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Old 07-13-2009, 08:12 AM   #1
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cudacat08 HB User
Unhappy Newbie in desperate need of help please . .

Hi All,
I hope to goodness that someone here can help me,im at my wits end.
I had PLIF at L5/S1 Sept 2007 due to DDD
I was fine for a matter of weeks and then slowly but surely my symptoms are returning,even though they have confirmed a fusion.
I have managed to obtain all my medical records,the xray taken 1 day post op seems to show the L5 right hand screw entering the vertebrae and it goes upwards and seems to go through the top of the vertebrae and into the disc space above.
IS THIS A MISPLACED SCREW?AND SHOULD IT BE THERE.?
i have had 2 MRI'S since but they were only checking for the fusion.
i was sent for another xray last week as i have not had one in 2 years,and my doc specifically asked them to check position of screws.
They reported a fusion,but no comment on the screws at all.
When my doctor rang the radiologist today to ask the question he said he couldnt really comment.
Should this screw be there?
i am worried about approaching my neurosurgeon as i think he'll just say its fine.
I am recently married,and this back problem has stolen the last 3 years of my life and im desperately trying to stop the frequent lack of bladder control,constant pain,and my legs being blue,blotchy and freezing cold as they were prior to my op.
It feels like no one will give me a straight answer,im not looking to get anyone in any sort of trouble im just desperate to get my question answered as everyone seems to be skirting round the issue.
Please help . . someone

 
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Old 07-13-2009, 10:47 AM   #2
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Toonces1 HB UserToonces1 HB UserToonces1 HB UserToonces1 HB UserToonces1 HB User
Re: Newbie in desperate need of help please . .

Do you have the option of getting a second opinion? If the screw is misplaced, I doubt the surgeon who did it will admit it. If you can, make sure you get copies of your films to bring along.

 
Old 07-13-2009, 11:05 AM   #3
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Re: Newbie in desperate need of help please . .

Hi Cudacat.....most of the people here are dealing with neck problems as opposed to the folks at the Back Problems board but I'll take a stab at what might be the problem.

When I saw my neurosurgeon for the first time he gave me 2 sets of statistics. First, surgery to alleviate pain has about a 30% success rate. Second, surgery to alleviate numbness has about a 70% success rate. That's just the reality.

Pain is the first symptom of a problem developing and numbness is when the injury is getting close to killing the nerve. Once it is dead, you have paralysis. So stopping the injury from killing the nerve is important so once you get to the point of numbness, surgery to stop nerve death is done and is obviously more successful. Numbness is relieved, nerve death is averted but the nerve is still injured it may hurt you for the rest of your life if the injury is permanent and the nerve can't fix itself.

That's why surgery to relieve pain is not very successful. An injured nerve may never recover and you just have to learn to live with it. It may heal itself with time but then again, it may not. Obviously, from the statistics, only about 30% of patients get pain relief.

So why have the surgery if it won't relieve the pain? To prevent paralysis.

So my advice is to get to a pain management doc and start working with him/her to learn how to do things that alleviate pain. There are lots of good drugs out there and lots of techniques. If your doc did a fusion then he removed the disk involved and a screw in the disk space should not be a problem. The area should be packed with bone for the fusion. That shouldn't be causing your pain unless the screw is touching a nerve and your MRI's should have revealed that(it does happen). But it sounds like your nerves were so damaged that they aren't healing themselves and you need to learn to live with the pain and how to help your body heal.

I know this sounds impossible but I'm fused from C3 to T1 and had nerve compression so bad that my neurosurgeon told me I'd be permanently paralyzed on the left side. Nope! Conquered that with lots of good PT. Do I have pain...yes, every single day of my life. Do I take anything....no. I did for the first 2 years after my surgery to control the peripheral neuropathy. Now I just deal with it.

So I hate to be the bearer of bad news but from my perspective, you just need to learn to handle the pain and don't let it run your life. Perhaps others will have something different to say.

gentle hugs...........Jenny

 
Old 07-13-2009, 11:30 AM   #4
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cudacat08 HB User
Re: Newbie in desperate need of help please . .

Hi there,
Thankyou so much for you kind words of support and encouragement,i value everything that you say,
im not sure if i didnt write it correctly,probably my fault,
i had a lumbar fusion L5/S1 which seems to be healing fine,but in the process of putting the pedicle screws into L5,the right hand screw has been put in at sure a sharp angle that it only clips the corner of L5 vertebral body,and then exits into the healthy disc space above at L4/L5.
thanks for your continued support
big thankyou hug for you

 
Old 07-13-2009, 11:35 AM   #5
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cudacat08 HB User
Re: Newbie in desperate need of help please . .

thankyou so much for your kind words,
ive managed to get copies of all my xrays and MRI's to date,including one xray i had taken last week and the screw has definately moved,my doc spoke to the radiographer but he of course wouldnt confirm it was misplaced,but equally couldnt confirm that it wasnt.
Just trying to weigh up what to do next,and struggling to believe that you have to fight so hard to get anywhere.i just feel so dragged down with it all,and all the meds,im on as much now as i was pre op.
Thankyou hug for you

 
Old 07-13-2009, 05:59 PM   #6
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Re: Newbie in desperate need of help please . .

Yes, that is a bit of a difference. Going into the bad disk space is one thing but the good disk space is another. We may have someone here who has had a similar problem and I hope they come along and read this.

In the meantime, this is why there is a new system out there that allows the surgeon to place the screws first, x-ray them to make sure they are in the right place, then rods are attached to the tops of the screw heads and the vertebrae afixed in place. Stops the problem of screws in the wrong place! Another new addition to the arsenal of fixing spines correctly...intra-operative MRI's. Two things I looked for before I had surgery.

good luck and gentle hugs..............Jenny

 
Old 07-14-2009, 04:32 AM   #7
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cudacat08 HB User
Re: Newbie in desperate need of help please . .

Thankyou so much,
On my operation report,the surgeon has written that he didnt use xray,he used fluoroscope.
The reason being because i was taking meds to stop my period which was due within a few days of surgery,even though id made it clear at my pre op that i definately wasnt pregnant and gave them the dates of my last one.
Its all just a mess and i honestly do not know what to do next . .
Thankyou so much for all your help,its brilliant at this time as myself and my husband are starting to feel so low with it all,just cant get anyone to say that its misplaced,but they wont say it isnt either.
Thankyou so much again,this support is invaluable to me at the moment.

 
Old 07-18-2009, 10:46 AM   #8
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cudacat08 HB User
Re: Newbie in desperate need of help please . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toonces1 View Post
Do you have the option of getting a second opinion? If the screw is misplaced, I doubt the surgeon who did it will admit it. If you can, make sure you get copies of your films to bring along.
Thankyou for that,ive now found a neurosurgeon in London to take a look,and i have posted today,all records and films that i have.

Thankyou lots

 
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