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Missing or severely fractured facet joint

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Old 09-21-2006, 02:58 PM   #1
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cherish1 HB User
Question Missing or severely fractured facet joint?

Hello - I have been in ongoing chronic pain for 13 months now, of unknown origin. In Dec. 05, I had discectomy/laminectomy of L5-S1. While not 100%, I did feel a little improved. In February, I was sent to physical therapy for severe vertigo, and was put on an exercise "fit" ball, and my back was on fire the next morning.

By March, after falling in a public parking lot (loss of feeling in feet) and moving to a new state which prompted multiple ER trips, I was taken for a second surgery which turned in to an L5-S1 fusion with bone media.

Doc for 2nd surgery (both orthopedic docs) took xrays twice since March and told me I was nicely fusing. When I told him the horrible pain and numbness was not improved, he offered an ESI, which I refused, since I had already had 3 in the last 12 months with no result.

Finally had an appointment with a highly recommend neurosurgeon 2 hours away, and just from the recent xrays told me that 1) there is no evidence of a fusion AT ALL and 2) I either have a missing or severely fractured facet joint at L5-S1, likely causing a shearing action within my spine.

I basically can't sit, stand or sleep - when I get up in the morning, I move like a 95 year old until I "loosen up", and my life consists of sitting in a chair and doing light activities, such as mild laundry, short dinners, etc. Just have been waiting to "get better", and finally realized I was not improving even minutely. I just turned 40 and can't imagine living like this for the rest of my life. I feel sorry for my husband, but he has actually been a great support and very caring and understanding.

I am going for intensive testing in a week, with a lumbar fusion and CT mylegram with reconstructive views.

The good news is that he thinks that if my facet joint is missing, that I should be greatly improved with another fusion. We have no idea if anything else is also wrong, as I haven't had any testing other than the 2 xrays since March. At the very least, we will need to address my missing facet joint.

Has anyone heard of a missing facet joint? Did it possibly break off during the last surgery? (Not mentioned in surgery notes.) Doing a search on the internet yields almost nothing.



Last edited by cherish1; 09-21-2006 at 08:08 PM.

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Old 09-25-2006, 03:09 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Connecticut
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webdude HB User
Re: Missing or severely fractured facet joint

Hi Cheri... sorry to hear about your pain... I never heard of a facet joint just "missing"... It must have been removed, either on purpose or by accident..... Also, if I understood you correctly, your first doctors told you that you were fusing nicely, and then found otherwise??? If so, then you should find another doc, but I would approach them and ask why they think it is doing so well, when it isnt... Make sure you see a spine specialist (neurosurgeon that has completed his spine fellowship program)... most orthos specialize in alot of things.. You want someone that ONLY does the spine... He or she will have much more experience..

God Bless,


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