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Old 07-03-2004, 09:37 PM   #1
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kkoch HB User
HELP!! What are the symptoms of a failed lumbar fusion??

Hi, I am new here and was hoping someone could give me some insight. I had an ALIF with BAK cages only and BMP on 4-6-4 at L5-S1. Upon my 2 wk post op I was still in severe pain. The Doc read the X-rays and told me that the vertebra that the BAK cages were sitting on had fractured and once this healed should feel pain relief. He also told me the cages were starting to collapse. I am now 12 wks post op and continue to have low back pain in addition to the radiculopathy that returned a few weeks ago. I am in more pain now than before the surgery. Is this what a failed fusion feels like??? What will they do next if it is a failed fusion?? Thanks for reading my post and sharing your knowledge with me.

Last edited by kkoch; 07-04-2004 at 09:15 AM. Reason: Other symptoms

 
Old 07-04-2004, 07:20 AM   #2
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SpondyMom HB User
Re: HELP!! What are the symptoms of a failed lumbar fusion??

[QUOTE=kkoch]Hi, I am new here and was hoping someone could give me some insight. I had an ALIF with BAK cages only and BMP on 4-6-4 at L5-S1. Upon my 2 wk post op I was still in severe pain. The Doc read the X-rays and told me that the vertebra that the BAK cages were sitting on had fractured and once this healed should feel pain relief. I am now 12 wks post op and continue to have low back pain in addition to the radiculopathy that returned a few weeks ago. I am in more pain now than before the surgery. Is this what a failed fusion feels like??? What will they do next if it is a failed fusion?? Thanks for reading my post and sharing your knowledge with me.[/QUOTE]

I honestly don't know what a failed fusion feels like but I do know people who've had 3 or 4 attempts at one.

 
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Old 07-04-2004, 11:58 AM   #3
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carol632 HB User
Re: HELP!! What are the symptoms of a failed lumbar fusion??

[QUOTE=kkoch]Hi, I am new here and was hoping someone could give me some insight. I had an ALIF with BAK cages only and BMP on 4-6-4 at L5-S1. Upon my 2 wk post op I was still in severe pain. The Doc read the X-rays and told me that the vertebra that the BAK cages were sitting on had fractured and once this healed should feel pain relief. He also told me the cages were starting to collapse. I am now 12 wks post op and continue to have low back pain in addition to the radiculopathy that returned a few weeks ago. I am in more pain now than before the surgery. Is this what a failed fusion feels like??? What will they do next if it is a failed fusion?? Thanks for reading my post and sharing your knowledge with me.[/QUOTE]


[COLOR=DarkOliveGreen][SIZE=3][FONT=Georgia][I]What does he mean, the cages are starting to collapse?? I don't know how that could happen...mine is made of titanium!

I think diagnosis of "failed fusion" is simply when the patient continues to have more and more pain after the surgery, whether or not he/she has fused. I fused 100%, yet my back pain just kept getting worse and worse.

You are only 3 months out, so it is too early to put that label on you. You had a pretty big surgery and it's going to take time to recover; is the pain getting worse or are you having pain where you had none before?

I would sit down and have a long talk with my surgeon...insist that he listen to and answer fully all your questions. Remember, he works for YOU and not the other way around. If you aren't satisfied, get another opinion or two.

Good luck.

Carol[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR]
__________________
2 lami's, 3 fusions
bone spur removal
cerv. fusion, 1 level
morphine pump

 
Old 07-04-2004, 01:06 PM   #4
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kkoch HB User
Re: HELP!! What are the symptoms of a failed lumbar fusion??

Thanks for your replies.
The cages that I have are BAK cages which are also titanium. He explained that when a cage collapses it means that they are sinking into the bottom vertebra and the disc space is again narrowing. The pain that I have now is very similar to the pain prior to surgery except there is no relief. I am also now having numbness and tingling down my right buttock thigh and calf. My next appt is 7-19. I will have a CT done also at that time. Hopefully that will show how things are progressing or regressing.

Carol, When did you have your fusion and at what level? How was your recovery period?

Thanks, Kelly

 
Old 07-04-2004, 10:12 PM   #5
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StarAngel3 HB User
Re: HELP!! What are the symptoms of a failed lumbar fusion??

Hello,
I have failed back syndrome, and I have continued back pain, and leg pain..It hasn't gotten any better than before the fusion. ..I hope yours isn't a FBS, and you get better..Hugs StarAngel..

 
Old 07-05-2004, 06:06 AM   #6
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carken HB User
Re: HELP!! What are the symptoms of a failed lumbar fusion??

I'm 6 months post fusion (L5 S1), and although I've had to have a second surgery for nerve decompression and am still in more pain than before the initial surgery, I don't yet call my surgery a 'failed lumbar fusion'.

I'm hoping that this radiculopathy will recede/go away as the nerve becomes calmer. I still have to take about 3 pain meds a day to function, and I have to lie down frequently - - still I won't say 'failed lumbar fusion' yet.

Should I call myself "Pollyanna"?

Carole

 
Old 07-06-2004, 11:41 AM   #7
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dianaj85 HB User
Kelly,

Hi! I had my fusion on the exact day you did! Mine was not with a cage, though. It was L5/S1 as well. I have screws and rods.

I am feeling great, and would hope that by this time, you would be feeling some better. I know that every case is different, though, so you should really discuss all the details with your doctor. Maybe it is just a matter of your weakened lower vertebra healing, and it just needs more time.

I do hope you get some answers and some relief, soon! Hang in there!

 
Old 07-06-2004, 01:46 PM   #8
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kkoch HB User
Re: HELP!! What are the symptoms of a failed lumbar fusion??

Thanks to all of you for your replies and support. I am trying to be optimistic but you know how difficult that can be when your are in pain. I have called the Doc every other week with updates but got no response other than I'll have to wait until the 19th to see what the CT shows. Since this is the 2nd surgery in 7 months I am hoping and praying that this is the last.

Kelly

 
Old 07-07-2004, 05:29 AM   #9
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Mistina HB User
Re: HELP!! What are the symptoms of a failed lumbar fusion??

I've never heard of the cages sinking into the bottom vertebre. Is this a rare occurance. I'm due to have a cage fusion at some point and know the risks but this wasn't one of them. I never knew this happened. What did the doctors say was the chances this would happen?

Christina

 
Old 07-11-2004, 08:48 AM   #10
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MelissaMay HB User
Re: HELP!! What are the symptoms of a failed lumbar fusion??

kkoch

I had the same surgery as you on May 10, 2004. This was my third surgery since Feb 28, 2004. I too have been concerned about possible failure, but am trying to be patient. My next appointment is in August, and I believe that I will find out then if my body is accepting the BMP and fusing. It is a very long road, and easy to get paranoid and frustrated. Are you still taking pain medication, I am still taking Darvocet and am hoping to go off it sometime soon. My concern is that I have been on narcotic painkillers since February, although I am still struggling with the pain. Good Luck.

 
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