I was reading this board today because it came up on a google search for "oxycodone shortage" and I came accross your post called "Not Good News" regarding your SI Fusion and visit to your doctor where the ct showed you had not fused and the doctor told you that you did too much etc etc. I read the responses as well and as far as I can tell no one who has replied has experience with SI fusion. This fusion is not the same as a cervical or lumbar fusion, wrist or ankle fusion. The SI joint is one of the hardest joints in the body to fuse.
Please LISTEN TO YOUR DOCTOR!!! DO NOT put weight on the side of your surgery.
To tell you how I know that your doctor is at least partly correct (But please don't beat yourself up, you were in a position where you had no choice but to take care of your Mother!) is because I have undergone two SI fusions on my left side. The first one broke because the surgeon did not use hardware (And I learned that this fusion should NOT be done without hardware). The second one did not fuse because I did not stay off my feet like I should have. (I was in an abusive relationship and staying off my feet was not an option.) I did try 1 month in a wheelchair and ended up with Pseudoarthrosis. This means that instead of fusing the SI joint grew a bone covering over it, but the joint itself was still not fused and still had space. This bone covering is not strong and it broke.
The end result is I live with what amounts to a compound fracture of the SI joint. The plate and screws are now loose (surgery was in 1999) and bone fragments are floating around from the bone rubbing against other bone and chipping pieces off. (Due to my weird anatomy this break has caused extensive damage to the sciatic nerve where it passes through the pelvis on the left side.) The doctors all tell me that this surgery can not be attempted again as I have failed fusion twice, which decreases my chances of a successful fusion from another surgery.
Please please please listen to your doctor! Do not put weight on your surgery side unless you absolutely have to (to prevent a fall on that side is an example of absolutely have to..doing laundry is not). It may also help if you research proper vitamins and minerals for recovering from a broken bone (which is basically what you have as a result of fusion surgery), as they can be very helpful in the body creating new bone and fusing thoroughly.
If you find the walker too difficult to use and keep all weight off your surgery side, discuss crutches with your doctor. I was supposed to use them for 9 weeks to keep all weight off my left side. (Some doctors require longer periods of time)
It is true that a fusion can take up to a year to heal completely, however if fusion does not begin or is broken early on then it lowers the chance of full fusion. I do not want to scare you and I am truly sorry if I did. I just had to reply because no one else had the experience of an SI fusion (not that I saw anyway) and I have the experience of 2 of them.
The hardware can last for quite a while. I was told that I could expect the plate and screws (one of which is 6 inches long) to break within 5 years of surgery. It has been 10 years (this June) and counting. The screws are loose and the plate is a little bent, but they have not broken nor backed out of the bone. It depends on what they used, how bad the damage was, how bad the damage is if the fusion doesn't take, whether or not you get injured further (such as landing on a marble table with full force..like I did 4 years ago LOL) etc.
Please, listen to your doctor and do what he tells you. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers that your fusion heals solidly and stays that way!!
Last edited by Ravenshad; 03-03-2009 at 06:57 PM.
Reason: correcting spelling and clarify a point
Thank you Missy for you message....I agree, that I have to keep the weight off of the surgery side....I had felt the bones sliding previously when I did accidentally put too much weight on the "fused" side...not a good feeling. Right now, I think fusion is maybe starting....it does ache/hurt in the area, but not to the extent that it has previously. I am trying so hard not to put weight on the right leg....I am trying to stay "down"...recliner/bed...but it is very difficult... I also changed the type of calcium I was using...and have felt since I have been taking the new calcium that I feel improvement...maybe the other stuff wasn't up to snuff.... I am so afraid of what the Dr. will say in April...I live in terror...I do not want that surgery again.. Thank you for sharing your experience with the SI joint, you have no idea what it means, as this surgery is so drastically different from most other spinal surgeries. Take care....
Hope to hear from you soon....and hope that you are feeling better.
As you know during my first lumbar fusion of L-4, L-5, S-1 I had SIJ fused too. I have in my pelvic metal plate and metal clips. Fortunately i fused and SIJ fused also. The problem with this Joint is that it's not visible on MRI or CT. I had so many tests done, discogram included, before my surgeries, but only during my surgery when they opened me up, Dr noticed that my SIJ had a problem also.
I am so sorry you are still going through hard times. Diet, you, me and I see some other "oldies" still suffer and still on this board. I wish we would be out and about by now, but...
You are one of the sweetest people I have every known....I remember that you had the SI joint fusion as part of another major surgery. I just can't believe that it is now almost 9 months after my SI joint surgery, and I am still having pain...this is unbelievable. Yes, I am resting...trying not to put weight on the right side...fused side. I have only been out of the house 3 times since Jan...to the Dr., dentist (lost a filling...day before yesterday), and had to have a hair cut...that is it, and yes, the hair cut was necessary - mental health was involved with that one.
I am soooooooo worried that this darned SI fusion will not take, I am thinking positive...but that little doubt is in the back of my mind...I go back to the surgeon in the middle of April...and I am so worried. Yes, the pain is less, but I know that I can be active and cause it to increase...right now, I am taking very little medication...compared to meds. 4 times a day, which just barely cut pain down previous to surgery...but I am still having lower back/right sided pain...pain is gone from foot and leg....(except for my poor knee...which needs surgery again from the fall I took last winter in the snow)... I think the fusion is starting...and hope that by next month that I will be in less pain. I see the resolving pain as a weekly thing, not a daily - small amounts of relief each week....
I am so sorry that we are still here, and diet too....and Frosty....I hope all of the others are better, and not just lurking off to the side....
I pray that you have a good day...take care, and thank you for thinking of me...
Hi all...Faith...I am sooooo sorry that you are still in pain...yup, I do understand what you are going through.... I have been "resting"...since January...again...to see if my SI joint will heal. I do believe that it is healing...much less pain...putting weight on it is not a great thing...it hurts - just down to the pain in the surgery area ....but the rest is feeling better... My knee is hurting...from the fall last year...(had surgery on it) but it still swells and hurts....a lot...I am wondering if the back is causing the knee problem (vice-vs...)...throwing the knee out the wrong way...and causing the back to hurt.... either way...knee has problems. Dr. said I should rest the knee....duh...what does he think I have been doing??? I have been resting the back....knee is attached to the rest of the resting body. My best suggestion for you is to REST....keep off of your feet...don't carry stuff....forget shopping...ride in the carts in the stores. Lay down and keep your back still as much as possible....not just for a day or two...I'm telling you weeks...and weeks of rest... This seems to be the only help for the pain....4 months is not enought time...I am 9 months out...and just starting to feel human...takes a long time for this surgery...to heal....don't care what the Dr. says... I stopped taking the calcium tablets the Dr. had me on...and went to the viactive....I believe the viactive works better...feel a major difference....and healing...check with your Dr.
I go to the Drs. on 4/20....I had to cancel my appt. for the 17th...my daughter could not come with me on the 17th...I need someone with me....the Dr. frightens me!!! (how old am I!!!)....
Oh my goodness...reading your posts is making me very nervous! I also have SI joint issues, to the extent that I am probably going back to a pain mgmt. doc b/c I'm not sure my GP will be comfortable with increasing my dosage (I only take 2 Percodan per day, broken into halves). I also have two degenerative discs in my neck, so there is chronic pain from those also.
Now I am worried that a PM doc might suggest surgery, which is something I cannot agree to. I am a single mother who HAS to work, a job that requires lifting and bending, and a non-handicapped accessible house! Now you see why your posts make me nervous...can you tell me how long you had SI issues before the doctor recommended surgery?
I am not sage, but have had si issues for a long time, about 10 years. I have tried exercising, phy therapy, chiropractor, and wearing the si belt and last but not least the si injections. I had surgery last Dec. and am still recovering. If it works, it will be all worth it but I am still waiting to see. The last 2 days I have had less pain so now I am a tiny bit less worried. The one thing I would say is that my doctor said I could go back to work (I have a home daycare) in six weeks. I am still only working two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon, and it is still hard on me. I can go to the store but can't carry my groceries...I can sit only for short times...If you HAD to work I don't know how you could do it as much as you would want to...see what sage says, but I bet she would say the same thing. I love my doctor but I think he is way off on thinking it is a six week recovery. I was on crutches for six weeks and then released to go to work. If I had to do it over I would plan on not working at all for six months to recover the right way. I wish there were more people writing about their experience so we could compare recovery rates to get a better idea of normal. I would go through ALL avenues of treatment before getting surgery.
Thanks for the info, faith. I have no intention of having surgery; it just isn't possible in my world, you know? I definitely hope my pain can be controlled by means other than surgery; the SI injections worked well but only lasted a few months, and my insurance will only cover one treatment per year....grrr!
For now, I continue with daily PT exercises and meds, but will talk with my doctor when she returns from maternity leave b/c I'm definitely noticing an increase in pain and/or increase in tolerance to the meds.
Thanks for sharing the info; I sure do hope you are feeling MUCH better soon, b/c you definitely have a demanding job!
I had just typed a long not to you both...and somehow I lost it....grrrrrrr....
now I can only sit for a few more min....but wanted to let you know that my Dr. visit was pretty good.....
Faith...keep sitting down...do not put weight on surgery side....do not lift...sit and ride in those carts at the grocery store and walmarts etc. I know that you have a hard job...responsible...but you have to give this thing a chance to heal...originally my Dr. said 3 months...nothing....and that he's had patients heal in 6 weeks...yeah...and he said basically they were all men...guys love sitting in front of the TV!!!!! He said that women just can't sit still...we jump up and do stuff...and that is so true....but I learned that I had to sit...and I have done just that for almost 3 months (cheated the last couple of weeks....going nuts...) Sitting is hard work...dust bunnies are growing into big bunnies....oh well...they will wait... Please take your calcium, if you use a bone growth stimulator..use it....keep the weight off/don't lift...take care of you....or you'll be still hurting at 10 months out too..
Nancyjo....listen to your Drs.....let them know that the meds. are not as effictive...the SI joint is diagnosed by SI joint injections with contrast...then a CT scan to see if the contrast is escaping..from a disrupted SI joint. You can see it on the CT scan... The injection also takes the pain away for several hours...that is the only way they can diagnose a SI joint disruption. If you do have a SI joint problem...it is a tough surgery, but, when it finally heals...well..pain will be gone (at least I hope so!!! how about only left with a little ache...I can live with that....my leg/knee and the darned little toe don't hurt anymore...and I am grateful for that) I didn't have surgery for over 6 years....I fell and caused my problems...and no one could diagnose where the pain was coming from...not bad enough here...not too much wrong there....may be in your head...try this test....have these and those injections-you get the picture....the big runaround cause they didn't know what was wrong. Finally I went to a new neurosurgeon and he diagnosed me...but didn't do that kind of surgery. I am so fortunate that Frosty knew someone with a SI joint problem...and had a Dr. about 60 miles from my house...the DRs. are special specialists...cause most Drs. don't do SI joints. Make sure whoever you see has done SI joint surgery many times...experience!! I would not rush surgery....if meds. can cover your pain for a bit..well...who knows what will be happening a year or two down the road...maybe a better surgery!! Take care....and ask questions if you want...don't worry...we try to answer them....
I am working diligently on my PT exercises these days, especially when I first wake up. Getting going in the morning seems to be the hardest part of my day!
Without going into details that will horrify everyone, I was in an extremely abusive relationship and that is how the damage was caused. Sadly, my self-esteem was so low after my divorce that I just accepted it, figuring any attention was better than being ignored (like I was in my marriage). What I did not know is that my former boyfriend is a psychopath who did time in prison for rape...imagine my shock when I googled his name and found THAT.
By that time, the damage was already done. I've had three surgeries to repair damage to "female" areas, but this SI thing is a whole other issue, and one that I would like to avoid surgery on! When I was still with him, there were days that I feared I would end up in a wheelchair and he would be LONG GONE. So much for love and trust!
When I had my SI joint injections, would the CT have been done at the same time? I don't remember the PM doc saying anything about a CT or watching ito see if any cortisone leaked out, but he did tell me the issue is definitely the SI joints b/c I got so much relief from the injections (plus the MRI of my lumbar spine didn't show anything extraordinary).
For now, I am waiting for my GP to return from maternity leave so we can discuss a possible return to a PM doctor, given that all my GP does is prescribe the Percodan and I expect I'll need more injections.
oh my gosh,,,,you sure have been through so much already. I admire your strength now...you are moving forward...fixing what was broke and looking for a better time...good for you... The SI joint is a real pain....the injection offers relief..and that indicates a problem with the SI joint...but the real part of the test is the ct scan done right after the injection.....I have a copy of mine...and can see the contrast flowing out of the joint.....how scary is that....it shows it is disrupted. Looks like clouds...
I sincerely hope you can avoid surgery....I know that a disrupted SI joint does not heal...no matter what....if it is irritated...well, if you can rest it enough...maybe.... I hope your Dr. can point you in the right direction.....good luck to you!!!
Thanks very much, sage. I didn't get a copy of anything when I had my SI injections, but the doctor did watch on the screen; I assumed it was strictly to make sure he got into the joint since it's so small, but maybe he was also looking for any leakage. He didn't indicate any problem and I did get relief, so maybe I can stay on that path for now.
I never heard back from the practice my former PM doctor was with (good organization was never their strong suit), so I think I will contact another practice mentioned by a woman who posts on here. I have my MRI disc (neck) and MRI films (lumbar spine), so hopefully they can work from those. Do you think I should request copies of the actual reports for each? I think they're in my file at my GP's office since all my records from PM were sent there.
When I had my injections, they didn't look for any kind of leak either...in fact on my scans i don't think my problem was visible, it wasn't separated, the joint just moved to much. It makes me wonder what about it would leak, I didn't know anything was enclosed in the joint....or that it was capable of holding fluid. If you find anything out, post it...hope you find relief and sorry for all that you have been put through.
The SI joint doesn't "leak" anything .....what appears to be leaking (looks like clouds/swirls) on the CT Scan was the contrast that was injected into the SI joint with the numbing meds....this proves the SI joint was disrupted. The SI joint doesn't have stuff like that to leak!!!!