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Thread: Facet Joint Injections, Rhizotomies, Finally Surgery!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    NJ across from NYC
    Posts
    329

    Facet Joint Injections, Rhizotomies, Finally Surgery!

    I've recently made the decision to have revision surgery with Dr. Boachie. I've had back pain from age 11 - 27. In 1981 (27 yrs. old) had scoliosis surgery by Dr. Keim w/ Harrington Rod and was pain free until 1997. Pain started under the right scapular. I had a partial rod removal and a scapular resection that helped somewhat. Then in 2002 the lower back started to act up.

    September, 2002 - Saw Dr. B. as my concern was flatback. He confirmed it was not so I continued with my medicines and pain mgmt, who I've been with for eight years, and has kept me at a comfortable place. I had numerous trigger point injections and adjustments to the medicines and for the most part, managed the pain to be at a tolerable level.

    July, 2008 - Back to Dr. B. as the pain was getting worse, was from waist down, primarily left side. He said surgery was an option, but if I wanted to try facet joint injections, which would also confirm the problem if I got relief, and then a rhizotomy and go from there. I went that route and got substantial relief, but the FJI only lasted about three months, each shot. I had a total of three injections and then last December had a rhizotomy, but it only lasted about two months, and I was quite disappointed it didn't last longer.

    It is so painful now, I haven't had a decent night’s sleep in months as the pain keeps me awake and turning in bed is unbearable at times. The pain is around my waist, goes down the hip area and to the buttocks, so tender to the touch. I do not have any nerve pain, but it is affecting my left knee, and it wreaks havoc to my upper back when the pain is so strong.

    June 17, 2010 - Recently saw Dr. B. and again surgery was suggested. I have decided to go ahead with the surgery as the pain takes over every aspect of my life and it's quite depressing. I have tried everything there is to avoid surgery, but it's time now - I'll be 56 next month. I'm waiting for a surgical date but hoping for late November or sometime in December. My husband asked what I can do in the meantime to get some relief, and he suggested to have another rhizotomy or an epidural.

    Closer to the surgical date, I'll have an MRI and Myelogram and he mentioned another test but not sure what it is -- it's to check the bowel? Does anyone know what that test is or perhaps had it done?

    The following is what was sent to my insurance company from Dr. B’s office: "surgical stabilization, decompression L3 through sacrum with revision Harrington rod instrumentation, interbody fusion and presacral fusion L5-S1". An eight hour procedure and a week in the hospital. I know I’m in the best hands it's just that I’ve been suffering for so long, it’s hard to imagine living a life without pain. A co-worker just returned to the office having surgery by Dr. Boachie – her first surgery at age 50 and OMG to see how she looks now compared to before, it’s truly amazing. She looks like a different person and has zero pain. I’m thrilled for her as I know she suffered terribly.

    In April, my pain mgmt doctor increased my medicine and even with the increase I really don't feel a difference. I’m currently taking four different medicines, along with the Lidoderm Patches that I use for my hip/buttocks pain. Tomorrow I am having the second rhizotomy, and I pray it will give me a few months relief as this is the last thing to try before the surgery.

    Just need to talk - thanks for listening. LYNN
    Last edited by Jacque's Mom; 07-22-2010 at 04:40 PM.
    1981 Surgery with Harrington Rod; fused from T2 to L3 - Dr.Keim (at 26 years old)
    2000 Partial Rod Removal
    2001 Right Scapular Resection
    12/07/2010 Surgical stabilization L3 through sacrum with revision harrington rod instrumentation, interbody fusion and pre-sacral fusion L5-S1 - Dr. Boachie (at 56 years old)
    06/11/14 - Posterior cervical fusion C3 - T3 (Mountaineer System) due to severely arthritic joints - Dr. Patrick O'Leary (at age 59)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    3,745
    hi Lynne
    i sent you a private message...

    jess

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Dayton, Nv
    Posts
    61

    Exclamation Lynn

    Oh you poor dear!!!

    You have definitely suffered enough. I am so glad that you have a light at the end of your seemingly endless tunnel. From this forum I have learned that your Dr B is highly regarded, so you've got the "right stuff" on your side. No one wants to opt for a scary surgery, but sometimes the alternative is even more frightening. I so wish you well and want to hear how this all plays out. Are you waiting for the end of the year because you want to or is the good doctor all booked up? I just hate to think of you going through what you're going through for any longer than necessary. My thoughts are with you, and I'll send some good vibes your way...

    Sharon
    Singing the Blues
    Female 1951
    A/P Surgery Oct 13th & 17th '05, from T7-L5, 46 degree curve reduced to 19 degrees. Rib hump almost gone, no major complications.. but I now have kyphosis above the surgical area and went from 5'2" to 5' 1/4. I plan on a revision surgery with Dr Menmuir in Reno, Nv on October 13, 2010.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    NJ across from NYC
    Posts
    329
    Hi Sharon, the procedure went very well. I actually feel so much better and I finally had a good nigthts sleep! Yes, Dr. Boachie is quite booked and in October he is planning a vacation with his family for two weeks and maybe a trip to Ghana so Lindy wasn't able to give me a date until she knows his plans. I have planned a two week vacation beginning of October, so I'll go and then when I return perhaps November or December I will have it done. If the outsome of surgery can give me the relief this procedure did, I will be so grateful and if this can last me until then, how wonderful would that be. I wish you the best as well. Thanks and I'll be in touch. LYNN
    1981 Surgery with Harrington Rod; fused from T2 to L3 - Dr.Keim (at 26 years old)
    2000 Partial Rod Removal
    2001 Right Scapular Resection
    12/07/2010 Surgical stabilization L3 through sacrum with revision harrington rod instrumentation, interbody fusion and pre-sacral fusion L5-S1 - Dr. Boachie (at 56 years old)
    06/11/14 - Posterior cervical fusion C3 - T3 (Mountaineer System) due to severely arthritic joints - Dr. Patrick O'Leary (at age 59)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Adelaide, Australia
    Posts
    424
    Hi Lynn, my sister-in-laws father had a rhizotomy last year(six weeks before my surgery) and he is still doing great. Apparently these types of procedures are a good indication of what kind of relief you may have after a spinal fusion.
    All th best.
    Vali
    44 years young! now 45
    Surgery - June 1st, 2009
    Dr David Hall - Adelaide Spine Clinic
    St. Andrews Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia
    Pre-op curve - 58 degree lumbar
    Post -op - 5 degrees
    T11 - S1 Posterior
    L4/5 - L5/S1 Anterior Fusion

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,263
    Hi Lynn,

    You certainly have suffered and I just wanted to wish you well with your surgery. I hope you'll keep in touch afterwards because I'm hoping to hear that you're finally out of pain. Permanently!
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Bucks County, PA
    Posts
    145
    Lynn, I'm so sorry for all the pain you've been in for so many years. And you've really tried it all before moving onto surgery. Hopefully it's a relief to have your date set, and know your in such great hands with Dr. B. You'll have a new wonderful back for the New Year. Thanks too for all your encouragement over the past months.
    Debra
    Age 45
    Pre - surgery Thoracic 69, Lumbar 48
    Post-surgery Thoracic 37, Lumbar 39 (unfused)
    Fused T4-T12
    Milwaukee braced, 11 years old to 15 yo
    Surgery Sept. 1st, 2010 Dr. Boachie

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,745
    OK..stupid question..i've had epidural injections, facet block, nerve ablation, sacroiliac joint injections, botox injections...but what is a "rhizotomy"??

    thanks...
    jess

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    NJ across from NYC
    Posts
    329
    Jess, A nerve ablation is the same as a Rhizotomy. If you google either name, they are the same. Perhaps doctors do the procedure differently but during both of mine, I was not awake. LYNN
    1981 Surgery with Harrington Rod; fused from T2 to L3 - Dr.Keim (at 26 years old)
    2000 Partial Rod Removal
    2001 Right Scapular Resection
    12/07/2010 Surgical stabilization L3 through sacrum with revision harrington rod instrumentation, interbody fusion and pre-sacral fusion L5-S1 - Dr. Boachie (at 56 years old)
    06/11/14 - Posterior cervical fusion C3 - T3 (Mountaineer System) due to severely arthritic joints - Dr. Patrick O'Leary (at age 59)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,745
    thanks for that info, Lynn...i was awake for my nerve ablation..had it done once, so far...probably more in the future...

    i consulted with Dr B. a few years ago, but he didnt take my insurance, and i have to go to in network surgeons....i pretty much went to him just to get his opinion on what he would do...it was much like what the other surgeons i saw suggested...

    i have a good idea of why you have come to the decision for surgery...i am just putting it off...or keep changing my mind...

    best of luck...i know you will do well...you'll be in such good hands!
    jess
    Last edited by jrnyc; 07-31-2010 at 07:54 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,745
    Val..i REALLY hope that is not true, about nerve ablation telling how well one will do with fusion...my nerve ablation did little for my pain! yet Dr Lonner feels that i am a great candidate for fusion..and that he "could do so much" for me...his words..said with a big smile!

    take care...be well...
    jess

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    NJ across from NYC
    Posts
    329
    Jess, it is my understanding that if you get any relief whether a week or a month, that indicates that area is the problem. It's a diagnosis. I would imagine that is what Val was saying. My first one lasted two months. The three facet joint injections also was a diagnosis, that's why I had the rhizotomy.
    1981 Surgery with Harrington Rod; fused from T2 to L3 - Dr.Keim (at 26 years old)
    2000 Partial Rod Removal
    2001 Right Scapular Resection
    12/07/2010 Surgical stabilization L3 through sacrum with revision harrington rod instrumentation, interbody fusion and pre-sacral fusion L5-S1 - Dr. Boachie (at 56 years old)
    06/11/14 - Posterior cervical fusion C3 - T3 (Mountaineer System) due to severely arthritic joints - Dr. Patrick O'Leary (at age 59)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,745
    hi Lynn
    thanks for the reply...i didn't realize that one week of pain relief could be a good indication of anything! that is really good to know! Linda said something in a message to me about relief from leg pain that is obtained thru an injection is a good indication leg pain will be relieved with surgery, but that is not an indication that back pain will be relieved...i find it all confusing...

    i have learned from reading this forum...and just from things in general... that each person is different with surgery and healing..results and complications...i kinda figure that each patient doesn't really know how it will go until/unless they themselves have the surgery..

    i wish you the best of luck and nothing but a great outcome!
    jess

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    169
    Hi Lynn, I too have been along your road. I am so very pleased that you are having surgery, I know also what it is like to live with pain every day, like a lot of us with the good old Harrington rod., But in their defence they saved my life so I had better be nice to them.

    I really wish you all the very best and if the truth be known I would trade continents just to be able to see Dr Boachie. I wish you all the very best and am absolutely thrilled that at least you can look ahead and see an end of pain in sight. Jess, I haven't had botox injections, or the nerve ablation, had the rest.

    Lorraine
    Last edited by Lorraine 1966; 08-01-2010 at 02:27 AM.
    Operated on in 1966, harrington rods inserted from T4 to L3, here in Australia. Fusion of the said vertebrae as well. Problems for the last 14 years with pain.
    Something I feel deeply,"Life is like money,you can spend it anyway you wish, but can only spend it once.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,745
    hi Lorraine
    the botox injections work the best for me...they work on thoracic area muscle spasms, as i said..but then again my thoracic pain is less intense than the lumbar pain i have..we tried the botox shots in lumbar area, without success...
    nerve ablation gave me perhaps a few weeks to a month (tops) of pain relief...but i do appreciate every bit of escape from pain i can get...i just thought there would be a treatment that worked longer for lumbar area...so far, sciatica tx was best for me, and a doctor told me that epidural injections work best for nerve related pain, so it makes sense...he also said he was not surprised that the other epidural injections i got for scoli pain in other areas didnt work well...he stated that "structural problems" are often not relieved with epidural injections...he has been one of my doctors for over 16 years...and has been right more than he has been wrong...

    best regards...
    jess

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