Fused or not fused? I'm confused
I had a 360 lumbar fusion with hardware and screws at L5/S1 in May of 2008. Since the surgery I have been in a lot more pain. They went through the front and the back during the surgery. Well the ortho who did my surgery says I'm fused solid. He said my x-rays and MRI confirm this. Well I got a second opinion and that ortho said (after x-rays) it didn't look fused at all and on of the screws were loose. So I got a third opinion. This ortho I am currently with did x-rays and said he was 99% sure I'm not fused. So he ordered a CT scan because he told me that that's the only way of seeing if it is really fused. Well I got the CT scan results and films. The paper they got said it is fused. My ortho disagreed after looking at the CT films. He says there is a loose screw and all he sees is crushed plastic in between the vertebrae. He showed me this on the x-ray of the loose screw showing a halo around it. He also showed me there is dark space in the between where the fusion should be solid. However, he has not showed me this on the CT scan films. My thing is, I don't trust doctors! I think they are just business men out for our (or in my case workers comps) money. The first surgery was so terribly painful for about 6 months. All I'm taking right now is Valium 30 mg per day and tapering off it slowly. I have tapered off Tramadol already and just dealing with the pain. My ortho said I have a 1 in 2000 chance of becoming worse, impotence and the fusion still might not take. He said the different stuff he is gonna use has an 80% fusion rate. Also he will only be going through the front this time and not the back. He said he is mostly worried about my back being stable and the pain is secondary. He will also clean out any scar tissue. I just don't know what to do. Any help is welcome and thanks in advance.