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MRI shows remaining disk even after L5-S1 fusion??

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Old 04-03-2010, 02:52 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2
breitsd HB User
MRI shows remaining disk even after L5-S1 fusion??

I had an L5-S1 spinal fusion (posterior) about 11 weeks ago and my pain symptoms are the same as before surgery, but much more intense. At my 3 week post-op exam, I was relatively pain free except for the normal pain associated with all of the hardware. The doctor feels that something went wrong either with the hardware or perhaps scar tissue is adhering to the nerve root. He ordered a CT scan which confirmed that the hardware is fine. He ordered an MRI to see what is happening with the soft tissue. I obtained a copy of the CD because I have had two previous discectomies and I have learned how to read them (at least somewhat). What completely shocked me was that the images showed a partially intact disk at the L5-S1 level on the left side!! I'm still waiting to hear from my doctor about the official MRI results, but I thought that it was standard procedure to remove the entire disk for a fusion. Why would he leave part of the disk intact? I would think that it would interfere with bone growth. Does anyone know more about this? Thanks!!

Last edited by breitsd; 04-03-2010 at 03:30 AM.

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Old 04-03-2010, 02:55 AM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 99
murr3 HB User
Re: MRI shows remaining disk even after L5-S1 fusion??

Most probably he did not left your disc with purpose.

If he did TLIF pusion from left side, it is hard to reach right side of the disc. It is always possible that some part of disc will remain

Old 04-03-2010, 03:29 AM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2
breitsd HB User
Re: MRI shows remaining disk even after L5-S1 fusion??

Thank you for your reply. I'm still confused because he made two incisions in my back -- one on each side of the spine in order to put in the pedicle screws. I would have thought that he would be able to remove all of the disk from these two access points. Is this an established technique to leave some of the disk remaining? Does it somehow help provide stability during healing? Again, I would think that it would interfere with the bone fusion process. Thanks!

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disk remains, l5-s1, mri, spinal fusion

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