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  • Fusion Surgery 2 Years Ago Needed Again

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    Old 02-01-2012, 06:16 PM   #16
    Donna022
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    Re: Fusion Surgery 2 Years Ago Needed Again

    I am not in the San Francisco area. I sure do hate to "need" surgery and form a new relationship, but I guess I am left with no choice. Anyone have any recommendations for the Atlanta area?

     
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    Old 02-02-2012, 07:45 AM   #17
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    Re: Fusion Surgery 2 Years Ago Needed Again

    I have old fusion (30yr) L4-S1 and the lumbar levels above are herniated giving me multiple nerve problems. Pain has been a part of my life since 6 yr after the fusion. Back then a fusion was a very big deal and I spent 3 weeks in hospital with complications. Would I ever have considered more surgery? No. Radiating nerve pain has been a daily part of my life for many years but surgery sure isn't going to cure it. At some point I had to accept the fact that surgery was never going to be a permanent solution only a temporary band-aid. Another fusion puts stress on the level above and so on and so on. More scar tissue is formed and then there is the matter of failed back syndrome and arachnoiditis. Pain management is the only solution for me and I see a very prominent specialist. Taking out an appendix is a permanent solution to a medical problem. Fusing a spine is not. The fact that your doctor will not give you a medical note for work and yet is considering another fusion is ridiculous. This is a very large red flag. Please take care and get some other opinions.
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    Old 02-02-2012, 08:25 AM   #18
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    Re: Fusion Surgery 2 Years Ago Needed Again

    Thank you so much. I have just about sat here and cried since he told me that. There is no way I can go sit in a chair at work all day. The job is not a part time job. I am in a 2 person office, and this terribly disrupts the business!

    I spoke with my general physician yesterday. He told me multiple back surgeries have such a low success rate that he prefers me to pursue other areas first. He sent me to another doctor...a physiocist? She is orthopaedic but is not a surgeon. He said she would advise me or refer me if I don't need the surgery and she would also advise me if I do and he is confident in her to make good decisions.

    Next Wednesday, I see her.

    Thank you for the support. My world is upside down. I am single and have no other means of financial support outside my job. Im scared to death!

    Donna

     
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    Old 02-02-2012, 12:25 PM   #19
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    Re: Fusion Surgery 2 Years Ago Needed Again

    pooby, I can relate, I had a fusion several yrs. back and it was awful as far a pain was concerned. I still have back pain every day of my life, I have meds to soften the pain. I would never agree to another operationm the memory is still fresh in my mind.

     
    Old 02-02-2012, 02:41 PM   #20
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    Re: Fusion Surgery 2 Years Ago Needed Again

    Another name for a physiatrist is Doctor if Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. They are the ones that focus on the diagnosis and treatment of a phyhsical disability and focus on getting the patient back on his or her feet. Some specialize in neurological problems like stroke, Parkinsons MS, etc. Others specialize in orthopedic patients, helping them in all ways diagnostically except for surgery.

    Sometimes a physiatrist functions like a pain management physician, performing the invasive procedures like the nerve blocks, ESIs, etc.

    Internists and PCPs like to recommend them as the last chance prior to surgery!

    I agree that you need to consult with a different spine surgeon. I also agree with the basic premise that statistically the chances of a successful spine surgery decrease as the number of surgeries increases! However I count myself among the successes. #3 was the charm for me...but none of my surgeries were unsuccessful...it just took 3 attempts to find and deal with what turned out to be my pain generators.

     
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    Old 02-08-2012, 03:50 PM   #21
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    Re: Fusion Surgery 2 Years Ago Needed Again

    Today I saw a new doctor. She asked me lots of questions. She actually examined me rather than just looking at xrays or my mri. Here was the results:

    She said that my L3 disc kind of jumps out at you on the MRI, but I don't have stenosis showing yet. (Very interested, that is exactly what my surgeon said I had.)

    However! Where I am complaining of the pain is NOT my L3! Its my sacroiliac joints. She recommended we try the pain shots to see if I can get any relief from my pain with that. She said eventually I would probably or I might need to add to my S1,L5,L4 fusion, but if that is not where my pain is, then there is no reason to do the surgery now.

    She also explained to me that it was not unusual at all to have sacroiliac joint pain after a fusion that includes the S1. The fusion prevents movement and the result is that the sacroiliac joints often have pain from taking all the movement from the disc in the fusion.

    She said my fusion (2 years ago) all looked good, everything is in place, and the bones have fused.

    Round 2 of the pain shots...here I come.

    She also....without hesitation.....completed the paperwork for my job for short term disability until we get the pain under control.

     
    Old 02-08-2012, 05:36 PM   #22
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    Re: Fusion Surgery 2 Years Ago Needed Again

    That's such good news -- better plan of action, much more empathetic doctor, everything sounds like it's looking up for you! I hope that the injections help with the pain and that another surgery isn't necessary.

    I forget -- is the new doctor a physiatrist? Congratulations!

     
    Old 02-08-2012, 09:44 PM   #23
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    Re: Fusion Surgery 2 Years Ago Needed Again

    Isn't it amazing how many times you can see a back doctor and he/she never lays a hand on you, except perhaps to shake your hand??? I am delighted you found someone who listened carefully to you and examined you...a double bonus!!

    I hope the injections will help. I had unstable SI joints for two years after my last fusion, but I have finally resolved the problems. You may find that there are certain activities that you will need to avoid in order to keep the problem in abatement. For example, for me, using almost any sort of elliptical trainer, etc. is out. I can use a bike or treadmill but am careful to not overdo it. Also, climbing a ladder is really terrible so I had to put my redecorating projects on hold!! For a long time I couldn't swim the breaststroke...no frog kick...but now that I am stronger it doesn't seem to cause a flare.

    But first, you have to get the problem under control, and then work on exercises that will strengthen the muscles in the pelvic girdle to help hold you in place.

    Do you have the injections scheduled yet?

     
    Old 02-09-2012, 11:25 AM   #24
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    Smile Re: Fusion Surgery 2 Years Ago Needed Again

    I hope shots help you out. I had terrible pain with my sacro several yrs. after my fusion. Good Luck and let us know how you are doing.

     
    Old 02-09-2012, 12:48 PM   #25
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    Re: Fusion Surgery 2 Years Ago Needed Again

    Yes, the new doctor I saw is a physiatrist. She is in an orthopaedic practice and specializes in spines.

    I am scheduled for a SI joint injection on Monday. I did have a series of pain shots before my surgery...it was quite a temporary fix. But on the up side, I do hear people have success with the shots, so you know, us with back pain, are willing to try anything...over and over again...to get some relief!

    Thanks for your comments and will let you know how it goes on Monday!

    Donna

     
    Old 02-09-2012, 02:24 PM   #26
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    Re: Fusion Surgery 2 Years Ago Needed Again

    I hope the injections work well. Certainly would be a good diagnostic tool. With the SI joints, are they optimistic that you can either receive long-term relief or at least, get to the point you can rehab and relearn postures to prevent future injury? Or maybe, just too soon to tell. (By the way, you might need to start a new thread, since this one hopefully has a defunct title.)

    Fingers crossed for you!

     
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