My question stems from an ongoing problem,I am a 32 yr old Firefighter/Paramdic and back in 1994 I injured my back at a fire scene. At the time I was unable to walk and was refered to a neurosurgeon. I was told that I had a large herniated disc at L4-L5 and could either try surgery or have therapy instead. I went the conservitive route first until a few days later I was unable to urinate, and at that point I was told an operation was in my best interest. After a sucessful operation I returned back to work for six years without any real problems up until last year. I began to have right sided foot drop and severe leg pains, I was refered to a pain clinic which followed with an MRI. I was told that I needed to have emergency surgery due to impending Cauda equina syndrome. I underwent a right sided laminotomy/microdiscectomy. Following the surgery I have had no problems with my right side at all and was back to work in two months. Since last year though I have had ongoing problems with my left side as far as cramps in the buttocks and calve area. In the last month things have got pretty severe and now I am out of work. I am trying all alternatives prior to going to see my surgeon again. Last year my doctor told me that a fusion was my next step, I am going to see if it is possible to get away a left sided laminectomy since it is only my left side which is causing a problem, but I do not think he will agree.Are one level cage fusions usaully sucessful or are there other alternatives. Don't hear of to many sucess stories.
To answer your specific question, there are actually many, many cases in the medical literature of successful one level cage fusions.
However, it first must be determined whether or not these cramps are really indicative of spinal problems. Certainly, it is a strong possibility with your history of recurrent back pain and surgeries and the presence of other symptoms you did not mention above. Consider seeing a neurologist to get a formal exam that will help localize the problem to a specific site. Second, an EMG could further pinpoint the exact problem meaning if it is just the left side that is involved. Finally, an MRI of the lower spine may be helpful, although the anatomy may be difficult to assess as there has been prior surgery on your back. If you're reluctant to go back to your surgeon just yet, make sure you have all the info regarding the state of your spine and neurological damage first. Unfortunately, I cannot comment on your surgical options as I myself need more info such as the physical exam findings and the results of any imaging studies. However, a neurologist should be able to get you started in the right direction. Good luck.
I feel for . I am going through the same thing. I am 30 and a female. I hurt my back at work 6 years ago and am still in constant pain. The first surgery I had was in 1997, I had a MICRODISCECTOMY/ LAMINOTOMY on L5-S1.I had a bulging disk that herniated and was pinching by left siactic nerve. I had severe leg and back pain. The sugery went fine, or so I thought. Went back to work for a couple of months, then back was hurting again. Had a FAUCET NERVE BLOCK done on left side (needle stuck in back , between hip and spine, it is suppose to burn the nerve and kill it, stopping the pain)went 3 x's for this, it didn't work but getting it done hurts more than the pain I was already in. Went for 2nd surgery in Oct.2000, had ANTERIOR LUMBAR FUSION w/ INTERBODY FUSION CAGES and BONE ALLOGRAFT AT L5-S1. My l5-si was degenerative and almost totally gone. I have not been back to work since May of 2000.Thats almost 2 years now and my doctor says i"m totally disablied now and can no longer work. The Fusion did work , but I'm still in constant pain . I can't stand/sit longer than 15 mintues. can barely pick up anything. my doctor told me because my L5-L1 was so degenerated that if I didn't get the Fusion done i would have been paralised. Now because of the pain he wants to do a 3rd surgery, w/PEDICLE SCREWS. get a 2nd opinion. you might be different than me. but i'm going for one before I have another one. I'm glad I had the Fusion but it was hard after it. you really need to have someone around you for a couple of months even to do the simple things like take a shower and get out of bed. I had to use a walker to get out of bed. GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!
I am 41 year old male. I was injured in work related accident in 1999. I had my first posterior anterior fusion L5-Si in Oct,99 with screws and rods. No relief of pain in lower back, left leg, and left testicle. Underwent numerous injections with no relief. Underwent second fusion at same level plus L3L4 and L4L5 in Jan 2001 with no relief of symptoms. Was put on numerous pain meds but no relief. Had a high resolution CT scan which showed failed fusions and all those levels again. Underwent 3rd fusion at all those levels plus one more and still no relief. confused and do not know what to do next. Finances are all gone.
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