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Failed fusion - what now?
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Failed fusion - what now?

My husband had L4-S1 fusion done 18 months ago.  Despite over 12 months of therapy he still suffers from extreme sharp pains in the left hip and leg resulting in the need to lay down at least every hour or so.  EMG revealed "mild" damage probably done at the time of surgery (per surgeon)  We've not found any pain meds that help.  Contributing problems---obesity (due to lack of activity  (6'4"  350lbs) and smoking  2 packs/day.  The weight is slowing coming off.  What else can we do???  
Fusion was done due to an injury but delayed 3-1/2 months due to work comp.
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I would encourage you to have a second opinion at an academic spine center. They will be able to review his case and then make medical or surgical recommendations. They should be able to recommend other medications or procedures which may treat the pain. Good luck.
3 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I had a CT scan and the report didnt show much and the doctors blew me off as usual.  then i went to different radiology clinic and got the same CT scan and got a different reading.  
your symptoms sounded like mine.  i had L5/s1 fused and every day it felt like i was getting worse and no one would listen.  it's been a year and i finally ditched all dr.'s and got new ones.  i just found out my fusion NEVER fused, a screw coming out of one of my discs, large amounts of tissue forming in there, just to name a few.  basically go with how you feel , i wish i had done it sooner because i am in agony as you are, i can not sit stand walk.  my quality of life is terrible all because no one would listen and people did not do there job right.  I went (recently to American Radiologists - who got it right) to get another CT and another reading.  if you go in and the place is not nice the people are not kind and helpful then leave.  make sure the equipment is state of the art.  i had a lot of my films miss read because of poor films and radiologists that didnt take the timeto try to read them and doctors who didnt listen and put two and two together.  I have been living like this for over a year.  It sounds like you are having the same pain I am.  My fusion didnt take.  Get a new doctor.  Go to a new place that specializes in films and get a new CT scan and go from there.  I bet that's it, I know how it feels and it is absolutely Horrible!!!  Good Luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had L5-S1 laminectomy,discectomy and posterior lumbar interbody fusion using carbon fiber fusion cage.L5-S1 posterior fusion using titanium screw and plate system bilaterally.Harvest right posterior iliac bone marrow.I had this done Feb.04.I can't sit in a straight chair or sit long at all.I can't stand up very long it still burns intensly.I still have leg pain and my right leg after standing a short I can't put weight on it.It hurts to walk.I have to rotate between sitting,walking around and I hurt so bad .The more I do the more I hurt.I went through 12 weeks of P.T. I don't go back to the Doctor until Feb.05.I feel so helpless and useless and know one understands.Mine is Worker Comp.I was first injured Aug.02.I kept telling them I could hear and feel my bones rubbing together.Afer 3 steroid injection and nerotomy and finally a Discogram that showed multiple tears I had my surgery.But God help me,He says well we are going to have to tell you to go back to work.Everyone thinks I should be well by now.I know different.Can you tell me anything?Please!
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