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Surgery or No Surgery

Started by Bcorwell on 09/08/2018 3:32pm

Hello everyone,
I’m a bit overwhelmed and confused on the decision I need to make to proceed with back surgery, when I was 14 I was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis I believe from L3-S1, I was having major pain throughout my leg I could walk more than 2 mins straight with being completely bent over with numbness down my leg. I went on and had the surgery and the pain and numbness was completely gone. Now the start of this year 2018 (21 years old) I have had very bad back pain and slight pain in my right leg I went to the emergency room when I could no longer take the pain and as a result of some X-rays they found that one bilateral vertical support rod was broken at L4 as well was a left bilateral iliac alar screw has been broken and the fusion from L5-S1 was noted as unsuccessful, as well as grade 4 anterolisthesis I’ve been through physical therapy and lost around 18 pounds but still have bad back pain although pain in my leg has gotten better. My surgeon says that he can replace the hardware and then also go through my stomach as extra measures, but the surgery would be really intense and there is not a 100% change that all the pain will subside. I am concerned that because the fusion was unsuccessful can it possibly get worse? Has anyone been though this before ?

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1 Response


Hi, Bcorwell--thank you for your question. While we don't have a personal experience to share that aligns with what you've been through, we do have resources that may help as you weigh the very important decision to have a second spine surgery.

First, we'd like to share a link to a blog from one of our Editorial Board members, Dr. Neel Anand: ( Spine Surgery Advice ). This blog is a great read for anyone considering spine surgery.

Secondly, we'd like to share some information about revision spine surgery: ( Treatment for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome )

It's reassuring to hear that your spine surgeon is giving you a realistic picture of the procedure--spine surgery is intense and there are no guarantees. The best thing you can do before undergoing spine surgery is be informed. Ask your surgeon as many questions as possible to understand the risks and benefits to you. This resource gives you examples of good questions to ask: ( Spine Surgery: Questions to Ask Your Doctor ).

We hope this information helps you! Please keep us posted on how you decide to move forward. We wish you the very best.