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6 months ago I had L4-L5, L5 S1 replaced and fused (ALIF) now my L3-L4 needs remove

Started by Katie Bug on 08/04/2010 1:10pm

So like I said I had my L4-5 and L5-S1 replace with cages and I have a 7 screws and 2 plates in the lower spine and now my L3-4 is degenerating along with tears and leasions in the disc. I also have no spinal fluid between my disc so it's now bone on bone. I am in debate on whether or not to have another surgery. I went to Emory Spine Clinic in Atlanta (considered one of best spine center in the best in the S.E. My question is...Has anyone else had to go back and have another disc replaced 6 after a spinal fusion and if so did the approach through your side or back and did it help? I am very torn because I'm 29 with a 2 yr old daughter and I don't want to be in more pain after the surgery. On top of the DDD I also have scoliosis and I've had 3 opinions and all 3 said I will end up with my all my disc replaced, fused and rods from my ribs down. Any suggestions?

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Katie Bug:
Which surgeon did the fusions on your back? You need to know someone on the "inside" whenever you are going in for a surgical procedure. Nurses, PA's, Surgical Scrub Technicians, and believe it or not...surgical salespeople can give you the best reference for a good, ethical, compitent surgeon.
I have worked in Operating Rooms around the country, from Alaska to Miami (and in other countries) for the past 21 years. I know the spine guys at Emory, and most every other reputable hospital or clinic in the Greater Atlanta area. There are some excellent spine docs at Emory, and there are some I wouldn't send my worst enemy to. There are also several other outstanding spine surgeons in other parts of Atlanta whom I wouldn't hesitate to have evalute and treat me if/when that is ever necessary.
I helped a spine surgeon today in north Atlanta perform a ACDF on a high risk patient. He was steller, as expected. He did a c5-7 fusion with a new 2 level plate that he was using for the first time. He is one fantastic surgeon I would recommend to see for another opinion...and to get an opinion on what he thinks of the job that was already done during your first surgery.
Let me know if I can be of further help to you. Good luck to you. God bless you.
Kirk 404-606-7112

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Hi Katie-
I had a spinal fusion in 1985 or 1986. The fusion starts pretty high up and stops right above L5. I have 2 Harrington rods and lots of hardware. The used bone from my hip to fuse the rods to my spine. I had a bad S curve (scoliosis) that they were trying to correct. The surgery was AWFUL, but everything was o.k. until about 1994 when I started having really bad pain. I was diagnosed with DDD, herniated discs, and spondolithiasis. The surgeon told me that I should try to "just deal with it" for as long as I could because the surgery to repair what was going on would be just as painful as my first surgery and was not guaranteed to work. It has gotten progressively worse and my list of limitations has gotten longer. Each time I have another MRI they add another new condition, and extend the measurements that were already bad enough. They keep saying its up to me as to when they operate but this last time that also added something new. They told me now that this will NOT be the last surgery I have to have. They said I will need "more than one" surgical procedure. Also now they say they cannot guarantee my level of handicap after surgery. It is SO frustrating. Espesially when I have children at home that depend on me. How do I decide? Did you make any decisions yet?

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