @ 3:15 pm
My husband has already had a back fusion at L4-5, L5-S1 in 2005. Over time he is having further pain and severe discomfort. He is now scheduled to have another back surgery extending the fusion to L3-4. We have be unable to locate any pictures of the procedure and would like to know how optimistic we should be on reducing the severe pain he is in. What is the success rate? What should we expect? Please advise.
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Jun 27, 2011 @ 10:22 pm
I had my spine fused from t 2 to t 8 . T6 was all most gone ,t 3 and t 4 were so bad to t 5 and t 7 all so were broken I sat up and walk with in5 days left hospital with 10 days .
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Aug 25, 2011 @ 2:14 pm
I had spinal fusions had staff infection led to two more surgerys
Breanna
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Sep 6, 2011 @ 11:11 am
Yes My Name is Breanna i am in the 7th grade i have cerebal palsy i have to go to greenville south carliona to see the doctur and the got a hip xray and it did not look normaly . They told my mom that it looked fine but one hip was higher then the other and i am in alot of pain . i went to doctar here in alabama and had about 25 xrays and a mri. And then i went back the nest day and had another one that was about 2 hours long and we waited 5 days and they did not call us to tell us what was wrong . They said nothing was wrong but it is really hurting in my hip every time i walk . It is scaring my mom really bad she has been so depressed lately . I Dont know what to do about it they all are saying the same thing but somthing has to be wrong with me ... So i need your help PLEASE HELP thanks and have a blessed day ...
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Sep 12, 2011 @ 6:18 pm
I had surgery on my back in 97 to remove the L4&5 disk. I had a double fusion then on 1999 I had the rods and screws removed that were causing increased pain and then on 9/11/01 I had the S1 removed. Ever since I have been in so much pain but the S1 feels like my tailbone is hurting, can you tell me why this will not get better or go away?
Nancy
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Sep 17, 2011 @ 1:13 pm
Mom,

This is the information on the surgery I will be having. My only concern is the bone needed. It says that they can use a bone from a cadaver. Any thoughts???
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Sep 30, 2011 @ 11:23 pm
MAJOR OPERATION. My name is edward hi to all that is going through what your going through and bless all that is reading this, First of all I had multiple fusions and was one of the most trying times of my life, Im a Marine that has been injured, I will say that sergery from the beginging is not easy. I thought I was very strong minded and able to be the best canidate for my outlook is different than most, Meaning I think that I could go thru rehab faster and that I was allways ahead of the curve meaning, I should of listen to the Doctor. Getting ahead of my routines they have planned for me. Again let me stress I basically felt like hell for the first three months I was almost ready to give up. On the fourth month things started to get better, hanged my opinion of the sergery, I went thru rehab and pushed myself in extreme conditions training and basically hurt myself again, It has take two years and I can say that it is not a cure all sergery, I do stress that the dr's know the best, I also have found that strengthing up my core muscles has helped more than I could say, I basically figured this out on my own, Yes drs give you rehab but they try to get you out as quick as possible. I can say that strengthing stomach muscles and lower back muscles after couple years is my new option, I have been dedicated to figureing out what works, again I can say after healing for a couple years . This has helped imensley I started out with a few core strengthing machines and now im doing crunches with 110 pounds and twists with 90 pounds, I was a worst case scenierio, My sergery was to go standard 4 hour but instead it went for ten hours. My bones everytime they went to find something to hold on to . the bone crumbled everywhere they had to keep on clearing the bad bone in my body, Yes Im still in pain but reduced pain medication in half. I worked on these exercises slowely started with ten and worked my way up to six hundred, it has taken a year to do this, One of the big things that changed in this process was my waist size, im six foot tall and weighed 202 lbs. I changed my diet to organic and my waist was size 40 and now it is 34 just by changeing my diet and working out slow all these changes happened, and now my back is stronger than ever, Don't get me wrong it's not perfect, but now im better off than I was, It took alot of soul searching and determination but there is no one else that can do this but yourself, encourage yourself when you get to where I am most dr's don't think it is possible, my dr even now tell me to be careful. I hoped this helped in the begining it is no picnic, any question feel free to write me saenzcm@aol.com . God bless
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Oct 2, 2011 @ 5:05 am
I have severe pain a long the waist region and internal body heart more severe on my two feet these happen some time in 1996 during my active days in sport [judo] could it be spinal fusion?
SusanD
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Oct 30, 2011 @ 8:08 am
I'm scheduled for spinal fusion from L10 to the sacrum, due to progressive scoliosis and degenerative disc disease and spondylolisthesis. Just wondering if there's anyone else out there who has had the same procedure and what their outcome was. Thanks.
Catherine
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Nov 14, 2011 @ 10:10 am
I had a spinal fusion with instrumentation 11 years ago L4-L5. It was a nightmare the worst pain I had ever experienced was after this operation. Before the operation I had a herniated disc and a "slipped disc" and I could not walk or stand without sever pain it was bone on bone. However with excellant PT after I got out of that horrible brace I was pain free for quite awhile. Now 11 years later I have some issues at S1 a bulging disc is hitting a nerve and I am back on pain killers. I know that once you screw around with the dynamics of the spine eventually something else is going to happen. Your surgeon is never going to tell you this so know it going in and you will not be surprised.
Sharon
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Nov 30, 2011 @ 12:00 am
This letter is to JoyMarie. I notice it was written in 2008 & hope & pray you have since found some sort of relief from your back problems. Mine are just beginning. I am 54 years old & had thyroid cancer surgery in March 2009. I have been in excruciating pain since then in my neck hands & feet. I had to take a leave of absence fom work from a job I have invested 22 years in to,I will be able to retire in August 2012, but that is 8 months from now. Have already been off for 3 weeks. I plan to have surgery, but will totally lose it if this surgery does not work for me. Im on so much drugs now, Im shocked I can even function. Please write back & let me know how your life is going. That is so sad to be so young & your life be so mundane~
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Dec 12, 2011 @ 8:20 pm
I am 21 years old now. My first spinal fusion was in FEB. 2006, 2ND ONE DUE TO NON FUSION-DECEMBER 2007, 3RD ONE: APRIL 2009. I am doing ok. Struggle daily. ALL of my surgeries were 8 HOURS LONG, 7 DAYS in hospital every time, I was never sick and throwing up. Trouble going to the bathroom.
MY ADVICE: PHYSICAL THERAPY!!! STAY WITH IT
dana
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Dec 15, 2011 @ 7:19 pm
i had a spinal fusion done in 2010 my whole life was ruined iwas in the hospital for over a week my leg became numb the first time the physical therapist got me up to walk it was in my right leg. my back hurts all the time i am on several different pain killers and know my surgeon has suggested to take out the instrumentation. but i had Kyphosis before the surgery and i am afraid that it will return. my life now is based on my back i cant bend twist do anything a normal person would do.my life has change so much i used to be a cheerleader and run track and now i can't even walk straight i limp when i walk because i cant feel my right leg. So i feel with all u people you had aspinal fusion done.
dorothy
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Dec 30, 2011 @ 10:10 am
I had disk surgery on two disk in C-Spine at first seemed to help my arm pain was gone but still some numbness. My shoulder and upper back pain never left. I wore a hard brace for six months and now that I have it off all the time it is so much worse. My surgeon has me back in Phsical Therapy for about the 6 time since my fall. My hand is going so numb I can hardly type and my neck gets very sore if I sit or try to do housework. It has now been 8 nonths am I ever going to get better?
My thumb now seems to move all night which is making it worse any idea why?
Cathie
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Jan 5, 2012 @ 2:14 pm
Hi, I am a 57 year old female. I was diagnosed with scoliosis with a 35 degree curve when I was @ 14 and wore the body brace for over two years when I was @ 17 - 19 years old. I had a single thoracic curve. I didn't think about things again until I was @ 47 and saw an X ray of my chest which indicated my curve was now a Double S curve, both thoracic and lumbar. I saw a few doctors and some wanted to operate right away and others asked if I was in pain which I wasn't and thought best to just continue to monitor me. Now I see a specialist every 2-3 years. Recently my back has become very weak, and I feel ass scrunched up in the torso, my curve is @ 62 degrees in the thoracic upper region and around 50 something in the lower lumbar. Although I "look" fairly normal, I don't feel it on the inside. I am worried now that these days I wake up with a weak back where before I would not feel this way. I am not sure if it is age or the scoliosis. I also worry about my breathing as my chest feels heavy and I have developed a lot of mucus that I cannot seem to get rid of and can only relieve that by taking a shower or blowing my nose constantly. Does anyone else experience this or have any comments for me. I don't want the surgery but I also don't want to wait until I am Too old to have it either if I really need it. My doctor says, sometimes the curve, changes to a point and then stops...and he says that if I am not in any major pain, I should not do anything until I absolutely have to. Please respond with any thoughts, thank you, Cathie
Marianne
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Jan 6, 2012 @ 11:11 am
I had a spinal fusion and laminectomy during the 2010 summer. The surgeon said I'd be back to doing everyting I did before surgery in 6-8 weeks. Wrong!! The second day afetr surgery I was walking with help but by the 4th day I was in so much pain. I couldn't stand it. My son had asked me earlier if they had taken out the drain tube. What drain tube I replied. Well I was rushed to emergency surgery after a MRI showing I had a hemmatoma forming because there ws no drain tube. They had to call in a Neurosurgeon to do ther surgery because my surgeon was out of town. Well long story short. I spent 4 weeks in rehab not knowing if I would walk again. I used a wheel chair and progressed to a 4 wheeler before releasing me to go home aprehensivley. I have ad PT for the last 6 months. Finally walking with a cane. Still ahve numbness in areas. What a way to spend your life after being extremely active, because someone didn't put a simple drain tube in which the neurosurgeon said should have been done. Other people in the medical feld say the samething. But it is very difficult to prove anything I've been told. Please if you are thinking of doing this to eleviate the pain do your homework when looking for a surgeon. I had faith in the first surgeon but now would never recommend him. I have a long raod ahead of me and missed meany normal things in my life ,but will keep working on getting back to whatever I can do. Please respond with any thoughts. Marianne
Melissa
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Jan 15, 2012 @ 7:19 pm
May be a little late for many of you. you should really consider Spinal Decompression ~ before having Fusions. We have a drx9000 in our office and we get a ton of patients who have already had fusions we can not help them after that point, other than chiropractic care! I have seen so many amazing things happen everyday.
ro
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Jan 18, 2012 @ 12:12 pm
hello everyone, I had an T12-L2 spinal fusion due to a severe fracture due to a car accident. All I can say is that the lord got me through it all. I had two broken legs as well so I had to be in a wheel chair and so on recovery is still going on 6 months later. Praying and keeping your faith has to do alot with how well you carry the situation. My prayer goes out to all of you and there is no greater help than the lord himself. Keep him with you at all times and he will not turn you down. god bless everyone.
haley
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Jan 25, 2012 @ 7:19 pm
I had spinal fusion due to herniated disc and spinal stenosis. I had pain, numbness, tingling, you name it..in my right side. Now its about 3 months after surgery and having a little hip pain in left side. should i be concerned?
Diane S.
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Jan 28, 2012 @ 2:14 pm
I had my first spinal fusion of the L-5, S1 in 1998. Then in 2001 I had to have a refusion and hardware removed in the same area. Two years later I had to have the L-4, L-5 fused because of slippage of the vertebraes. I have spinal stenosis and now I feel like my lower vertebraes are being compressed down whenver I sit or stand. The one thing that seems to help a little is to lean forward and stretch, but the pain is pretty severe. I've been under the care of a pain specialistd since 1998 and take 5 different meds for pain. also I get 8 to 10 shots in my lower back every 8 to 10 weeks,which was helping greatly until about 4 or 5 months ago. Mt husband had a triple bypass surgery and I ended up liftinh him for 2 months whuch hasn't helped my back at all. he weighs 200 lbs and I want to know if that could have reinjured my L-5,S1 area?
SG
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Feb 17, 2012 @ 12:12 pm
I have moderate structural scoliosis. I have an S curve and my spine is also twisted. Due to a herniated disc and spinal stenosis I had a laminectomy at L5 S1 Sept/08. In Dec/08 same disc ruptured so I had an L5 S1 fusion on Feb/09. Then I had a right SI Joint fusion Sept/09 that failed. Bone did not fuse. I had the new iFuse SI Joint surgery Sept/10. Other than the raging pain down my left leg from original herniated disc I am in more pain now than before my 4 surgeries. I am in bed 50 percent of the day. There are many periods of time where I try to stay out of bed and work through the pain by building muscle but that just makes the pain worse. I am 56 years old and feel my life is over as there are so many things I can no longer do. I have been back to my spine doctor several times but there is nothing more he can do. He is a scoliosis spine specialist neurosurgeon and while I have complete faith in him, I also feel that perhaps having 1 fusion is putting too much pressure on my other discs causing the pain. Pain is also still in my SI Joint area but now that I have a fusion I can no longer get cortisone injections in that area. If anyone has any suggestions, please comment.
SG
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Feb 17, 2012 @ 1:13 pm
I have moderate structural scoliosis. I have an S curve and my spine is also twisted. Due to a herniated disc and spinal stenosis I had a laminectomy at L5 S1 Sept/08. In Dec/08 same disc ruptured so I had an L5 S1 fusion on Feb/09. Then I had a right SI Joint fusion Sept/09 that failed. Bone did not fuse. I had the new iFuse SI Joint surgery Sept/10. Other than the raging pain down my left leg from original herniated disc I am in more pain now than before my 4 surgeries. I am in bed 50 percent of the day. There are many periods of time where I try to stay out of bed and work through the pain by building muscle but that just makes the pain worse. I am 56 years old and feel my life is over as there are so many things I can no longer do. I have been back to my spine doctor several times but there is nothing more he can do. He is a scoliosis spine specialist neurosurgeon and while I have complete faith in him, I also feel that perhaps having 1 fusion is putting too much pressure on my other discs causing the pain. Pain is also still in my SI Joint area but now that I have a fusion I can no longer get cortisone injections in that area. If anyone has any suggestions, please comment.
Kathy McIntire
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Feb 19, 2012 @ 9:09 am
My lower back is very bad. I have been through Chiropractic, Traction Physical therapy and have already had one discogram. I dont walk very well cant do stairs and sometimes afraid to move. I am a sales person and am in a vehicle alot. I have had tests in the hospital to know if its muscular or disc related and mine is all disc related on l4 and L5 I dont read many sucess to spinal fusion and am scared to death. Is the reason I dont hear about sucess that people just dont respond.
Looking for advice. I am very busty on top and I am sure that doesnt help either. Please help me with what to do I am sometimes afraid to move. I am not in pain when I sit which is making me lazy. Cant walk very far at all. Help
Dennis
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Feb 21, 2012 @ 5:05 am
My wife had aspine fusion in 1970/80. We have always understood that she would not be able to have an MRI scan because of the screws in her back . She is currently having trouble with her left leg and the GP suspects A prolapsed disc and the Consultant is arranging for an MRI scan.I am trying to discover what materials were used in the 70/80s to make the screws and thus anMRI scan would be safe.
Dawn
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Mar 2, 2012 @ 11:11 am
Worsened pain after surgery?? It may be Arachnoiditis!! I am a sufferer myself. Look it up. Since many times it is caused by medical procedures, doctors are hesitant to diagnose!! Many times just labeled "failed back surgery syndrome". It's terrible, and becoming an epidemic. Don't let anyone tell you the pain is all in your head!
Krissy
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Mar 21, 2012 @ 6:18 pm
I had a spine fusion on May 4th,2011.This was a result of degenerative disc disease.My back is worse now.I have arthritis.My dr.also told me that I might have an infection next to the metal cage in my back.If I hav the infection,how did I get it and what are the risks/outcome?What can I do for this and the arthritis?I am going to try more injections. The pain is very dehabilitating.I could use your advice besides some stretching et.
Will Dochertaigh
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Mar 23, 2012 @ 5:17 pm
I had fusion of L5/S1 in '99, fusion of L4/L5 in '01, both successful in eliminating pain and allowing life to proceed. In 2010 i had revision fusion to reinforce the never quite fully fused fusions, again it worked successfully.
Now 2012 and i'm scheduling fusion to have remainder of lumbar fused with instrumentation. It is a relief to be getting the rest of the lumbar fused am willing to go through the post-op pain to get to a point in life that will need no pain meds and hope of going thru life without pain. Having had very successful fusions i am very fortunate to have had success.

I'd spent three years on disability with agonizing pain after two failed laminectomies, by doctors who could only be described as hacks who barely get thru the day without crippling someone.
Allan
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Mar 25, 2012 @ 2:14 pm
I was injured at work in 1994. I had a hemi laminectomy right and discectomy at L5-S1. About every few years I had severe pain and lost several months of work. In January 2012, I had unbelievable pain in my hips and right leg to my knee and hamstring. I also experienced groin pain. I was also numb at my right knee and the inside area of my right leg no lower than my knee. I had an MRI which showed four discs above my past surgery herniated and scar tissue at the site of the original surgery growing on the nerve. I was unable to walk at all or sleep.
I went to a spinal surgeon on a Friday and had a discectomy and spinal fusion on the next Monday. The fusion is at L3-4.I have a few questions that I am curious about. My surgeon told me that doing a bone implant is old school and he uses a cement like substance where the disc was removed. I researched this and couldn't find any information about this. The numbness in my knee and leg is still there six weeks after surgery. The doctor told me that it will take about two months for the nerve to regenerate and it should go away. I'm skeptical about this and have heard stories that it may never stop being numb. Can anyone provide some insight concerning my questions. Aside from the numbness, I still have the grion pain which on occassion feels like a hernia ( had left and right ilioinguinal hernia sugery) in 2005.Other than that, I can walk and have no other pain which I feel lucky about.
Thank you for all your help
Allan
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May 17, 2012 @ 3:03 am
I seen a story on the Abc morning news. First off let me say I had L5 S1 spinal fusion in 2009 and had pretty good relief from pain until I was in a car wreck. But anyway a doctor who opened up the texas spine and joint hospital discovered that if you inject the two chemicals the body uses to heal a cut into the injured disc it seals it and let's it heal itself. He said if I'm not mistaken it should be FDA approved by 2015. The story said he had an 85 percent success rate and most people had no pain or a great reduction in pain after the procedure. It only takes 5 minutes to do it and costs 95 percent less than a spinal fusion. He said and I thought he was very honest that some of the patience wish they hadn't done it but after a few days or week they thought very differently and were glad they done it. The doctors name was Pasa or something like that. Blonde haired fellow and he owns the texas spine and joint hospital. I haved it saved on my DVR if anyone wants more information such as the name of the two chemicals the body produces naturally. The dr said he had performed his treatment a thousand times and it was a success in about 85 percent of them. From what I seen on tv when he injected the chemicals it re inflated the damage disc and it began to heal. If anyone tries this or has more information please email me at csmiths255@yahoo.com
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Jun 10, 2012 @ 10:22 pm
Hi, i have a Spinal Fusion in 1968 at the age of 14yrs where they use bones chips off of my hip. I'm have Idiopathic Scoliosis. I'm now 59 years old and my spine is curving again this time I'm in pain all the time, and I'm leaning to the left and it is noticable, I hate it. I just need to know what can I do, is there any other way beside surgery that can correct my problem.
Mahra
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Jun 15, 2012 @ 8:20 pm
It sounds like you are fanicg a very difficult decision. I can imagine how you must be feeling. Once I was in a car accident and was unable to drive myself anywhere for about 6 months, because of the injuries and then because I had no vehicle. Once I got back my ability to drive, even then it was scary because I was so nervous that I would get hurt again. That was just with injuries that healed, not something as serious as what you are experiencing. Theoretically, I agree with the first commenter. It seems better to live happily while you can than to be miserable. Independence is beyond value, and without it we all feel paralyzed in some way. In your case though, there is a clear danger involved. I know the streets in India are quite different than what we are used to in the US. Is there any possibility of a different kind of vehicle? Or maybe some kind of back brace that would decrease the impact to your spine should you fall or collide? I'm not sure there is a correct answer for you. Whatever you decide to do, it is your decision and you have the freedom to make it. I hope you are able to overcome your depression and live happily, regardless of which choice you make.
Faye
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Jun 23, 2012 @ 12:00 am
I have had 5 spinal fusions (3 cervical in 08 & 2 lumbar in 09) and have gradually increased my physical activity to the stage that I'm now training for a marathon to be held on my birthday this July--the day I begin my 70th year of life. So there is hope!
Ravil
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Jul 11, 2012 @ 7:19 pm
Hello.
I have a request.
Our lab works on technology that allows, among other things, to reduce Ti spinal rod diameter by 0.5 to 1 mm. There are some benefits on personal and industrial levels. My request pertains to industrial level: could somebody suggest how I can get an estimate on savings in material?
Thank you.
Any advice appreciated.
debbie hargreaves
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Jul 16, 2012 @ 9:09 am
im a 45 year old woman who is due to have spinal fusion on L5 l4 ,3 2 are not as bad i am in pain everyday to different degrees i get pain in both my hips and in my left leg walking and going upstairs is painful i feel trapped inside my own body and am depressed i never get a good nights sleep and anything can make my back worse coughing sneezing etc ive had various injections to help relieve the pain but nothing worked i had a discogram in feb this year it was horrific im so terrified of having this operation and all the stories iv read have been negative they will be inserting a cage and putting bone in to fuse together and inserting metal screws and rods i dont know what to do my doctor has given me a 50/50 chance of it working and 30% chance of making it worse if this was the case it would mean another operation to insert a transmitter i really dont know which way to turn
Karen Banks
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Jul 30, 2012 @ 7:07 am
I broke my back about six months ago. I fell 5 metres and landed on my but. This compacted my spine. I shattered the L2 and Fractured the L3. I had to have an operation which took the shattered bone out and put two titanium plated, a cage and six screws into my back. I was wondering if anyone knows how long the bone graft takes to grow enough to stabalise the back? I suppose everyone is different but about how long? And how long is it before the pain settles down. Picking up things is horrible and putting shoes on is hard and painful. Anyone help??
Keith
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Aug 28, 2012 @ 4:04 am
My wife had a fusion on L5S1 in 1995, NO support rods or screws or any other materials other than bone mush were used. Since that date she has had her life ruined. Anyone had a similar experience?
RUBY SOUWITZSKY
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Aug 31, 2012 @ 1:01 am
I HAVE TO HAVE FUSION ON L2 L3 AND S4. I AM SO AFRAID OF HAVING THE OPERATION MY AGE 75. THE
PROBLEM I HAVE IS PAIN IN THE LEFT LEG WHEN STANDING. ANY ADVICE. THANK YOU.RUBY SOUWITZSKY.
Stephen
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Sep 10, 2012 @ 4:04 am
Hello i had a Scoliosis Kyphosis Thoracic Lumber Fusion T-1 to L-5 in Johannesburg in 1977 Performed by a Leornard Nainkin he was an outstanding Surgeon and did a supurb job on my Spine it was probably the most successful Fusion performed in South Africa but lately i have been experiencing intense pain in the Lumbar region especially when sitting down and standing up again i am walking with a stick now i should be very grateful that i am walking and i am could anybody possibly explain to me why i have this intense pain in the Lumbar region i think the Facet Joints maybe responsible but could it be something else maybe? i spent 2 months in hospital on a Stryker Turning Frame.
Pete from Aus
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Oct 21, 2012 @ 1:01 am
#72 : Stephen, it sounds like you're experiencing extreme wear & tear at the lower end of your fusion (mine was T5-T9 in 1991 for facet joints, so my problem is much less than yours!). It might be worth getting the fusion extended to S1, but that will only work if it's just a problem with L5/S1. A good radiologist should be able to tell you. Hope this helps!

For everyone else reading here : FUSION SHOULD BE THE VERY LAST THING YOU TRY!! I can't stress this enough! I've been extraordinarily lucky with my fusion, but then I had a fantastic neurosurgeon (Prof Graeme Brazenor, Epworth Hospital, Melbourne) and a wonderful pain management team. However, because of the stress fusion places on the joints above and below the fused area, you WILL need to manage your health, and you MUST strike up a good relationship with your surgeon, your doctor, and your radiologist. It's difficult to do this in Australia, but it's possible.

Keep aware of your limitations, don't think that the fusion will fix everything, and let your doctor know when you're having trouble with pain. It's far better to have a hundred X-rays or MRIs than to just put up with the pain. Get involved - learn about the spine, learn about pain and pain management, and if you can, get your GP or doctor to recommend a multi-disciplinary team to work with you.

You might also like to consider hypnosis, and I'm also working on some other therapies, but because I"m not a doctor, I'm having trouble getting medical specialists on board (old boys syndrome, unfortunately). I'll try posting back here when I have more info. In the meantime, check out my blog - cephasatheos.wordpress.com, and feel free to discuss, comment, and I'll do my best to offer suggestions and advice. Stay positive if you can, and lean on your friends.
tami
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Nov 11, 2012 @ 12:00 am
Im 39 years old..I ham a laminectomy oct 2011 Feb 2011 fusion @l5 s1 Sept 2012...1 month after surgery my hardware migrated out and up my spine into my muscle can anyone tell me if they have experienced this I am in terrible pain and am tired of surgery!
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Nov 14, 2012 @ 4:16 pm
Hi, I am a 50 year old woman and ive had a double fusion S1/L5 with instrumentation six weeks ago. I was in hospital for 12 nights and had operations anterior and posterior. Im currently doing fine with only a little nerve pain returning to my left foot/lower leg if I over do things too much and i also get very achey as the day progresses. Im wearing a hard body brace which stops me from twisting and bending and I have followed everything the professionals have told me ie no lifting anything more than 2lbs, sit only for short periods then walk about, log roll in and out of bed, do not sit on soft comfy chairs only an upright orthopaedic chair and very importantly I do my core strengthening exercises daily plus hydro. So far I am extremely happy with my results as I was stooped over and had alot of nerve pain in my left leg and foot. I have grown over one inch since my op and my posture is better than ever. I am trying hard not to put on any weight as this also would be unnecessary stress to the lower spine. I feel I have been given a second chance at life. Just a few months ago I had to get on the mobility bus at Greenwich Olympic park and even now I would not have to do that. Im going to work hard at my second chance and do everything I can to maintain this works for me. I know its very early days but I will keep steadily working on my progress. I hope this may help someone. . . BE POSITIVE
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Nov 20, 2012 @ 5:17 pm
I need fusions @ L-4.5 and S-1 with a lesion(small tear). I have a bulging disk and herniated a few dislocated. I have severe pains in my leg and it gives out at times. I have MRSA and uncontrolled diabetes.I am at high risk for infection so they recommended NO SURGERY. I had double pneumonia and lung surgery in 2010, I was put on a ventilator. and praying for my life. During the procedure they inserted a chest tube (Big as round as a garden hose) for drainage and they damaged seems like thousands of nerves in my chest. I am being zapped all the time from the inside and still cannot wear a bra due to the pain. It is piercing, throbbing and yet so painful, I still cry at times when I sneeze or cough. Now i have been diagnosed with
pluresey, which is the fluid between your ribs and the lining of your rib cage. Mine is GONE from the lung surgery . So the best way to describe that pain is *wicked*. Does anyone have any advice for me?
paula
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Jan 13, 2013 @ 12:00 am
in about 6 months i have to go in for a spinal fusion on L5/S1 and after reading this for about 2 hours all the comments about these operations i am absoulutly terrified. i live on morphine at the moment and think i would rather stay on morphine rather than going through the fusion. can anybody give me a possitive outome for this operation and what level of pain would i be in after the operation. everyone says it is so bad it really scares me but for the last 4 months i wake up nearly every night with schiliosis (terrible speller) and cannnot believe how much pain im in. i cant sleep, walk or sit down and its getting worse becasue it is in both legs now all the way down to my feet. ive beentold maybe massage would help the pain but not sure, will try anything to stop the pain. anyone with any good after effects of the op can email me at paula.cox@bigpond.com. thanks
Carol
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Jan 19, 2013 @ 3:03 am
In 1993 I had an auto accident and ruptured C4-C5 losing most us of my right arm and hand with sevier pain over the right side of my scaplp that circled my right eye. After my fustion with a doner bone to replace the disk I gained a big portion of my strenth back, but still had right side guarding in the neck, shoulder and right shoulder blad region. In 2002 my husband hit me in back of my neck with his fist and the disc below C4-C5 slighty buldged. Now I have learned there is movement in my fusion and I am having problems down both arms and down my spine and into my legs and feet. X-rays where taken of the fusion area and movement is noted and I am due for a MRI of my neck and a bone test of my neck next week. I am concerned. Is this something easly corrected?
shelly
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Mar 10, 2013 @ 11:23 pm
It has been 15 months since I had L4-L5 Spinal Fusion. I had totod have the surgery as I could no longer walk. I was excited to have a solution. Wrong. It's been a nightmare. I try to stay positive...I have to. I am 50 year old female and this has changed my life as I knew it. what little energy i have i save for work. pain meds, pt, rest, tears, you name it doesnt work. i've had two rounds of joint facade injections and epirdural as recently as last week. i felt alot of relief until today and feel it wearing off already. doc wants to do spinal plug joint facade injection. other doc said absolutely do not do it. im single, afraid, try to hold on to hope and know others are dealing with this and worse. no social life. have no idea if i should do surgery or not. day by day. lots of prayers. prayers for all of you. friends, family uncomfortable when you oontinue to share about your pain and fears.
steve
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Mar 19, 2013 @ 5:17 pm
My daughter is eleven an diag w scoliosis w two curves greater than 50 degrees. Doctors recommend spinal fusion. It's a tough choice. She is very active in sports, chearleading, gymnastics,and dance. I worry that after surgery that she won't be able to to those things as well as she does now. They say she won't be able to back bends or be able to twist her body. Ride roller coasters. Do I want to take that away from her. Should I wait.any body have any advise that could help me make a wise decision.
ricky
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Jun 3, 2013 @ 2:02 am
I have a T3 incomplete spinal cord injury and I need to know if I can have corrective surgery on this.
thompson
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Jun 24, 2013 @ 6:06 am
hi I had discs removed x3 and spinal fusion lower lumbar region in nov 2012. The pain after was agony but it got better and I went back to work in may2013 for 2 days a week. Im a support worker everythink seemed fine till june 21st woke up and my spine was numb and my lower right side as this wore off I was in a lot of pain. I can now feel a heavy sensation on my right side. I have been told this is the metal and the screws and it will fade in time or I have to get used to it. Iwould like to know if anyone else as this problem im due to go and see my consultant in august and have a xray as im still told its early days.
Darryl
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Jul 29, 2013 @ 7:19 pm
Hi, I'm 3 weeks out of a 3/4 fusion after having my 4,5,S1 fusion for a 28 mm slippage done in 2011, at the moment all seems ok but as you all know only time will tell on this one. Still have numbness to my left leg and have lost some strength in that leg also. My slippage is now at 18 mmm and stable. Through all of this because I was self employed I have lost my business and on the way to financial ruin, I haven't been able to return to any work in this time and nobody wants to employ someone with these types of problems. Everyone of us has a story, try to remain positive (so says anybody who hasn't been through this) good luck to every one. Cheers
jane
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Aug 25, 2013 @ 1:13 pm
Hi My daughter is nearly 17 and due to have surgery in oct they was going to do in sept but I said no because we had not seen her surgeon to talk about her last MRI.
I do not understand all the terms that are being used on here I just know that she has a 60% top and 55% lower.
But this may be more when we see him this week coming.
The surgeon has said he will save the bottom 3 discs does anybody know what this means in terms of T1 - T5 he said just below the bra line I am so confused.
She was at a full time theatre school and just finished her GCSE now due to start college to do Art A level as no drama
college will touch her now.
I am worried sick about this as she is a very young 16 year old and I do not think she has a clue about the hole entire thing.
Can anybody please maybe explain what some of the terms mean and is there anybody about the same age on this forum that is
in a similar position.
Thank you
Jane
Jane
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Aug 25, 2013 @ 1:13 pm
Hi sorry I also forgot to say that she has to have rib removal op aswell.
Regards
Jane
NjB
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Mar 11, 2014 @ 10:10 am
as a child and into my mid twenties I was very active and fit, but a trampoline accident when I was 14 gave me pain in my back from time to time. As time progressed the episodes became worse and despite physio for years, the pain became too much and at the age of 34 after an episode where I couldn't walk for 2 weeks (In 2005) I had a fusion on L4/5. the surgery went well but is took 12-18 months of physio to get all of the muscles etc working without pain. I didn't look back after this, but, I have had various problems with my neck which was resolved each time with physiotherapy. I also had continued problems with my lungs and suffered several episodes of pleurisy, pneumonia, chest infections and had a lot of "women's" problems. I ended up having a full hysterectomy in 2012 and recovered quickly. Since then the chest problems have continued and my lung specialist has been struggling to find out why I am so breathless, getting blue lips and infections regularly, along with a persistent cough. After months of investigations and various treatments, it was discovered I had a pulmonary embolism and am still on warfarin to ensure it does not come back. I am unable to continue with HRT and this worries me due to my previous spine problems. A reason for the PE have never been found but my health continues to deteriorate. My weight is rising due to inability to exercise rigorously, I cannot each large amounts of salad/veg whilst on warfarin as it contain vitamin I which is the antidote for warfarin! I was put on rivaroxaban initially but started coughing up blood and had raised blood pressure and headaches and had to be switched to warfarin. After returning to my lung specialist this week, he listened to my lungs and although breathless they were clear, but when he examined my back he noticed a slight curvature and there was a noticeable dip in the thoracic region which you can feel when you run your finger down my spine. Also the muscle to the right of this area has diminished considerably. This is the area around my right lung where I have been getting the constant pain. I am still breathless and have started keeping a diary of my "funny turns" and it would appear they happen when I am active (ironing, walking, housework, working). I have now been referred back to my spinal surgeon as he is worried that it may be spinal determination causing my problems. I have an appointment in two weeks and am very anxious to know the outcome. Hopefully it is not my spine and my symptoms with improve with time as my body heals from the pulmonary embolism. I really want to get active and lose the weight I have gained as this will not be helping me as I have always been slim until my surgery in 2005. Since then my weight has slowly crept up despite various diets!! It is all very frustrating - I am only 42 and want to get on with my usual hectic life as a mother, wife and business women without constant illness!!

Has anyone else out there had these type of problems after a spinal fusion - or is it just coincidence? I was fit and healthy before my fusion in 2005.
barbara spiller
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Jun 27, 2014 @ 10:22 pm
Many of the questions asked should be directed to your surgeon. Write down your questions beforehand. Carry a tape recorder and bring a friend. Many also desperately need to get a second opinion asap.. (My late husband was an orthopedic surgeon and I worked with him for 2 years so I know a little-very little. 9 weeks ago (this is 2014) I fell 8 ft onto the pavement on my back, primary on the left side. Since I was far from my home state at the time I was flown to Cox Hospital in Springfield, MO. I had 15 plus fractures in my back and L1 and L2 were crushed. I had 7 broken ribs, and 1 crushed rib and a punctured lung. I HAVE NOT BEEN ALLOWED TO SEE MY SURGEON FOR A FOLLOW UP because Cox sent me to their high functioning 3 hour per day rehab almost immediately after surgery (5 days post ops). Of course I couldnt do anything but walk a little and sit up in enormous pain. They refused to med-van me to the Dr. because "it was against their liability policy to transport patients anywhere" and he refused to walk across the street to Cox rehab to see me. Because I transferred to another facility a week ago I'm able to go to my surgeon next week. . I have horrible never pain in my left arm and both legs as well as ongoing terrible headaches and dizziness, yet Cox refused to give me an MRI . I'm now able o use my lap top and researching some of your suggestions, but if anyone has had a similar fall and injuries I would appreciate your input as to what might help me.
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Jul 9, 2014 @ 5:05 am
I had fusion of l3 to s1 in 2004, I haven't had too much pain until the other day, I was getting out of bed and something popped in my lower back I am having pain like before I had rods put in, I had an xray done but haven't gotten the results yet I'm just wondering if it could have been one of the rods breaking or something.has anyone else experienced this???
cary
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Jul 10, 2014 @ 7:19 pm
i hmorphine ave had 3lower backoperations but could not get ride of the pain then i went in for a fusion operation on my lower back iam just now able to get up and walk around iam still in pain but do the best i can i take morphine sulfer and it helps some what but if i stand still it hurts really bad but if i move around its not so bad i would ask your doctor to give you morphine sulfer 60 mg and see if that helps you ok fromcat50cary@gmail.com
Jeremy
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Jul 24, 2014 @ 9:21 pm
T8-T11 after an accident shattered some vertebrae. It's been 2 years now. Extremely successful! No pain, no lasting limitations, no nerve damage. I must be lucky but I have no complaints! My Neurosurgeon; Dr. Kuhn Daytona Beach Florida

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