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Spinal fusion 34 years ago-spondylolethesis is back!

Started by Pateo55 on 03/27/2010 9:32am

Newbie here. I'm so glad I found this site. I'm wondering if anyone else is, or has been, going through this.
I had a fusion when I was 21 (34 years ago) on my L5-S1 with bones taken from my hips. The past couple of years I have had so much low back pain with radiating pain down my legs. Doctors kept calling if fybromyalgia but I just "knew" something else was wrong. Finally had an x-ray which show I have spondylolethesis again, same place, "showing evidence of previous fusion". I guess this means my fusion has let go, or weakened, but I haven't seen a specialist yet.
Hopefully they will do a CT Scan or MRI to get a more clear picture of what is going on. Does anyone know what they do in a case like this? I'm sure things have come a long way since I had my fusion, with 10 days in a circular bed and 6 months in a back brace. Has anyone had their fusion fail after many years and need it redone?
Much thanks for any replies. I'm scared to death.

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5 Responses


Hi Pateo55, I am 31, was born with congenital kyphosis, in 1999 had surgery spinal fusion T11- s1. with rods n screws. In 2003 injured back, since then my pain has gotton sighnificanltly worse, The pain is unbearable. Had x ray, bone scan results non specific, mri, have severe pain all on right side n mid back with severe pain in lower back, sacrol area and right hip, get numb and tingling pain when sit for more than 20 min, Dr. said no more surgery due to non specific results and afraid surgery would make worse, wouldnt improve quality of life. I am very frustrated, havnt been able to work in 2 years, normal everyday household chores cant do most of them. I am going to ask my fam dr why no one sent me for a nerve testing. I believe I might have severe nerve damage. I have done pain med, phys therapy water, tens, chiropractor, nothing has relieved any of pain. Good luck hope u find some answers, make sure u ask a lot of questions or they wont expain results.


Thank you Jamie97. Sounds like you've had your share of pain and I thank you for your advice. It's so easy to walk in to the doctor's office and feel like you are taking up their time and just not ask enough questions. I have a list of questions all written out. This site is awesome, there is a lot of information on here and I appreciate the feedback. Sometimes you feel like you're all alone and no one really understands when you have back pain. People on this site definitely understand. And thank you again.


Hi, Just to let you know you are not alone. I had the fusion for the same reason 20 years ago. Back pain and problems a again, went to Twin Cities Spinal Center. Guess what no sign that I ever had my back fused. Where did it go? Going to have it fused again.


Hi, Pateo,
I really understand your dilema, I also have failed back surgery and now Dr. won't do surgery due to believe's I would come out worse than I am now. Just make sure you ask all questions, or otherwise they won't tell u everything, Good Luck


Hi pateo
I had a fusion and lamenectomy about 24 years ago.
Now I have to have the area above the last fusion,,,, fused.
I was also told that in 10 years from now to maybe expect the same thing to happen to the area above THAT fusion.
I have spondylolethesis 12mm, they found a 1 inch tear in my disc and 2 bulges after I had an MRI.
When you go to the specialist be sure and ask them if you get another fusion how long do they expect it to last?.
When you say circular bed, do you mean striker frame????
OMG after I broke my back in a car accident I was on a striker frame for 11 weeks.
yes. I think they have come a long way since then!!