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Failed back surgery are the percentages right.

Started by Sam227 on 05/01/2010 8:41pm

I am having a fusion and leminectomy in July. My pain management doctor said I have a 33% chance of being pain-free after surgery. Does anyone think that percentage is off a lot because people don't want to go back to work? You think people are just looking for the free services for life? Back surgery is a major surgery for all of us. It would be a lot nicer if the percentage was a lot higher that get better. Please let me know your thoughts. I am unable to do almost anything now. My choice is surgery even at 33% .

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Hi Guy, Roisy , Riverhawk and Anne D., I`m Still in enough pain. I try to exercise. The pain is making me become house bound most of the time now. I have a very Sick Aunt I`ve been taking care of her So there is at least one good thing that came out of my back pain.She would of been put in a nursing home by her husband by now. She maKes me move and do things all day. I was always setting her feeling sorry for my self because my life was so bad. My Aunt knows she is going to Die but still gets up everyday and LIVES life better than me.I think Cancer is a Better than chroic Pain . At least You Die with That unlike Pain that just Hurts all the time. Well guys 5am comes early. Sam

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Sam, I've had fusion of L4, L5 & S1, and the 33% figure sounds right to me. My surgeon told me that a successful fusion usually relieves pain on a 1-10 scale from 8 or 9 pre-surgery down to 3 or 4 after. It's not a matter of being pain-free or having no relief at all. I myself did not fare so well. After my fusions I ended up getting a hip replacement 2 years later, and now I have severe pain from the L3 disc above my fusions.

No one would go through surgery, recovery, and all the things that go with it, just to get on disability. It's actually very difficult to get disability, and the amount of money is small anyway. A great deal of medical documentation of complete disability is required and it takes usually 18 to 24 months even if you do get it. As for free services, I'd sure like to know what those are. After being on disability for 2 years, if you're still disabled (which you have to prove), you can obtain Medicare. That covers 80% of your medical.

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Sam, I misread the date on your initial post, thinking it was from May of THIS year. The post I made a few minutes ago was meant to be a response to that first post of yours.

I'm so sorry to hear of your continuing pain. I am on strong narcotic meds for pain, but aside from those, there are some other things I've found that help the kind of pain you have. My Etodolac (Lodine) 500 mg twice a day makes a big difference; that is my anti-inflammatory. I really notice the difference if I don't take it. Another thing that gives me immediate relief is wearing my back brace. You probably got one post-surgery from your orthopedic surgeon. If yours is like mine, then it's rigid in front and back and it can be tightened very snugly. I wear that any time I have to do any bending. I also have an Ace back support ($39 from Walgreens) that has straps I can pull tight. This Ace back support really stops a lot of the pain, and I can even wear it under my clothing. Lastly, I didn't notice whether you mentioned taking any antidepressant medication, but that is standard treatment for chronic pain with most pain specialists. The action of the antidepressant helps your sensitivity to pain, and it helps quite a bit. Of course, it also helps you feel better emotionally too.

Physical therapy will help if your pain is relieved at least enough to do it. Swim therapy is especially effective.

You may need a second opinion, if your pain specialist hasn't been able to come up with a better treatment plan for you. I sure hope you start feeling better soon!

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Sam, Im sure u already had ur surgery,how did it go. Im an orthopedic nurse,About your question, Its only a medical TERM they use quite oftren, It means surgery completed and healed,but patient states still complaing of pain, NOT that surgery went bad, Just surgery repaired main issue.but still pain,As we all complain of, WEVE had our surgeries, but why still so much pain? correct?. Hope ur doing well. RENE :)

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Hi Guy`s, I really should be no here more but it gets old complaning about my Surgery all the time. I knew the chance I had before I did it. I was one that got worse kind of. But it did staiblise my spine in one spot. I need two more fusions now. My left foot is always hurting now.Just wanted to say hi to everyone that`s been following this. I`m still here and in lots of pain. Sam N.

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Sam, after havn my surgery in march, Id say the percentages r right, look at all of us complaining of still being in pain.

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Hi folks, long time hoe every one is ok. The second surgeon I went to ( the first and the one who did the laminectamy is a complete horses A@s , as soon as he heard the word problem it was impossible to get a hold of him. Thats ok small town and every one who asks I tell how I am and all about the surgeon) . The second one I went to is supposed to be very good but says I need a L4 5 fusion. My family doc aid to pass on that and has been giving me pain meds but I got to the point where they are just not working so he sent me to the Pain Mngmnt doc, He also said I need fusion operation. I explained that all I hear about that procedure is DON'T DO IT from the people I meet and hereall I here is pain pain pain. I worked hard all my life and we raised a large family now I see my wife looking so depressed here we are at our age and doing nothing. The pain guy put me on 30 mg oxy contin w 10 and I 325 Hydrocordone for breakthru. I have an appnt tuesday and I hope with a little adjustment he can get the morphine to work; Jf anyone had any experience with this drug I would like to know how good it is and how to take it. Right now it is 2 a day every 12 hiours, Seems like it takes a long time to kick in and when it does it relieves the pain a lot but not totally.. I would like to thank SAM on here for listening to me moan via e mail he has been a lot of support. I tel people that a guy I met on the internet manages my back problems, that usualy getrs quite a look from folks.

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Riverhawk, What is the name of the Pain meds that you are on now? Thanks You remember you have been there for me also my very good friend. We will meet someday soon. A heck of away of becoming friends with someone through a PAIN site. I`ve had a real bad pain weekend. I can`t wait to get to South Beach. If you come to Miami Beach will meet this winter. Sam

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The pain meds I am on now are MS CONTIN 30mg one pill every 12 hours and Hydrocodone 10 -325 1-2 pills every 6 hours no more than 6 a day. I was blowing through 300 of the hydrocodones in 2 to 3 weeks. SO far the ms contin seems to be working better I have pain of 5 0r 6 and I need the breakth throughs in the am then around 5 hours later. I think if I can get the ms contin up a little I will be good then can start walking. Definitely get together one of these times we will have to exchange cell phone #s before you head south.

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Hi Guy`s I`m almost two years post surgery now.I can sit in a chair now so I think over all it was worth having. I can`t work anymore and don`t get any free stuff yet. My wife took over my businis real sad but life. Now I`m a house husban I`m real close to my 9 year old now thats great really. So there is a lot of good that comes out of our really BAD daels we have been handed. I`m still om lots of meds and have found a great surgeon in NJ thats help me a lot. Now I had had Two more back surgeries since the first one. I over fused and my nerves were crushed. My surgeon here in Syracuse said I was Nuts andI just wanted more pain meds. I said this for 6 months I want to the new guy and he said I had this problem that with all of his doctor talk = my nerves were crushed from being to much bone in there and he showed me. I had no feeling in my left foot and couldn`t move my toes. After the surgery 3 weeks later I could move my toes and feel my leg better than my right. Plus this docter waved my 3000$ dedutable. I`m putting this on here because I gave up for a while. Just listened to the pill pushers that I still need to move around. Anyways have a great day guys thank you all Sam

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Good to hear form you on here Sam, you always were very sincere with every one and despite your own problems helped me get through mine.

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Hey Guys, Are any of my friends that save me May of 2010 still around. I`m still in pain but learning to live with my new life. There has been many changes. I even found a great lazer Surgeon. Back in 2010 I only heard bad things about them. Hi to everyone. Sam

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NO the percentages r right unfortunatly,,,,and im an orthopedic nurse,,So i had the surgery n too was labeled with Failed back syndrome and the constant PAIN that goes w it...Surgery fixes the structural problem but Pain will b there....Some get lucky...wish I was one of the lucky ones.....But remember, we r still on this earth and able to open our eyes daily, Cancer,,,,,wouldnt want that,,and the children in the world who hav worse issues,, thats the only thing I try to think of to encourage myself as I too suffer in PAIN daily,,But I pick my head up ,,Pray to god to get us through this day,,,enjoy the better days when I have them ( very few good days) ..But I try to smile for my kids n go on....but if u dont have the surgeries ,,if left unatended the nerves completly die and you loose feeling or ability permanently,,so I opted 4 surgery....Good luck in your choice, Rene :)

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Hey Sam!

I am still here. A week out of second surgery (actually third I had cervical done in April). I was able to go to a different doc, a neurosurgeon who has turned out to be my hero. I had a new mylegram done and found of course the failed fusion, but also several other bad discs. When he went in to do the surgery last week, all of my screws were loose and could be turned by hand. He said every time I moved it was like I had an ice pick in my spine. I too became home/bed bound last year. I have been so miserable. I am so at my wits end. I had been doing well since surgery and last night, I started I feel like I'm two steps forward, three steps back.... I woke in so much pain during the night that I could have screamed.

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Hi, Susila,

I just had a L-5 S-1 laminectomy and disectomy two weeks ago. I was not new to spinal surgery. After ruptures, I had 2 cervial fusions. I was just about pain free immediately after the surgeries. So after the lumbar issues began, I did everything by the book: epidural injections, physical therapy. But the pain got to the point I said, "it's unbearable. Cut me." I know it has only been two (LONG) weeks, but I already regret my decision. I has been accustomed to surgeries actually working. (Rotator cuff surgery: worked. cervical fusion: worked...)

However, I knew something was wrong 12 hours post-op. I had anticipated the pain the incision point, of course, but not the radiating leg pain, which was DOUBLE the level prior to surgery. I had my operation at Emery Spine--the best Georgia has to offer. I was surprised upon awakening that I was not on a pain pump, which I had discussed with my dr. beforehand. I told him I was allergic to morphine but was good with dilaudid. But the pump wasn't there. The oral meds did not work. I had to BEG for IV dilaudid, which was the only thing that took away the agony. (I know this is sounding melodramatic--but I'm a lifelong athelite and have had my share of painful injuries. This was TORTURE.) I was told in confidence, after four days in the hospital, that I wouldn't be released until I got off the IV drugs. So i sucked it up and left the next day. Since then, just 10 days ago, my entire life has changed. I went from expecting to recover from surgery over several weeks. work a little from home, slowly make it into the office, take my young children for walks, etc. Instead, I'm all doped up from the meds I am forced to take. It has become a nightmare.

I know it's early, but I'm being told there is a chance that I'm suffering from Failed Back Syndrome--surgery looks great, feels horrible. My Dr. told me there was an 85% sucess rate for my type of surgery. So I felt pretty good going into it.

So, Susila--I wish someone had told me to hope for the best but it could actually go further south. I had thought the downside to having surgery was to not get any better. I was wrong. It actually got worse.

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hello Randy and hello to my old friend Sam here. Randy the same thing happened to me. It has been two and a half years and I am still in terrible pain . Worse than before the surgery. I had a laminectimy and my pain and ability to walk is worse now than before the surgery; The surgery was a waste of time and caused me nothing but pain. The surgeon who performed it did not even want to know me after the surgery. As soon as he heard pain he would not even take my phone calls. His assistant would let the phone ring and ring, I borrowed another phone and she picked up right away. When I finally got to him he wanted to send me to an orthopedist. My vascular doctor said there were no blockages and to go back to the surgeon. When the surgeon heard that he actually caled the guy and yelled at him. What a jerk. I went to another neuro surgeon and he wanted to operate again. But every one I talk to says not to do it, so now here I am on pain killers trying to get a few hours of activity a day. I am in a rush now , had a hard time signing on but when I saw your post I had to respond because it sounds like me'

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Hello, Everyone, Let me first say that I had my laminectomy and disectomy L-5 S-1 two weeks ago this community forum has been a godsend. My pain doubled immediately after surgery and has not improved. I saw my Pain Management Dr. yesterday to get a refill of percocets. BEWARE: I almost didn't get the refill. I was given scripts for oxycontin and dilaudid. I am a recovering alcoholic/addict (22 years) and those two made me nervous. So one night in a haze I dumped them in the toilet. Since I did not bring them in to my pain doc to be destroyed, I received an ALERT on the percocet prescription. The doc explained that regardless of what happened to the meds, the system notes that they have been "diverted." This means they were sold. (I had no idea how high the street value was. I must be in the wrong business!) I told the pain dr I do not sell drugs and he said the system doesn't know that. Luckily, after repeated attempts, my percocet script went through. So for a few minutes I was facing three weeks without pain medication. It was a close call.

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Randy, I know Riverhawk good, We both need/ can`t live without our pain meds. We our pain meds to move to get out of bed to have any kink of a life.WE can`t live without them if were hooked on them so what. Better that than Pain or died. Sam

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Hi Sam,

That is scary because from what I have heard, 30% response is actually the placebo rate. So, in studies of different medical treatments, typically, at least 30% of people in the placebo group have a positive reaction! If your odds are 33%- that means that surgery would really only actually help 3% of people (if you look at it that way).

I just read this book, The End of Pain, http://www.regenokine.net/e-book/ that discusses inflammation as the root cause of spine or joint pain....typically, surgery attempts to fix the structural issue, but sometimes- maybe many times- that is not the cause of the pain.

Best of luck to you in whatever you decide.

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Hello to all, how is everyone? It has been a while.

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Sam227,
I was just reading your blog ( The original one from 2010) and wondered if you still thought the percentages were low due to "people just looking for the free services?"
Curious how experience broadens the mind, it did mine at least.
Janet :)

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This should be headed Failed Back Surgeons, with uncopationate,failing to do their job Pain Specialists.

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Say Hey Renee...... You got that sooooooooo right. I never imagined that the medical field contained so many egotistical, self serving, ruinous, idiotic , jackasses. Thank goodness I w fortunate to find a few real doctors .

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I totally agree with what Rene and riverhawk said.
My f******g back is SCREAMING today!...So I just want to scream right back. It's a lose-lose situation.
Janet. :(

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I think there are people out there that are scamers.I really don`t think 33 percent get better. No their not looking for free services. It`s sad to say when you need back surgery its a bad deal. You have a very slim chance to get better after. Would I do the fusion surgery again yes, I can sit in a chair now. Still in a lot of pain but driving is easyer,.I would have it done with a Laser surgeon in NJ. I hated them 2 years ago. A place in tampa took my friend for 50k. that was all the money she had still had the pain a month later. Now it`s the only way to go .He did 2 nerve canal openings for drop foot/leg pain no me.I feel so bad when I hear ppl going with open surgeries still. You have a 80% to fail to have chonic pain for ever. Good to hear from my old friends, Sam

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Sam227, here we go w the misunderstanding,,,I was responding to Sam Nicotras blog,when u wrote I thought it was the other Sam since it was his blog. that was a misunderstandig and a bit confusing being you both have same name,,sorry,,Rene

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Rene, I believe both Sam227 and the other Sam are one in the same.

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GOOD NEWS: Hello, Everyone, I perused this blog at times during my back surgery nightmare. I had a simple l-5 S-1 laminectomy and discectomy. My pain doulbed immediately. My surgeon, the top guy at Emory, recommended a spinal implant and see you in 6 months. My wife and I decided to get very, very proactive and there are very few out of the box thinkers out in back land. I inisted to my dr. That as I could ACTIVATE my pain, something other than simple nerve damage must be causing it. The Dr. finally relented and the MRI found scar tissue bound around my nerve root, as well as ligaments and bone within that level. After consulting the entire Emory surgical team, a L-5 S-1 fusion was called for. They cleaned everything out and actually tilted my spine using the titanium away from my damaged nerve root. I had the operation December 12th and I experienced relief immediately. Prior to surgery, I could walk on my right left and couldn't get out of bed without painkillers. I'm walking around the house and they only pain is at the incision site. I'm weaning off painkillers.

So IT CAN GET BETTER. But for me, I had to take control. When my Dr. wanted to address the pain only by implanting a stimulatior, I simply said that's not an option. We're going to find the cause and fix it.

Good luck to all.

Randy

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Randy, :) :) :) CONGRATULATIONS! You are an inspiration.

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CHEERS To Randy,,,very happy for U,,,what a nice xmas present...stay well,,Rene :)

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