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Is laser surgery possible after fusion with rods and screws?

Started by Mike_K9MI on 09/11/2012 12:07am

Hello to everyone, just joined the site a few minutes ago. Unfortunately, I have had back pain for 28 years. After a year of non invasive treatment (PT, chiropractic, nerve blocks, etc.) I had a laminectomy in 1985. I was working at an auto assembly plant at the time, which involved quite a bit of twisting and turning to do the job I was on. You can't build cars sitting down (drat!). Anyway, that was my first surgery. It helped a little, but after going back to work after 6 weeks off, it wasn't long until the pain was back. I went back to the surgeon, another CT scan and Myelogram and it showed scar tissue on the nerve root. I was told surgery to get rid of the scar tissue would probably just cause more, so I went from 1985-1993 with numerous 6 week sick leaves, more nerve blocks, PT, and lots of Darvocett and Soma. In 1992 the neurosurgeon who did my first surgery said they were having more luck with fusions. I didn't want another surgery, so I tried more non-invasive treatments (acupunture, TENS unit, more nerve blocks (or attempts), saw my chiropractor a lot of times, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Finally in '93, after getting 4 opinions from 4 back surgeons in the area, I went through with the fusion. The last 3 months of work, I was eating 3 or 4 hydrocodone a night and still limping out to my car to go home.

After the fusion, a big problem got even bigger. There was never any talk about putting me back to work, and I was officially medically retired at age 40. I'm 56 now, and I haven't worked since May of '93. So, I have been fighting this for over my life now. I'm now diabetic. I take 120 mg of Avinca every day (time release morphine), and 3 hydrocodone a day. I still hurt, and just about any simple physical activity causes the pain to get worse. I'm in rough shape right now, due to just cleaning the bathroom. If I go out and try to walk around the block, I make it thirty to maybe 40 yards and both hips and legs are hurting so bad, I have to turn around and go back. I have found the one thing that helps when I get a bad flare up is a shot of Toradol and Prednisone, which I don't like to take due to it spiking my blood sugar readings. Flexeril (muscle relaxer) helps a little also, but it usually knocks me out.

Sorry about writing the book here, but that's the "back" background I have. Back to my question. Would a back surgeon do Laser surgery on me since I still have the metal in my back? And what are my chances for any relief? The last back doctor that I saw was probably 6 or 7 years ago, and he said there was nothing that could be done (surgically) and that I would have this pain until the day I died.

Our MRI machines at the hospitals here in town are evidently older as they can't get a decent MRI or CT scan due to the metal. I have been told that there are places in Indy that have MRI machines that will get good results even with the metal in. I have thought about seeing if my GP would send me to a back surgeon in Indy and get a decent MRI done.

I have pretty well come to terms that this is the way it is. But, even not working there are things I wish I could do without causing these flare ups. The medication I take keeps the pain from being worse, but it sucks that I still have this much pain with this much pain medication even on an average day.

Would like to hear from anyone else that is, or has gone through similar situation, or if their are back surgeons that get on this site, if they would have an opinion on if I have any hope of some relief by doing something, or just accept that this is just the way it is for me. As the years go by, I get a little worse every year.

Thanks, and sorry for writing the book,


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2 Responses


Mike, I have a story like yours but I was l lucky. My family doc said my back was in bad shape. He gave me lot of meds till I couldn`t take it anymore 8 years. Then he sent me to PM then same as you. I had a fusion with rods and had laser Surgery after. Now I`m have a SCS put in next month . I had the trial in this past week I had know feeling of pain I took 50% less of my meds. I`m in house just like you, I wash my car and wax it all the time. I was a man that worked day and night now I never leave the house. Try that SCS you sound just like me. Sam