spinal fusion complications

Goose Creek, SC

#166 Jul 8, 2008
ron wrote:
I just had a 3 level fusion performed L5/S1 through L3/L4, with bone graft, cages, and rods. my -mail is [email protected] if interested I will give you the details.
How are you doing? I am scheduled for similar surgery next week. After reading so many negative comments, I am scared. Hopefully, you got a positive result. SAK IN SC
Sissy NY

Chicago, IL

#167 Jul 15, 2008
I had a posterior lumbar fusion L5 S1 on December 6, 2007. I've been living in hell for 7 months and have similar stories to all of you. Most recently my pain has gotten worse, worse than before the surgery. I have pre op pain and post op pain. So, yes, it is worse than before. Just saw my surgeon who claims everything healed beautifully. The pain I am experiencing is from the implementation and was starting to lay the ground work to suggest I have another surgery to have it removed. Has anyone had this surgery? Did it really get rid of the pain? Or do you think it's just something the doctors suggest when they have nothing else they can do for you and have to basically say the fusion was not successful? Any insight would be helpful. I would be happy to help any of you with questions you might have. Best wishes to everyone.
Sissy NY

Chicago, IL

#168 Jul 15, 2008
Carly wrote:
Has anyone had an operation to free the nerve from the L5 S1 region? I am being referred for that kind of surgery due to severe prolaspsed discs and the fact that the disc itself is now impinging on the sciatic nerve. Does anyone have any experience with this kind of surgery?
response: I had spinal fusion 7 months ago for the same. I am in more pain now than before the surgery. I don't see anyone posting good news. Is it only bad experiences make it to site, or there just arent any good stories to tell? I dont want to be discouraging, but i wish i would have read these postings before my surgery.

Oxnard, CA

#169 Jul 15, 2008
Sissy, if you have intense pressure/pain sensations in your back that prevents you from sitting more than 30 minutes or bending over it removing the hardware may help. If it is leg pain...well that is another problem.

7 months is really not long enough to say this is your outcome from this type of surgery. Its a very difficult recovery and if your surgeon had told you it would take about 18 months before you felt better. You might have made a different decision. Look into Loosescrews2 at yahoo groups if you want more info and support.

Best wishes in your recovery.


Beaverton, OR

#170 Jul 21, 2008
Kim wrote:
I understand what you are going through! The thing that scares me the most is my pain is so bad, I am popping pain pills like candy on top of wearing a 75 mcg fentenal patch. I have pain every minute of everyday. I just can't imagine living with this pain the rest of my life. I try to stay as active as possible with walking, but I can't get that far with having to sit down and take a break. And what drives me even more crazy is the fact that the pain pills don't make me sleepy, they make me stay WIDE awake, so I never can take them after 7pm if I want to sleep that night. My DR just gives me prescriptions for sleeping pills on top of that. After reading the things I have read, I am really not looking forward to making the decsion of having the fusion or not.
Inow that this was posted a while ago, I am wondering if it has gotten any better. I had a multiple level fusion about 1.5 years ago. I have more pain than before, I have not been able to work for almost a year. I wear a 100mcg fentenal patch that I change every other day. I just wonder if any body has heard, tried or know of anything that will help. I am 35 father of two young boys, and I feel and walk as if I were 90. I also have to take 2 types of anti-depresents and testosterone replacement because all the medications are stopping me from producing it. any way I will stop crying. Good luck to everybody.
Sissy NY

Chicago, IL

#171 Jul 23, 2008
RandyD wrote:
Sissy, if you have intense pressure/pain sensations in your back that prevents you from sitting more than 30 minutes or bending over it removing the hardware may help. If it is leg pain...well that is another problem.
7 months is really not long enough to say this is your outcome from this type of surgery. Its a very difficult recovery and if your surgeon had told you it would take about 18 months before you felt better. You might have made a different decision. Look into Loosescrews2 at yahoo groups if you want more info and support.
Best wishes in your recovery.
dear RandyD, thank you for your quick response. it has been very helpful. the best to you.- Sissy
Sabine IN

Mossyrock, WA

#172 Jul 26, 2008
I stumbled upon this forum by accident and now I don't know if I should smile for having found kindred souls or cry because I can't see light at the end of my tunnel........my fusion was on October 31 of 2003 (shoulda been more aware of all hallows eve, I guess :) ). I have since had two spinal cord stimulators implanted, the first being Medtronic and useless, the second being Biogenics and not much better. I am in pain all the time and have a hard time trying to get my family to understand what's impossible, being a chronic pain patient.

United States

#173 Jul 31, 2008
back pain ruined life wrote:
f all of u. kill urself. i am going to cuz of back taking my life away!!!!!!!!!!
First of all if you were going to do it you sure would not be whinning about on a back pain web site, YOU BIG BABY. Grow-Up and start dealing with it doing what you say your going to do is just a cry for help and no one can help you but YOU. GET A LIFE and go to another web site that deals with cry baby's like you.

United States

#174 Jul 31, 2008
misty kosta wrote:
I had my fusion at L5S1 and Laminectomy on April 11, 2007. I am still not able to drive. I still feel like I have a hard ball on my spine or coming out of my spine. When I lay on my back it feels like I am laying on Metal and a crow bar. I made my surgeon do x-rays and ct scans because I thought something was really wrong, because I thought I should be doing better by now. I have done 19 pt's and just started massages. My doctor wants me to do aqua therapy also. He said the x-rays and ct scan were ok, but that my L4 was not good but he did not think that is what is causing these issues. I don't know. It has been 4 months and I still cannot drive. He said everyone heals differently and I should be ok in 6 months. Has anyone ever had these weird symptoms? I just thought I would be ok in a few months, but it is taking such a long time. I miss driving and going out to see my clients. I am in the personnel business and usually drive 6 hours a day, so now you see why I miss driving so much. If anyone has experienced these types of pain please let me know.
I think what you are feeling is probably SCAR TISSUE. I would ask your Doctor about that and I know they have something for that. As for the Driving I don't know why you would not be able to drive? I can't drive because of all the pain meds I am on. and as for the back issue, my back feels like someone has a hold of my spine and I can feel the fist. I had a Spinal Fusion with Cage 10 months ago and I am worst then before the surgery. My left leg/Thigh is completely numb along with my foot and with all the other pains I had before the surgery.

Melbourne, Australia

#175 Aug 25, 2008
WOW. Hi all, Im 23 and am having 1 fusion at L5-S1 and a disc replaced at L4-L5. Ive played high level sport since i was 5 and havent been able to for 2 years. I cant lie on my back or front, i cant run, jump, bend, crouch cough, sneeze look straight up or turn around at my hips without pain, and it lasts for hours or days at a time. My Dr says if i take really good care of it (no bending or any of the above) for 5 years it MAY fix itself with scar tissue. 5 years is my entire youth and "playful years" gone...
Im not ready for surgery but i cant wait to see if it does or doesnt fix itself...
this decision is too hard for me to make, i dont want to make it...:'( i want an answer, an answer to all our problems, but when will it come? Will my children (when i have them) have this problem and will medical surgery have improved by then? Who knows??? Theres alot of us... Nobody knows about REAL back pain until they have it. Im a physio and all day people say "i have a bad back"
If only they knew...

Chicago, IL

#176 Aug 28, 2008
had fusion & stableation l-5,l-4.Walk everyday at least one mile or more,with back brace on of course.This helps with sleeping and pain.Excersize,excersize.My legs have never been so strong but still a lot of presure on lower bak when without brace.I had surg. march
Rolland Coleman

Littleton, CO

#177 Sep 11, 2008
I just underwent cervical fusion at the c-3/4 level and a refusion at the c-5/6 level. They were the fifth and sixth surgeries on my spine. I will have a month to do some healing and then undergo surgery number seven to have the rod removed from a lumbar fusion at the L-4/5, S1 levels. I am experiencing intense pain in the middle of my back where the rod has moved up to. I deal with it seeming to catch on something and popping when I bend over for something. I can't think of a cause or precipitating event. I had to resort to using a cane in order to be ambulatory.I have had thoughts of not wanting to continue life with pain all day every day. I'm a single father and I know I can't set that kind of example for my children as a way of coping with life's adversities. I've had days where I felt I'd rather be dead but I continue on.I have not had a pain free day since Jan. of 1989 and the thought of another surgery is very depressing.I understand that suicide will affect too many others after I'm no longer here to deal with the consequences of my actions. If I didn't wake up tomorrow I wouldn't be upset but I won't bring it about. The thought of no pain is enticing some times but I've managed to survive the pain I've had to deal with.If I could do it all over I'd have stopped at surgery number three before the first of my fusions. I don't look forward to this procedure but there really is no alternative.No matter what may befall me in the future, I refuse to have another surgery on my spine. My body is scarred front and back. I still experience intense pain during some part of my day. I'm thankful for the days I get a respite and can spend time enjoying watching my kids grow instead of just trudging through life not enjoying one minute of my day. This wears on a person and some days I can say I'm truly tired of it. I take each day as a challenge. I won't let my pain get the best of me. Each day I get through gives me the strength to get up and try it again. One day I won't have to deal with pain. Until then I'll try to get the most out of life I can.

Wellington, New Zealand

#178 Sep 30, 2008
back pain ruined life wrote:
f all of u. kill urself. i am going to cuz of back taking my life away!!!!!!!!!!
you have a good reason i to have had spinal surgery mucked up my life
Julie D

Lincoln, NE

#179 Oct 10, 2008
I had L-5 S-1 fusion surgery done in Feb 08. I was told my fusion isn't healing as fast as they want it to, & I have been taking pain pills for over a year. First it was Percocet, then OxyContin, then 75mg Fentayl patch along with hydrocodone, and that still didn't take all the pain away. 8 months after surgery, I am struggling with aches, nausea, fatigue, every 5 minutes I'm scared that I made the wrong decision, but know that I had no other choices at the time. Went through all the routes & nothing worked. I'm scared to walk & do things because I do & then I start hurting & can only take so much Darvocet. Only thing that works sometimes is to lay down & do nothing. I am 33 year old female with 2 young sons. Does someone have a similiar story

Grand Prairie, TX

#180 Oct 14, 2008
I has my first surgery 8/07 fusion of L5-S1 at first it got rid of lot of my pain. After a few short months my pain came back and at times was worse. on 07/08 a second surgery was done to remove disc fragments that was left in and to get rid of bone spurs that had developed irrateting the nerve. The nerve still has not come around and hurts unless I am taking Lyrica. At first Lyrica was horrible with the side effects but over time they have went away. My ROM is still lousy but I am hoping to get over that. One thing that is bad the disc above are now starting to get worse. Good luck to all of you

Narragansett, RI

#181 Oct 17, 2008
It's been abut 4 and a half years for me and I'm still in constant pain, no matter how hard I try to strengthen my back muscles. I'm only 19 and it just kind of sucks to look forward to being in this type of pain constantly. Those Bengay patches help for awhile though... Doctors won't prescribe me anything that is really effective. All I've gotten (besides the meds I got right after my surgery) have been muscle relaxers, and my surgeon hasn't prescribed me anything besides pilates. I had anterior spinal fusion and they removed one of my ribs, I don't know which vertebrae were fused but they were in my lower back. I don't get why doctors won't help me!!


#182 Nov 5, 2008
kev-jan wrote:
My name is Kevin and I had spinal fusion on my L5-S1 last January and my symptoms are 10x worse now. The pressure in my back is unbelievable, and my legs and feet twitch 24/7, it feels that there is electricity in my legs..Help does anyone else have these symptoms?

Mooers, NY

#183 Nov 21, 2008
Kim wrote:
I haven't written on this board in awhile, but on my most recent trip back to Mayo Clinic in July, it turns out I am dealing with an entire different issue. I was scheduled to get a steroid injection into my L5-S1. But there has been an ongoing problem since I had my last surgery, that every other doctor just kinda blew off. My incesion every 3-4 months becomes almost infected, and kinda blisters over, bleeds and pus comes out. This usually lasts about 3 weeks and then goes away. All 3 other doctors always said its from laying on the heating pad. Well as I get on the table to get the injection, they say they will not do the injection because I have an open wound and make an appointment with Infectious disease. After more MRI's and all sorts of tests they are still not sure what it is. There is this pocket of something that is sitting right next to my disk and there is a path from that to my back skin which is a sign of an infection. They think it might be a bone infection, spinal fluid that has been leaking since my surgery 3 years ago, or something really small left from surgery trying to work its way out. Has anyone else every had any of the symptoms I have or had a bone injection or leaking spinal fluid. I am going in a month for a surgery.
I don't know if this will helpMy mother had this same problem 20+ years ago and it turned out to be the knots from internal stitches that didn't disolve(sp) the Dr told her to hot pack the incision and they actually worked their way to the surface and came out. You may want to ask your Dr if this could be your possible problem
Gaylyn in Texas

Conroe, TX

#184 Nov 24, 2008
I had spinal fusion surgery 17 months ago on
L3,L4,L4,L5,S1. My problem is with my left foot. It is still 75% numb and I have horrible pain like electrical volts going through my foot. It actually jerks my whole leg at times. But there is also a burning sensation on the outside of my foot. I can't hardly stand the pain. Wakes me up in the middle of the night. I get a large bowl and fill it with ice and stick my foot in it, for about 5 min. and take it out for about 5 min. Don't want to end up with frost bite on my numb foot! My surgeons PA told me when they put the cage in, it is done from the left side and they disturb the nerves, but eventually it will be OK.I don't know if the surgeon moved OR cut the nerves. Well that to me sounds like a crock. It is worse now than it was 3 months after the surgery. I am thinking about talking to an attorney. Has anyone else sought legal counsel to sue? Hope I get some good replys.

Epsom, NH

#185 Nov 25, 2008
I have had a disectomy, L4 & L5. Three weeks later anothjer surgery to remove initial scar tissue from first surgery combined with a fusion andd it's related hardware, L4 & L5. My pain level is still at pre-op "9" almost conbsistently.
I fear I amk now addicted to Percocet and Vicodin. I have tried neuropathic meds (Gara-something" and now Lyrica) Still no pain resolution. I can;t focus for more than an hour at a time, can't drive for fear of being arrested for OUI, can't go back to work. Any thoughtws from you all in similar situation as to what;s next? I can't live with the limp, the cain, the pain, the sleepless nights.

Thank you

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