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Old 12-29-2012, 04:49 PM   #1
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Need lumbar surgery

Had back fusion in 2003 l4-5. Very successful. For the past 9 months have had pain in legs, back and thighs. Had injections, discography, and mylogram. Disogram showed two bad disc (L1-2 and L2-3). Went to the surgeons office yesterday he said I needed lumbar salvage surgery. It is as follows: Fusion L1-2 and L2-3, disc removal/replacement L3-4 L5-S1, remove hardware from previous surgery L4-5 and put in rods/ screws L1-S1. If I don't then Morphine pump, or stimulator. Not sure what to do.....what a messed up back. Has anyone had this much surgery? And what were the results? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

 
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:09 PM   #2
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Re: Need lumbar surgery

I would most definitely get more than one opinion. If this doctor was a neurosurgeon, you might want to get another opinion from an orthopedic spine surgeon or vice versa, and be sure they are from different practices.

Without knowing more about your situation, it is difficult to say if this diagnosis makes sense or not. I don't understand the point of removing the disc at L3-L4, particilarly if artificial disc replacement is planned. I don't believe that is even a surgery that is approved by the FDA since it would be going into adjoining areas that are fused. Also you don't mention anything being diseased about the disc between L3 and L4.

I would definitely explore the option of surgery before living with a neurostimulator for the rest of my life if I were in your shoes.

 
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:36 AM   #3
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Re: Need lumbar surgery

Thank you for the information......I will go get second opinion. The doctor was talking about putting spacers I believe it was called at L3-4 L5-S1. He said they are peek spacers. I have tears in L1-2 L2-3 with bulgs, DDD and arthritis advanced mid and lower fasets (sp).

Last edited by Lumbar; 12-30-2012 at 06:03 AM.

 
Old 12-30-2012, 01:59 PM   #4
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Re: Need lumbar surgery

Hi. Here is my history on my spine condition & surgeries:

-- 1994 lumbar surgery for herniated discs;
-- 1995 cervical surgery for foramenal stenosis;
-- 1997 lumbar surgery for "flatback syndrome" with Harrington Rods from L2 to the Iliac crest;
-- 2000 Cervical surgery for "kyphosis" with Harrington Rods from C3 to about the T4 levels
-- 2006 Implant Spinal Cord Stimulator;
-- 2011 Removal of Spinal Cord Stimulator since it was helping me;
-- 2012 Trial portion of Intrathecal Pain Pump (Morphine pump);
-- 2013 (scheduled) Implant permanent Intrathecal Pain Pump -- 1/11/13

I have had continual spine issues. Each of the surgeries help me, BUT after each surgery a NEW problem arose; thus more surgery.

I went thru an MRI of the Cervical & thoracic region last week; additional findings included focal cord atrophy and myelomalacia in the cervical spine. There was also severe loss of disc height at one level and bone spurs at several locations. And some foramenal stenosis

The thoracic region showed protrusions & bulges at several levels.

An EMG showed severe nerve damage in the neck and low back; severe arthritis and peripheral neuropathy. I have severe numbness in both legs, the left more then the right. Loss of balance issues, pain in the neck; shoulders; weakness in the arms; tingling in the fingers.

For the cervical issues they are afraid (my neurosurgeon) to do more surgery on the neck due to other health issues. And doing the surgery itself without those risks the surgery is extremely complicated.

What surprised me about yoru post is that you said they removed the hardware from your spine for follow up surgery.

The reason I am surprised is as follows: As I said above I had the spine cord stimulator implanted. The leads were placed in the thoracic area and the device in my hip area to help the lumbar region.

Since I was also having cervical issues as well there was a question if the spinal cord stimulator could be placed in the cervical region as well. But there was a complication. With the Harrington Rods already there there was no space to implant the device. The only option would be to remove the hardware to make room for the device. Both my neurosurgeon and anesthesiologist/pain management doctor did NOT recommend this route. They said that removing the hardware was an extremely dangerous process in that the removal could lead to paralysis. They did not want to take this route or did they recommend it.

So when I hear someone has hardward removed it surprises me & question what was done. Maybe there were other considerations that I am not aware of, so I can only relate to you what was told me as to the risks involved in removing the hardware.

 
Old 12-30-2012, 06:57 PM   #5
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Re: Need lumbar surgery

They have not removed hardware yet (rods/screws). If I have the surgery they will remove and extend the rods from L1-S1. Sorry for the miss understanding.

 
Old 12-30-2012, 09:38 PM   #6
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Re: Need lumbar surgery

Rods and screws aren't that difficult to remove...at least at the lumbar level...I can't say about cervical, but lumbar hardware removal is done routinely...and the surgery is less involved than the original fusion. People usually bounce back quickly unless other things are done at the same time.

I'm not talking about Harrington rods...just the pedicle screws and short rods that are used for fusion surgeries. I've been trying to find a photo or illustration of a Harrington rod online because I don't really know what they look like...but I haven't been able to find one. I know they were routinely used for scoliosis in the 60s and 70s, but there is now better technology.

I have my rods and screws from my first fusion. They look just like they came from the local hardware store!

 
Old 12-31-2012, 12:47 AM   #7
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Re: Need lumbar surgery

I can't comment because I dont know whether it is easier to remove rods/screws etc from the lumbar region over the cervical region.

I can only relay my story in trying to put a SCS in the cervical area, the removal of the rods etc I was advised against it.

 
Old 12-31-2012, 04:07 AM   #8
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Smile Re: Need lumbar surgery

I had trilevel fusion seven months ago from L2 to s1
I am still in Horrible pain in the S1 region beyond and I'm having pain in my upper back above the surgery site also my surgeons are telling me that Will remove the rods and screws once my back Is fused. I don't think there is an issue with moving rod from the lower back but definitely from the cervical Region. The one thing that I wanted to do and love to do walk and I have not been able to walk Due to the fact that I have so much pain and SI joint region
Is telling me that when he removes the rods and screws hopefully the SI joint will heal The funny thing is that I could get on my horse and rider without pain but not walk. I had ALIF/plif on May 21 and 23 of 2012. In sept I had fusion of c5/c6 No problem there

 
Old 12-31-2012, 04:11 AM   #9
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Re: Need lumbar surgery

Removal of the rods in the cervical region is very very dangerous because that is where the main part of the spinal cord flows in the lower lumbar it is not the same the spinal cord ends at the last of the thoracic vertebrae

 
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