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Who would leave a collapsed disc in before fusion?
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Who would leave a collapsed disc in before fusion?

I have DDD and the surgeon never took out the old disc and just fused the transverse process with pedicle screws and rods. I would say I got 20 percent better.
Now after five years, I had an injury and I got a CT scan and L4/L5 look like it went from mild whiting to full on bone spurs and the inter vertebral bodies are not even fused yet. Just the very back looks like the top and bottom are starting to touch and I'm in a lot of pain because they crunch on each other.
I told my surgeon how come they didn't take the disc out and fuse the vertebral bodies he said there was no evidence to prove taking the disc out has any effect. I learned the disc needs to be removed thoroughly put in a cage for critical support and pack with morselized bone for better results.
Who's right? Leave the degenerated disc in, or take it out and fuse the vertebral bodies?
Also I just noticed that they left the collapsed vertebrae on top of each other. Yes, they actually left the vertebrae on top of each other on the left side before they screwed in the pedicles and it’s crooked with about a 1/8 the space it used to be on the other side.
Some one please help me, because Kaiser sure doesn't care!

5 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_m_tn
The Doctor might be of some help when he gets to your post.

I've never heard of leaving the disc in, unless in the case of one of those Microdiscectomy procedures where all they do is cut the part of the disc that's herniated and pressing on the nerve.

I've had 3 fusions, I lumbar, which was done with a cage, similar to the way you described and 2 cervical that were done with allograft.

Even with solid fusions, there's no guaranty it will take away your pain. And the same with further degeneration, a lot of people end up having problems above and or below their fusions.

Hope you get this straightened out, have you gotten other opinions, are you looking at additional surgery?
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4801404_tn?1359946096
I wish we could post images on here, or can we?
I was looking at pictures of different stages of degeneration. I think stage three, where the spine looks really lopsided and the top vertebrae is waaayy over the lower vertebrae. I think they call it cupping over? Both vertebrae are all chewed up and jagged. That’s exactly  how my CT scan looks, and worse part is, they screwed it in like that!!  They didn't go in, raise it back up, they didn't take any of the old disc. And this is Kaiser.
I don't know what I'm going to do now?
I had a comp injury in late Sept. 2011, they doctor took one look at my back and said. There's no way you should be doing a labor intensive job!
My back had a flat appearance because I had a 2 to 3 inch band of muscle spasms across my back. When I went to physical therapy, after a few times with massages, deep heat and those shock pads. The muscle band went away. The down side was that now I couldn't move when I laid down. It took me 20 minutes to get up. It took like 5 minutes to roll on one side from flat on my back, because whenever I moved my torso, a lightning bolt would shoot through my body
I was turning on a water valve, which is a twisting action with a lot of torque, and think I broke bone off the very outer part of the pedicle screws. But no one admits to what I see.
I work for city water dept. and they might not want me back because now I'm a liability.
If I can fixed, yeah I would have surgery again, but it might be too far gone. It's been 5 years and the vertebral bodies are just now starting to bridge the gap. I'm 42 and they say the nerve endings might dull out soon?
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Avatar_m_tn
Should be able to upload images to your home page, some people upload to an image site and then post the link.

Your talking about anterolisthesis which is a forward slippage or retrolisthesis which is a backwards slippage of one vertebra over another. Fusions are suppose to help prevent that, by stabilizing the spine.

You need to get a medical opinion from a spine specialist outside of that medical group. Those doctors probably all know each other and aren't going to tell you what they really think.
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4801404_tn?1359946096
It's not slipping, the disc is collapsing and favoring one side. The lower side is lipping over the bottom. Whats that called? I'll try and load pics, Thanks dude.
How are you feeling? Are you working; in constant pain?
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm not sure what that's called. Yeah I have chronic pain issues, mainly from issues in my neck. I actually had a successful fusion @ L4/5 about 11-12 years ago. Had a real bad episode about 2 years ago, and thought I might have to have another surgery, but my Chiropractor got my through it. Haven't had as much luck with my Cervical fusions, pretty much given up on my neck pain getting any better.

Use to have a real physical job, went back to school after my 1st neck surgery, so I've got a less physical job now, but it's still rough.
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