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Help! More confused with second DEXA Results

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Old 03-10-2011, 12:27 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 7
DesertGuide HB User
Help! More confused with second DEXA Results

Hi, I'm new to the group and hoping someone out there can offer suggestions on my circumstance.

I am male, 54 years young and have undergone two prior back surgeries at the L-4/L-5 that were failures. My only option was a fusion of my lumber and now cervical spine (DDD, bone spurs and Stenosis). I consulted with a Neuro last summer for a second opinion who informed me that if I opt for the fusion to get a bone density (DEXA) test prior as many previous steriod injections over the years can cause bone loss, which my PCP verified as true, along with my V.A. doctor (both are D.O.'s).

In July 2010, I underwent my first DEXA test with this (summary) result:

Hip "T" Score: -1.48
Spine "T" Score: -3.29

Since then, I have been medically retired from the USAF Civil Service for my back, neck and Osteoarthritis. I moved and have a new pain doc who told me this DEXA test didn't make sense, ordered a new one, and I received these results yesterday (9 March 2011):

Left Forearm: "T" Score: -1.1
AP Spine (L1-L3) "T" Score: -1.7
DualFemur "T" Score: -2.5

These are summaries, the Densitometerist states I have a fracture risk of high for both Femur Nexk Left and Right.

My new doc wants to start me on Lumber Epidural Steroid Injections (LESI), in my lumbar spine, and when I told him about these procedures causing bone loss and contributing to my Osteoporosis, he basically snorted "thats not true"...

Also, I've had these very painful LESI procedures before and did not see any improvement, in fact I felt worse, but it seemed to go in one ear and out the other of my pain doc.

I was prescribed and refused to take Fosomax due to the research I've done, so I'm on Calcitonin Nasal Spray daily along with Vit D and Calcium supplements.

Am I crazy for not wanting to go through these steriod injections again? I did agree to try more physical therapy and Aqua Therapy.

Thanks for letting me vent, and I pray I can get some feedback as well for anyone who has gone through this. I have the DEXA results with specific readings if that helps. Please post back

Thanks and God Bless,

William Mc

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Old 03-13-2011, 09:25 PM   #2
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: California
Posts: 2,704
taape HB Usertaape HB User
Re: Help! More confused with second DEXA Results

Hi Desertguide,
I agree with you, if the epidural steriod injections don't help then I wouldn't take the risk because the medication is not good for the bones. I used to get these routinely every year and then stopped for several years. They did help decrease my pain but I was afraid of the bone loss. Now I get one every other year or so when I absolutely can not stand the pain anymore.

It looks like your more recent T scores have your spine density being way better than the first done in 2010. I wonder if one of the machines is not calibrated correctly. You can actually get a copy of the scan where you can see a picture with the dense and not so dense areas. It's kind of interesting.

If your spine is - 1.7 maybe you could get a spinal fusion if that's what you choose to do but with -3.5 I'd be afraid your bones might never fuse.

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