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Touch-up surgery....To do or not to do???

Touch-up surgery....To do or not to do???

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Posted by Sara on April 28, 2000 at 20:58:56:

Hello again everyone. I had my 3 month post-op visit today and unfortunately all is not well. The cage my doc inserted between my L2-3 has moved to the right
3 cm. He expresses no concern that it will keep moving and eventually fall out because I am FINALLY showing signs of calcium deposits at the fusion site, which means the bone growth is soon to follow. However, I am only showing these on the right side. The left side is bare, open, and unstable. Since only one side is fusing my cage is unstable and rocks back and forth with most every movement. That explains my increased pain. Now my fusion was only a 180 degree fusion.....meaning it only was meant to be fused on the front of my spine. Since the cage is moving and making my spine ubstable there is a very good chance the fusion will only complete on one side. So the doc mentioned the ever dreaded "touch-up" surgery, though now that I know what it envolves, it seems even more complicated than my first surgery. He wants to make a 3 inch incision right on top of my spine and drill two screws through the back of my L2-3 vertabrae, then do another bone graft and pack bone chips all around. This way if the front fusion fails or only fuses on one side, I will have two screws holding the back of my spine in place for as long as they shall remain inside of me. And if the front fusion does end up working, then I will have a complete 360 degree fusion and all will be well! The doc said normally they don't even think about doing a touch-up surgery until 7-8 months post-up, but since my cage is showing signs of movement, it could be better in the long run to get it over with now. But he did say that the ball is all in my court. I can wait for as long as I can stand the pain and see if it gets better. I can wait and see if the fusion takes place properly which could take up to 2 years. I can wait for a few weeks to see if things get better. Or I can go ahead and set the appointment up now. I just really need everyone's advice. My surgery was a piece of cake. It was nothing like I was expecting and I was back on my feet gonig to school and driving within four weeks. I am a sophmore in college and for that reason I can only have the surgery done in the summer. So if I don't have it done by about July 1st, I will have to wait a whole year. If anyone out there has had screws drilled into them please write me back. That is what I am most afraid of. With my first fusion the took a bone graft from my hip, but they never chipped, drilled, or damaged my verebrae in any way. I am very apprehensive about increased pain due to this and a longer recovery period. My doc said it all should be about the same. Same pain, same recovery time,etc. But that seems very odd to me......If anyone has ANY input at all as to whether I should go for it now, wait, or what difference there will be in pain, PLEASE let me know. Thank you all and God Bless!
~Sara


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