I had a lumbar fusion in October and am in more pain than I was in before the surgery. I did not enter into this surgery lightly; I waited until I felt it was the last resort, and that I had a solid surgeon. I had tried every non-invasive option I could find.
Has anyone got any info about lumbar fusion gone bad? I am in constant pain and want to help myself in any reasonable way. Now I find on line that there is a SYNDROME called Failed Back Surgery Sydrome (FBSS) therefore there must be more people like me out there. Any help? suggestions? info? Thanks! P.T.
There are oodles and oodles of you out there. This is why so many people come to these boards and look for alternatives to surgery. When they fuse you, they are hoping that the bone pastes takes. Often times it doesn't. More often in the lumbar region than the neck. This is why more people are opting for disc replacement. It is my understanding that once you have fusion, though, you are no longer a candidate for the ADR.
Before any more procedures, ask, ask, ask. Get lots of opinions. If it were me, I would to and sit in a ortho' s waiting room and ask around, find out how many people are there on there second, third, fourth, go around.
I canít really offer too much other than a little support. You are four months older than I as far as our surgeries are concerned and although I canít say that I am in any greater pain than before surgery (I am not), I have questioned myself several times in the last several weeks whether or not I am experiencing FBSS. The peaks and valleys have been severe, although I am once again climbing out and feeling pretty good lately. I am still taking quite a few narcotics (just started Avinza) and canít really tell if they are doing more harm than good, but at this point I am not willing to gamble with not taking any scripts and going to OTC pain meds. I am going to wait another month or two.
Have you tried to do too much too soon? Are you still doing any PT? What have your doctors said, are you seeing a pain management doctor? I wish I could be of more help, and I hope that you are wrong with your diagnoses (FBSS) and are doing better soon. Good Luck,
3level laminectomy,discectomy&PLIF L3-S1 02/20/04
6cages 8screws 2rods (oh my!) w/local bone graft
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Moonlight and Haw'nCarl
Thank you for the immediate replies! I was about to turn in and will reply at more length tomorrow. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your input...and so quickly!
Has an xray shown that the fusion is not happening? Some people heal quicker that others. And some overdo it in the beginning and that can also slow down recovery. PT sounds like a good idea. Are you walking a great deal? What does your doctor have to say? I'm only 2 weeks post op from a 2 level fusion so I have little to offer except moral support.
APLIF T4-S1 on july 19, 2004
Harrington rod T5 - T12 1982
Please do not lose hope. I have had an unsuccessful fusion in Oct 2003 and am going in to redo it this month. My fusion never took. My body absorbed the bmp. failed back surgery syndrome is just a label given to people who have had an unsuccessful surgery and it doesnt mean you can never be fixed. Did the fusion take but the pain did not go away ?/If so the part of your back operated on may not have been the cause of your pain.Or as long as there is no fusion there will be pain do to the stress on the rods and screws if those were implemented. Also anytime a fusion takes place there is a GREAT chance the disk above will go bad mine did. You asre still pretty early in your game at 4 months. Try to be sure not to overdo it.
I wish you luck and my prayers are with you.
Those of us living with back problems are truly the only ones who can relate to each other in the true sense of compassion due to experience. Let the others on this board be your wisdom and your strenght.
Hello,, Yes there alot like you,, I too have a two level fusion l-4-5 and s-1, It is now broke in three places,been 5 years,lots pain, they wanyt to re-do the two and take two more disk out?? I too dont know what to do?? Doctor says 50-50 chance? I am 49 ,,I really dont know what to tell you or even do myself,,Good Luck!
My last fusion was in '97, L5-S1 and I knew almost right away that something was wrong. The old pain was gone, but there was new pain that was very different. My ortho followed me very carefully, my fusion was taking, but the pain continued, especially in the left hip (bone graft site) and leg. Dr. thought it was just from the donor bone but after 3 months he xrayed the hip and found bursitis. Went on prednisone, bursitis was gone, pain continued. It has, to this day, never stopped. Finally, 2 years ago, it was decided that I have FBSS (I knew it long before that) and now I have the morphine pump.
No doctor likes the diagnosis, it makes them feel like failures. Some docs don't even recognize the term.
I hope that you both are wrong and that your pain will subside. This is not a fun place to be.
Hello - not wishing to be glum but the truth is best. I have had 2 surgeries, discetomeny and then L4/L5 fusion. 2 months post fusion the pain started, in my right ankle, it has been continuous for 18 months. I have been to numerous doctors, PT, pain management, drug therapies, MRI's, CT scans, mylograms (that put me in the hospital as the spinal tap gave me a huge headache which sent me to emergency and they admitted me for 3 days, would not give me the blood patch to cure the headache straight away as they said the hardware made me an infection risk, finally they gave it to me with a huge dose of anti-biotics and the headache went and no infection). They say there is no surgical solution and I am stuck with this nerve damage and the pain. My next course of treatment this week is lumbar facet injections and medial nerve blocks, if these work it will be on to radiofrequency denervation. If this fails then I am left with morphine pump or spinal cord stimulator. If I could do it all again I would have avoided the fusion at all costs.
How many doctors have you seen for this? If you haven't gotten a second opinion, please do so now. Some doctors are like dogs with bones....they make their mind up that it is a certain problem and refuse to look at anything else. My first doctor was like that....2 laminectomies later, I ended up with a fusion by a different doctor all because the 1st one wouldnt look any further.
I think a fresh set of eyes looking at those films might be useful. And please, be careful of the injections...you should never have more than 3 a year. The injections themselves can cause problems; and never allow one to be done without fluorscopy!