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Test results are back

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Old 03-25-2005, 09:26 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 50
mtngirl62 HB User
Test results are back

I received a call from my dr that the MRI results are back from last week after being diagnosed with Foot Drop. It appears L1, L2, L3, L5 and S1 have sever degeneratin of the discs and herniation. They said more but I don't remember because it caught me so off guard. I had so hoped for a good report. Just alittle history. I had a Disectomy and Laminectomy 13 years ago on L4 & L5. 3 weeks ago I started falling and feeling unstable on my left side. I feel alot of pressure in my lower back and sorta like dead weight below my knee to my foot on my left side. In the tests run I do not have the ability to flex my foot up on my left side like my right side. I have to be very aware of how I walk in order to pick up my foot all the way otherwise I drag my toes which results in the falls and skinned up knees and elbows. I can't say I am in real pain but I am also in pain management for a double neck fusion I had 4 months ago. I am still recovering from that with daily headaches and tightness, pain and popping on my right side. That may be masking some of the pain I may otherwise feel. I am on narcotics and muscle relaxors so I stay pretty pain free most of the day. As I mentioned it feels like alot of pressure.

I was referred to a spine surgeon and see him next Thur am. Does anyone know what may be expected. I am trying to do research on the net to see what is usually the treatment but thought I would throw it out here as well since there is such a wide variety of information on this board. Any information or signs I should watch for would be greatly appreciated. I am hoping for an easy fix but to me it doesn't sound like that is reality. Anyone having this or knowng about it please take time to inform me on what to expect. Anyone having good web sites to visit would be greatly appreciated as well.

Also, does anyone know that if I am unable to work for a period of time if I would be elidgable for short term disability. I do not have a policy available to me so it would have to be State/Federal. I am single and have to be able to survive as well. Luckily I COBRA'ed my medical insurance when I left my last employment in December. I am currently interviewing for a new position but am now afraid to take a job and then have to have surgery or something.

Happy and safe Easter weekend to all. Thank you all for being here.


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Old 03-26-2005, 06:17 PM   #2
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Missouri
Posts: 2,128
carol632 HB User
Re: Test results are back

Dianne, the description you give of your problems is something that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. You most likely will be advised to have surgery, and while I don't normally think anyone should rush into it, your symptoms indicate some serious nerve damage being done.

Keep researching and gathering information about disc surgery; you may be a candidate for disc replacement so ask the specialist about that.

2 lami's, 3 fusions
bone spur removal
cerv. fusion, 1 level
morphine pump

Old 03-26-2005, 06:43 PM   #3
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,291
Quietcook HB UserQuietcook HB User
Re: Test results are back


Sorry, but it does sound like you may be heading into more surgery. Of course, what type will depend on bad your herniations are and what the doc will recommend. A few things you might want to research and be able to speak with the doctor about.

First, you say you're being referred to a spine surgeon. Whether ortho or neuro, I do highly recommend that the surgeon be a spine specialist. Lots of ortho and neuro's will do spine surgery, but evidently you are like me and have multiple problems with the spine. My ortho surgeon does nothing but spines and if it weren't for him I probably would not be walking after a 10 level fusion in Dec.

Second, fusion is one possibility, especially as you have already had a fusion. Previously, ADR's were not done on people who already had a fusion, but that has recently changed. I would speculate that not all spine surgeons have yet been totally trained and done enough of these unless they are spine specialist. I did have hopes that this would work for me, but I was already fused L1-S2 in previous surgeries and I didn't qualify because my other support systems of tendons, ligaments, etc were not in good enough shape. I'm 59 and have other health problems which have affected my spine, so I understood. However, you are much younger and you should read up on these and ask about them if fusion is the proposed surgery.

If fusion is the option that would be best for you, ask if the surgeon plans on using BMP2 (Bone Morphogenic Protein 2nd version). They do not have to take bone for the hip with this (that hurts worse than the rest of the surgery), and it is stronger than our bone alone. Different surgeons have various methods and hardware they use. My 3rd fusion of 3 levels (due to break in wreck) hardware that would be removed later was not needed. When there is 3 or more levels once we become more active, our muscles rub over the screws and per my surgeon, most people request the hardware be removed at about a years time. I went 17 months before I gave in.

There are various style of cages used and sometimes the type depends on which side of the spine needs to be fused. BMP can cause additional problems IF it gets into areas it should not. For that reason, my first BMP surgery was done anteriorly so that the cage was on the front of the spine and if any seeped out, it would be in the body cavity and not on any nerves or muscles. Now, with BMP2, my doc had additional training and used a scope for placing the BMP, insuring it didn't get into areas it should not.
The advantage of BMP, besides being stronger is that you fuse in 1/2 the time as with just bone.

Sorry if this is repeat of what you know, as you have had a fusion.

Now, I don't know a lot about ADR's except what I've researched, but have spoken with several patients who had them. Have not heard any complaints and they still retained their flexibility which if they had as many levels as I have, of course flexibility is definitely lost. Besides, with ADR's your spines spacing remains good and I don't believe you would be as likely for additional levels to collapse as was my case.

I hope your options are not as dramatic, but hope you can get your questions written up so when you see the surgeon you can ask what you want to know and have time to think things through. Finally, if you can through your insurance, recommend you seek another independent opinion from another spine specialist.

Best wishes and hope you will let us know how you are doing.

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