I'm feeling VERY hopeful about my fusion (I'm pain free) but it was only 2 months ago. I think people who've overcome their painful conditions tend to "move on" when they no longer are experiencing what sent them to these boards. I think that's why you're seeing the lack of responses.
[QUOTE=L4-L5-S1]I asked this question to the board 5 days ago.......
Not one positive response......................
Is the failure rate 4 years out really this bad.....??????
I was just reading a web site that I can't quote here until I get permisson, that states that over 25% of the fusion cases come back for another surgery within four years.
It is really an interesting site. I gave a lot of statistics on success and failure rates. I can't post the site but it is an article from The New Yorker, which is a publication. The articles is called, Annal of Medicine, A Knife in The Back. Issue of 2002-04-08 Posted 2002-04-01 by Jerome Groopman. I found it when researching spinal arthroplasty.
Right. Jerry Groopman's article is very well written from the perspective of a doctor (not a spine specialist) who had surgery as a young guy (in his residency) and wishes he didn't. I think Moonlight has already given enough info that people would be able to find it easily via a search engine. Groopman is a doc who writes a lot of very good medical articles for the "general public." Thus the New Yorker, a literary magazine, is one of his outlets.
In the article he cites one study to this effect: "a study of workers injured on the job in the state of Washington who received fusions for degenerative-disk disease reported that twenty-two per cent had further surgery." There is no indication in the article how long they went before having further surgery or what sort of further surgery they had.
Hi Standing man, I'm a spiney but spend most ofmy time at the pain management forum. My first laminectomy discectomy failed and left my spine unstable, the fusion done 2 years later failed when 2 screws snapped and everything shifted crushing the disc above and below L3-4-5, the next surgery was a fusion of L1-S1 and I have broken both pedicle screws in S1 so the rodsmove and slice anytime I I bend forward. There basicaqlly is no correct way to do a fusion, every doc that does them claims reduicolous succes rates with no study to prove their claims. Thereisn't a single set of hardware aproved by the FDA for use in the lmbar spine, were all just guinea pigs and perhaps after doing fusions for another 40 years they will either find the right way or determne it's a barbaric way to satabalize the spine.
The stories I could tell, I actually met one ghuy that had coral placed n his spine instead of bone. The docs doing these procedures ovber and over never inform you that his method of fusing is just what he consideres the best way to do it. See 5 more surgeons and you will get 5 more aproaches and methods of fusing the spine.
Because I'm new to this forum I really don't know if your trying to decide to fuse or have already had one or two fail. I've used a bone growth stim, used enzymes made to promete bone growth and still no solid fusion. Now I'm a crunching squeking mess with broken hardware still in me from 2 failed sets of titanium hardware.
It should be the absolute last resort. When I had my done, PM with opiates was never even an option that was offered. At least now patients have the option of delaying fusions with PM and have several choices in long acting meds to help deal with pain and help the patient continue to work and be productive. By the way, I broke hardware withine 2 years of the last 2 fusions. So 4 years of a solid spine would have been nice, I never got a month of relief other than having the nerves decompressed and relieveing leg pain, the last surgery left me numb from the waste to the knees. 38yrs old going on 78. If your having problems now but haven't been fused go ahead and purchase disability insurance. Once your disbled it's too late.
It took me 2 years to get aproved for SSD. I don't know too many folks that can go two years with no income and not loose their house and everything they have worked their entire life to build.
Good luck, Dave
2 yrs. 7 mos. since my Fusion L-4/L-5 & still going strong......I take precausions not to lift heavy stuff.....Avoid horse back riding...Cliff Jumping......Greek Wrestling!! I have No back related pain & No Meds!! Just turned 56.....& smiling everyday!!
Even thought the back boards refer you to the pain management boards, I think that more people from the pain boards, like yourself should drop in and share thier experiences so that people here can hear about what can happen.
I read two articles, one by Groopman, who writes for the New Yorker and another by a doctor who is in Switzerland and who is involved in the new titamium trials. I wish that I had written down the web sites but didn't and I erase my history each day.
You have to admit (or maybe you don't) that the article in the New Yorker was filled with info, good info. If I were to be thinking about this surgery, or fusion, I would read this article as well as any article that I could get a hold of.
One of those articles quoted that fusion and artificial disc has been around for over 50 years. And, fusion still has a really high failure rate due to the fact that the adjacent discs end up eroding. Almost all patients ended up back in for surgery.
Hey moonlight. I think it is great that you are doing as much research as you do on surgery. You would probably do the best with surgery out of everyone on here because of how you question every method. I hope all this work you put in pays off someday because you deserve it!
[QUOTE=ItHurts!]Hey moonlight. I think it is great that you are doing as much research as you do on surgery. You would probably do the best with surgery out of everyone on here because of how you question every method. I hope all this work you put in pays off someday because you deserve it! [/QUOTE]
I am not sure if you are joking or not but I will take it in jest.
I figure that you only get one body. That's it. Sure, they can put new parts in ya and try new methods of fixin' ya and some work and some don't. Unfortunatetly, with the back (and other parts, I am sure) they have no one to test things on. Animals can't talk. Their brains can react when electrodes are hooked up and they can register pain, but, unlike humans, they just can't talk.
We have something called referred pain, so it might hurt one place and the pain might actually be coming from another. I only wish that we were like cars, change the oil, keep the air pressure in the tires at the right level, give the engine a tune-up every 3000 miles, top off the fluids, and we are good to go, but sometimes, we take care of our pets and our cars better than we take care of ourselves.
Until my first injury I thought that I was invincible. I was going through life at a million miles and hour. Then I hit a brick wall. First thing that I did was to invest in a computer, befriended some doctors, checked out a look of books, and set out to find out how to get fixed.
I both frustrate and amaze my doctors. As they are stuck in their little worlds, just like professors at the colleges, they are not always on the cutting edge of things. We, the patients, bring them knowledge. They take classes or have pharmacuetical salesmen drop off samples and then they wait for us to tell them what works or doesn't work.
The internet is a very powerful tool that we now have at our fingertips to talk to others who have the same experiences or success or failures.
Every treatment or med that my family has gotten since we have gotten the internet has been researched for months beforehand.
A year ago I was a candidate for surgery, right then, but with stretches, exercise, and some meds (not pain meds) I have been able to prolong the surgery and maybe avoid it.
Five years ago I was told that I needed surgery for a torn rotator cuff. I was seeing one of the top orthos in our area who works on all of the althletics in our area. I put it off and said no. I did have a bone spur removed that was impinging on a nerve, but let the rotator cuff heal on its own as their is only a 50% recovery rate on those. I was so happy that I did my research.
Should I ever get surgery, I want to know exactly what is being done, what the projected success rate is, and I want to have a good insurance policy in place.
I had surgery done on Dec 24,1997. Merry Christmas. L4, L5, S1 were fused. I had therapy for a year every day except the weekends. You will be in it for the long hall. I still had pain but not as bad but one of the biggest things is waking up every morning as stiff as a board until you warm up. Then in the evening when you relax your back gets stiff again. You learn to live with it. After all this time I just found out my top fusion did not fuse. So I can live with it or go under the knife again. I have had more pain lately so thatís why I had it check out. Good luck to you.