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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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ROSEY are you still presurgery? I hope your surgery go`s well my friend.
GUYS they pulled Dr. Cook`s comments!! We are here helping each other if we wanted Dr. help we would go to one and we do.
I`m really not doing well at all .I`m 3 months and in more pain than presurgery.I have some better days but still worse than pre . I went to the falls this weekend in canada you can fly a plane just saying you no how, so I was flying a plane with a pilot I was hoping that it would crash and put me out of my pain. I think this surgery didn`t go right . If it did my arms are numb almost all the time now. As I do more they are worse now( pain always)>. To everyone that follows this I need help. I no I need surgery on my neck.. Could you guys go through another surgery and would you ?

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Sammy, not for nothing bu my neurologist told me that if she ever needed back surgery she would go to NYC. You should check out some of the top hospitals there.

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Sam:

I think I've responded to you before.

I read your post, and I'm so sorry for your pain. I am in a lot of pain every day, too. Not the same kind as you, but still pain. Please don't give up hope. Keep going to doctors, different doctors if you need to, and see what your options are. Can I suggest you might want to see a therapist? I go to one and it really helps. You can just unload and vent! I think it's better than always leaning on your loved ones.

I really hope you find some answers. Take care of yourself!

Pam

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Good to hear from you again Pam , All the old timers have left this site for some reason. I think because of all the laser surgery phonies that are on this site acting like one of us. Working for laser centers. I turn everyone in I see selling anything on this site that aren`t paying spine universe.we all give our best comments than its just a phoney. Yes I`m close of needing help but if I think I do I don`t !!! lol. Yes my 15 year old is sick of me. I really don`t no what to do anymore. If I accept my life the way it is I think things would be better. I will have to quit working which I haven`t worked since july 1 other than about 20 driving hours. It is hard to give up all I worked for all my life. I`m only 49. Thanks Guys

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Sam, I know you are way upstate but try NYC, Columbian Presbytyrian, or Montefiore Hospital, etc etc You can't give up at 49. You need a hospital where the smart guys are and that is in New York City....

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I too am still in pain, form 4/27 operation. Today I ran out of pain pills and can t get a refill till thursday, I had to contact friends who also take them to borrow a couple to get me through. I am trying to walk as much as possible. You need to find a good DR. Surgery in your neck area is dangerous but you need to make a major move. I wish I knew what else to say. Every one around here is sick and tired of my complaining too.

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hello i'm new . I have seen a lot of reponses here and I'm asking anyone who has the time to read my question dated 10-19-10 about my S1 L5 lumber bulge/tear and ddd. I'm having problems and I need some help, advise and support. Again my name is chuck, you will see my post on here. Please respond. thx

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I am hoping that someone here can help. I had four level fusion March 30, 2009. I think that in a lot of ways, I am worse now then I was before surgery. I am consistantly in pain and this week has been horrible. I have severe nerve damage in my left leg and foot and have to where any tennis shoe that has mesh on the top. I cannot stand for anything to touch my foot. I feel that there is some thing very wrong with the hardware in my back. I swear at times, I can feel them moving. I cannot sit nor stand for long periods of time. Let alone do a whole lot of walking. I struggle to work as I too am on more meds now than I was before surgery. Which effects my thought processes as well. I am no where near as active as I was, I would love to have my "old" life back. Now as a thirty-something that has to have help to do the little things (put on shoes and socks) makes me more depressed and embarrassed. I don't remember what the "success" rate was for my surgery, I just know that it didn't work and that I would not do it again. I was pushed (my injury is a workers comp case) to get the trial spinal cord stimulator, which I think also did more harm than good. I am thinking that a pain pump is next any thoughts or ideas?

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Dinna, Are you on a lot of pain meds? I`m 3 months post op I can`t put my shose on some days. I`m starting to think it`s time to try to go back to work and just do what ever I can. Being happy with the cards that are delt to me.I have to start living again .I have been in level 7 pain (just around the house). I no when ever I do much I have more pain. I`m going nuts in the house so I think I`m feeling stronger and better than I have!! I don`t think I did the right thing with surgery either. If I feel a little better with back , then I have other things going on with my neck that show up. I`m going to the surgeon on Tuesday 26 oct. I will let you no how that go`s . I have to learn to live again with pain.
good luck to all Sam
Anne D. you are truly one of the only up beat person. I hope you are doing well. Rosey went through with his surgery I hope he was ready. HE`s living through the first days of pain I hope he`s OK smoking is a killer. Do you think he stoped ?? Riverhawk any thoughts

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I don`t no why It put me in 2 times .Sorry

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Hi Sam and the rest of our SU buddies, I had my 6 month checkup with the spinal surgeon yesterday. He says I'm doing really well but that the residual pain in the lumbar area will subside over time. (like 1 year) It could be from the bone graft site combined with arthritis. 3 things help the pain, engaging the core muscles whenever I move, moving around a lot and icing my back. Sam if I were you, I'd seek a 2nd opinion about your cervical spine issue. Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC is loaded with lots of world class spinal guys. Don't let the surgeon or any of his buddies who did your fusion operate on you again!! Hang in there, it gets better!!

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Sam, just to throw my 2 cents in, the hospital Anne mentioned is fantastic. I know several people who went there one for spinal but other things also. That what I meant when I said you should go to the city. I have something else going on with me and I won't let them touch me around here. I go down to Montefiore in the Bronx, it s not pretty but they they have the procedures down pat.

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Riverhawk I knew exactly what you meant. There are problems if you leave your local area for healthcare. I did it once before in my life, no other doctors in my area would help me with that problem. I want to Boston for the best kidney stone procedures they had at the time. For two years every time I had a kidney problem off to Boston (5hrs). My insurance paid for everything except the travel. I know Boston or New York City has the best health care in the area probably world. Just after the surgery is pretty hard riding in the car for hours. Not to say would not leave town again but there are reasons why I'm reluctant to. Now I can take my pain pills and go back to bed. The physical therapist work the heck out of me earlier today/yesterday. Thanks for your advice. Sam

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Hi Sam,
I'm sorry you are having so much pain. I know what it is like. I am 9 months post -op and still not human. But I would be remiss in not encouraging you to move around as much as possible. walking and strengthing core muscles. (obliques and stomach) Do not rely soley on PT as your exercise. The more you move the sooner your pain level will decrease. And I know it hurts! Trust me, I have been there!! But you have to try and suck it up and keep going. If you are pain level 7 at the house, I would suggest you stick to walking for now, several times a day. Try and be aware as you walk that you pull your stomach muscles up and in. It will automatically correct your posture. And it will help to strengthen core muscles.
Other levels can be affected as result of surgery, but usually can be corrected through exercise.
I still suffer from edema and have a hard time wearing any shoes.
Since you are in PT, I can only assume your fusion looks good from surgeon pov and now is the hard part.
Yes, driving to the city would be hard for such a long distance at only 3 months. I honestly don't think it is necessary, rather you need to move more. I too, was in much pain at 3 months, and I later realized I was sitting more than I should have. Sitting is the most unnatural position for your back and puts the most strain on it. So you want to either be vertical or hortizontal.

Try walking everyday around the block several times a day and see if that does not give you some relief within a week. Also, talk to your PT about core strengthening exercises you can do as homework. Good luck and I will be anxious to see how you do!

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Hi to all my SU friends, From reading the literature and personal experience,a lot of the post op pain comes from destabilization of the lumbar region which happens as a result of the fusion surgery. Destabilization and pain happen after any weight bearing bone fracture(which happens during fusion surgery) . Over time and with daily strengthening of the muscles, ligaments and tendons around the operative site, the area stabilizes as the bone cells grow, knit themselves together and heal. Keeping core muscles engaged and tight all day every day every time we move reduces pain. Sitting for more than 30 minutes causes pain. Standing or lying down with pillows under the knees bring the lumbar region into neutral but get up and walk around as much as possible. Wearing a back brace helps alot. Best to all

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WOW Anne and Carrie are both so right. I HAVE noticed that when I sit a lot which is most of the time the pain gets much much worse also when I am laying down. AND as Carrie said ab out walking I experienced that yesterday when my wife who has no mercy and should be counceld on having sympathy for men in dire pain made me go food shopping with her yesterday this also included a stop at the diner where she said "how do you think I feel listening to you complaining for months" ah the pain actualy diminished quite a bit SO I learned a few things from Carrie and Anne today thanks so much. I was telling her about Sam and she said who are you to advise anyone you dont do anything but moan, at least he goes to therapy and tries. So lets see if I can get on the stick and start improving.

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Hi all, I have been watching this discussion since my surgery L3-4 fusion May 15.When do you give up? I have the same pain now as before my surgery? Most of you seem liake you are stiill in pain like me. I need help please. I have been having thoughts that I will be in pain always.Please help me. Melanie

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Thankyou all

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Don't know Mel seems like the answer is walk walk walk

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Mrs Joshi seems to be taunting us . According to her, she's correct and we're always wrong to have had spinal surgery. Now there's compassion for you! Go peddle your practice on another site. SU is just for mutual support of we who have had spinal surgery not chiropractors peddling there businesses to make more $. Mel, welcome to our gang. Here's some411. Spinal surgery corrects mechanic issues,and when performed skillfully ultimately reduces pain in maybe a year's time. The key to a successful procedure lies in the hands of very skilled spinal surgeons who performs several 100s of spinal surgeries a year in teaching hospitals. These type of surgeons aren't typically not found in community hospitals in the suburbs or out in the country.Unfortunately, family doctors tend to refer our type of surgery to their buddies on staff at the local hospital and It seems more convenient but in the long run,it's really risky. After surgery there is a lot more pain because your back has been mechanically traumatized and beaten on to get to the problem. to fix it. Many times, bone grafting from our hip causes intense post op pain for quite a while but heals(sitting on an icepack several times a day helps also wearing a brace helps.. After surgery, you have to work harder on yourself than you ever have in your life. If you were a coach potatoe, you're screwed because sitting intensifies pain. If you're an exercise or sports freak and overdo it at the beginning, you'll feel lots of pain and risk fusion failure. If you're overweight or resume smoking, fusion of the bones isn't likely to happen and the back remains unstable. Then you may need another fusion. Doing the PT exercises every day strengthes the core muscles and takes pressure off the unstable back. So you can see that none of this is for sissies. It requires us to discipline ourselves.and over time if we incorporate the exercises into our daily lives, we heal, the back stabilizes and the pain gets less and less. Anyone who thinks that just by having the surgery our backs will be magically corrected still believes in the tooth fairy. I'd say our number one enemy is being impatient stubborness and resistance to doing our part to heal and then groussing and complaining about being in pain. Acting like a reponsible adult and taking charge of our own recovery works. Going back to our old ways can not and will not work. My Best to all of my SU buddies!!!

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Hi Guys, Rosey where are you? how are you doing? I hope you're doing well! I have been pretty disappointed the last couple of weeks. My pain levels are moving up since the weather is getting colder. I went to the doctor/surgeon on my cervical spine problems he said the MRI showed my spine looked fine. Which is really good news. They're going to do a nerve conduction studies to see what's going. I am going to Aruba for the month of November I hope the desert heat helps me. I haven't been posting as I really have nothing new to say I'm kind of disgusted with every thing in my life. I will have my laptop with me next week hopefully I can say how great I am doing with my exercises and walking. Right now I wish I was dead. I don't know how much longer I can take this pain guys. It's time to start feeling better. Thank you all Sam

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Good luck in Aruba Sam, great news about your spine. I still am in pain but I have an appoint ment with my vascular surgeon in two weeks. This pain is different it seems like it most pain full when I am sitting for a long period and especialy in the morning, it is terrible I fend my self taking 1 pain pill then if no relief two more a few hours later. That at least lets me walk. I am so confused. I am going to call the vascular guy tomorrow to see if I can get another prescription as I have a wedding to go to on the 13th of nov and I will never get through it. I almost think my back pain is beginning to diminish, the pain now is like i my buttuck and down my leg. Well any way enjoy yourself.

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Not to sound negative but I had a 360 fusion with hardware at L/5-S1 in May of 2008. My pain got way worse!!! I wish I'd never had the surgery. Now they are saying it never fused and there is a loose screw and I need another one. Dr says there is an 80% chance it will fuse this time. Also said there is a 1 in 2000 chance the pain could be worse. This is a different Dr this time. He is mostly worried about the spine fusing and being stable and said no guarantee of pain relief.

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Hi Cool 35, it's amazing that a competent well trained spinal surgeon would throw around those kind of squirrely stats(1 in 2000 chances of pain, 80% chance of fusion). Usually during fusion surge, the surgeon is taking xrays checking to see that the hardware is placed correctly and the bone graft material from your hip is placed properly in the gutters on either side of the fusion site. During your stay in the hospital, the surgeon should order xrays to check that everything is in proper placement. Bone fusion by your body begins almost immediately. In part, it 's dependent on eating protein, calcium and vitamin rich foods, not smoking and moving around constantly to keep an O2 rich blood supply to the back. If you're grossly overweight and have a large paunch, oiff you grossly overdo physical activities in the early days post surgery, you risk fusion failure because the fusion site is still unstable. Some surgeons order bone stimulators that are worn for weeks to months to increase the chances of fusion. Usually about 6 weeks out, more xrays are ordered and signs that fusion is taking place show up on xray. Did your orginal surgeon explain this ? Spinal fusion is not a magic bullet that "fixes" our backs. Our backs can not be "fixed" After fusion, the recovery work falls on us and all those lazy core muscle that haven't been activated for decades have to be developed to do the work that the back did before it failed us. If you're going for another fusion, get
as much info as possible about the surgeon and the hospital. Ask how many fusion he or she do in a day, a week,amonth,a year and what's their success rate. Ask to speak with former patients.

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HI , I am new here, and I am very confused about some things, and hopefully I can get some answers from some one. I had an injury at work that dropped me to the floor. I ended up going to the E.R. The Dr. there said he thinks I strained my groin, and checked me for a hernia. Within the next couple of days, I went into more, and more excruciating pain. I started having bowel and bladder accidents, ungodly pain in my back, legs, head aches, numbness and stinging pains in both arm and hands, my groin was having sharp pains, etc. Within 6 months, I was finally sent to a spine surgeon, in Missouri, in whom had high credentials, and was supposed to be one of the best . He looked at my MRI, that was sent to him , that I had done, and said I needed an L5 disc replacement. W/C sent me to their Dr. , and he said that surgery would just make my condition worse, and I was going to have to live with this excruciating pain the rest of my life. I am a smoker, and that was a significant reason, by itself. The pain and all of the other issues just got so bad , I needed some sort of relief . I decided to go ahead with the surgery. Once awake ,and getting my bearings back(somewhat), I was told that he had to do an L5 S1 fusion. My 2 vertebrae were lodged together, and he couldn't get them apart. That was 5/21/10 . Since then, I have, and still am doing every thing that I am being instructed to do(walking, exercises, bone growth stimulator,etc.), and I have been dealing with all of the same issues, and a lot more pain !! I seen the surgeon , a week ago, and I am continually telling him, that I am feeling worse each time I come back, and they treat me like I am lying to them. He said he is going to release me in 6 weeks to light duty. I can't believe what I am hearing! I told him that I want some kind of tests that will show my muscles, nerves, and scar tissue, so we can find out what is going on, and he just blew me off. I contacted my personal Dr., and he was irate with the surgeon, and he ordered me to see a neurosurgeon. I was wondering if that is the best thing for me to do, or if anyone has any suggestions, in addition to this, as I am at a loss, and NONE of the pain medication, even touches the pain I am in. thanks.

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Hi js64, welcome to our support group. Let's get down to business. Are you continuing to smoke? Are you eating properly? are you overweight? If so, your spinal surgeon is probably pissed off at you since your chances of fusion of the bone graft material to the fusion site are seriously compromised. You must stop smoking.You had to have the surgery if you became incontinent , there was no choice in the matter. Your lumbar region is now very unstable due to the surgery itself and your back was wailed on during the surgery which is also a source of a lot ofpost op pain.. Icing your back many times a day helps reduce the pain Don't sit for more than 30 minutes or the pain just increases.Your core muscles need to be developed as soon as possible through physical therapy abdominal crunches and repeated engagement of the abs 50x a day or more to get them to develop to take over the work of your failed back. See my last posting. This is not a situation to screw around with. All of your recovery now falls on you and requires rigorous self disciple or you'll be in pain for a long time.. The effects of pain meds gets weaker and weaker the more you take them. It's no solution. A neurosurgeon can RX meds for nerve pain and it does help. Have you been to a pain management specialist yet? The bottom line is that it takes up to a whole year to recover from fusion surgery and your participation in your recovery is at the top of the list. If you're the stubborn, resistant type, you're in for a rough ride. Best

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Thank you for you reply, Anne. I am 6ft 1, 235lbs., and was muscular build , prior to all of this. I have always been active, and physically fit. I always eat nutritional food, and drink around 1.5 gallons of water daily. I have been doing crunches(100 per day ), since 12 weeks prior to the surgery, as told. He had me to start them back up, 3 weeks after surgery(the day I got my staples out) , as well as start walking again. I went back for my 12 week follow up, and he said that he wanted me to start the crunches, and the walking , starting the next day. I told him, " you told me to start them up again 6 weeks ago, and it hurts too bad, I can't do very many. He had a look of embarrassment on his face, and just looked at his side kick, the nurse. I asked the nurse , after he left, to ask him about the bowel, and bladder issues, and she said , it has nothing to do with your back. I told her that this all came about when I got hurt, and she said , I already told you, it has nothing to do with your back. I am going to quit smoking Sunday, after my kids leave, to go to their moms, in case I get grouchier than I already am . I am on anti depressants, as well. I haven't been to a pm clinic , because it hasn't been brought up , yet. I am on w/c , so everything is a slow process with those people.I have asked, and asked the surgeon about the severe headaches, stinging pains in my arms and hands, my blurred vision, the dropsies, and the constant aching in my neck, and he just blows me off. My pp is furious with him. That is why he wants me to see a neurosurgeon, so we can get some kind of testing, that will show the nerves, muscles, and scar tissue, or whatever this is, that is causing this. I am in my 3rd round of pt, since the injury , which lasts 6 weeks , a pop. I wear the bone growth stimulator, as directed, as well. I amjust so tired , and hurting non stop, and am just wanting some relief, and not the run a round. So, I am doing every thing I am told , the pt , is hurting more and more, and that pain just adds to the existing pain, so I am starting to think that the surgeon, just cut on me because he seen reason to justify it, without taking in to consideration, that the pain is being generated from another source, maybe, it is in my head. I have always lived by the philosophies of , 1) there is always some one worse off, no matter what the situation; and the other is , 2) a persons body sends the message to the brain when it hurts, not the brain telling the body, that it hurts !! That is how I feel about his remark to me, about it being a psychological imbalance !! I will be glad to take all of the replies , or assistance , that may help .

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Hi js64, Your family doctor is giving you positive guidance wanting you seen by a neurologist. Workman's comp on the other hand is infamous for shoddy indifference. Don't take it personally, it the system. The lack of quality MDs in wc is well documented, usually medical hacks take wc cases. Your continued smoking is retarding healing because it's robbing your blood of O2 and our backs have a poor blood supply to begin with so you must stop it immediately. Smoking is the #1 reason for the bones to fuse.Get as "cranky" as you want but stop smoking!!!. No more excuses. It's up to a qualified neurologist to determine the causes of you bowel/bladder problems not the ramblings of some dumby "nurse" who's usually just a superficially trained office assistant. The post op pain following fusion is real. The surgeons
were wailing on your back with saws, drills, chisels and mallets for several hours. So the surgery itself inflicts a lot of trauma to bone and soft tissue which then has to heal. Before my surgery in April2010, I read a book called"Heal Your Back" by John Sarno MD. I found it helpful in explaining the possible emotional components of why my back failured and how to participate in my own healing. The more you take responsibility and lower your expectations from the medical community the better. surgeons love to operate, period. They usually stink at taking care of patients after the surgery is over. That's just their personalities. Many of them are only glorified bone carpenters. By all means seek help from a pain management specialist. your surgeon wouldn'tt suggest it since it makes him look bad and he's getting paid by wc.the less he makes referrals the better wc likes it.. Get referred through your family doctor or the neurologist. If I sound cynical, it's because I am. Hang in there, the pain decreases over time. Best.

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JS64 correction, I meant the bones failing to fuse. best

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