I was injured in a rollover car accident. I ruptured two discs in my low back causing nerve problems. My neurosurgeon decided that a double level spinal fusion was necessary. L4-5 and L5-S1 Was fused August 25th,2009. I had my most recent CT scan 7 months post surgery and was told there was absolutely no difference in that scan,than the one taken on the day of surgery. I just had an xray taken a week ago, still no bone.
My neurosurgeon has been very tight lipped about it and the only thing he says is that "It is a bit abnormal for bone to not grow this far after surgery,dont worry about it,we will talk about this and your options in August". Basically he just wants to give it a year. I really like,and respect my neurosurgeon,but my mind is going crazy on what is going to have to be done to fix this? He has wanted to see me every two months since my surgery,but the only thing he tells me about my back is "we will discuss this is August". Is there a chance that it could still grow,or am I looking at another surgery? I am 24 years old,and a mother of a 3 year old and a 1 year old. I just want my life back! These are supposed to be the best years of my life,but my pain level is way too high. The most intense part of my pain in the same spot since my fusion.Sharp,stabbing,and on the right side of my spine. Nothing seems to work for the pain. Honestly,I'm scared.... any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Well it's now 8 months and the bone healing should have been visible.
If your surgeon says that no bone has growth, there there are 2 options -
1) Delayed Union,
2) Non Union.
But in any ways, we need to wait till one year, to give it a definition.
The reason as why he used artificial bones is because it was 2 level fusion and hence a lot of bone grafts were required. Some surgeons use a lot of bone grafts, from the patient's own body(using Illiac crest), but it can be cosmetically causing problems.
I think the plan should be -
1) Give good support, externally, to your operated region, so that the pain decreases.
If you are getting pain, this means that there is some movement going on, in the fused area, which needs to be minimized, else the fusion chances will decrease even more.
2) Use bone stimulators (like re-grafting, BMP's, etc).
You may be required a re-surgery, however not as extensive as the previous one, if there is only bone grafting required.
Please go for a second opinion if you can afford, as we will know more details from the other doctor also.
I hope you understood my concern.
Feel free to discuss more.
Oh,and I forgot to say,The bone my Neurosurgeon used is artificial bone. He said that he used the artificial bone and just a little bit of shavings from my own bone. Its supposed to make recovery alot quicker by using artificial,but It didnt grow..........
Thank you for your answer. It is comforting to know that if another surgery is necessary,that it wont be as extensive as the first one. So since there hasnt been any bone growth as of yet,is it likely that there would be a chance still? Is that what you mean by a "delayed union"?
I also know that my neurosurgeon does not use bone stimulators,I honestly dont know anything about them. I will start doing some research on them.
How do I keep that area from moving? You said external support,I have been going through physical therapy,so I always keep my stomach muscles tight to help support my back.My neurosurgeon put 6 screws and 2 rods in the "fusion" area
I did get a second opinion also. I did not include that in my post because I felt like it was a waste of an appointment. I did not know that my Neurosurgeon,and the one that I saw for a second opinion knew each other. When I went for the second opinion,all that Neurosurgeon told me was that There was no bone growth at all,and that he would write a letter of concern to my current Neurosurgeon.He then said that he wanted me to continue to see my current Neurosurgeon and that he wouldnt take me as a patient because he wasnt comfortable with it. I could get a 3rd opinion,but I just dont want to go through that again......
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