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Thread: Collapsed lumbar discs/auto-fuse

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    San Francicsco Bay Area
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    127

    Collapsed lumbar discs/auto-fuse

    Hi Everyone:

    I have two completely collapsed discs below my T2-L3 fusion. (My L3-4 disc height is OK, so it has probably auto-fused). However, my L4-5 and L5-S1 are collapsed, and I have been told I am bone on bone down there. This loss of disc height, or absence of discs, has caused a mild flatback, or loss of lumbar curve. I was told this is at about 20%. I should specify that although I had Harrington Rod surgery, the rods were contoured; I was not given a "Flatback" surgery.

    My question is: does anyone know anything about auto-fusing? I can't find anything on the web or on this site about it. If I allow myself to auto-fuse, will my flatback stay as it is or worsen? I am already having a little bit of trouble standing up straight, but this is mostly because of the pain; when that's under control, I am able to stand up straight.

    How does one see auto-fuse? It doesn't seem to show up on the MRI, but I am having a lumbar CT scan so hopefully it will show up on that.

    After two years of HORRIFIC bone pain I have experienced a spontaneous reduction in pain; my nerve pain in my legs has GONE and bone pain is much less, so I'm wondering if my body has completed its auto-fuse? As I said in another post, I am deciding if I need surgery or if I should just leave things as they are. My worst pain is when I've been sitting for a few minutes and I try to stand up.

    Any info or experience on all this would be much appreciated. Thank you,
    Last edited by Tableone; 11-06-2014 at 11:40 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NC
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    8,901
    The many questions in here probably can only be answered by Linda or a surgeon.

    If your leg pain is gone then the L4-S1 bone-on-bone section might have autofused and you might not need more fusion surgery. The nerves for the legs come out of this section.

    The only time autofusion has come up on the group that I saw was the high rate of it with growing rods which is why they stop working after a while as I understand it.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 11-07-2014 at 06:27 AM.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
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    758
    My surgeon said that I had t-1 to t-2 auto fused. I understood from him that it was arthritis that caused it. Glad you are doing better.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    San Francicsco Bay Area
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    127

    Autofuse

    Well my physical therapist thinks I am autofusing in the broken part under my fusion. I had already come to the same conclusion myself as all my nerve radicular pain down my leg suddenly stopped late last year although my severe achy bone pain continues. I will be checking with the surgeon with my latest lumbar CT scan to see if this is the case. If I'm autofusing then I will let myself autofuse and thus avoid having myself fused to the sacrum with instrumentation. In fact my physical therapist will be helping me to autofuse so as to avoid surgery. I will post more details when I have them.

    Thanks,

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    San Francicsco Bay Area
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    127
    Hi Everyone:

    Well I've had bad news. I got a CT scan of my collapsed lumbar levels to check if I'd autofused, but two surgeons have told me that although I was slightly autofused, that it would take years and years for me to completely autofuse and that it wouldn't happen in my lifetime. Apparently it's very rare. Also, I have been told by my new pain doctor that there is nothing one can do to assist, or speed up, or make autofusion happen.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Grove City, OH
    Posts
    275
    Thank you for the update. What's next for you? Are you considering surgery? Take care.
    Peg
    61 yrs old
    75 degree lumbar curve with thoracic kyphosis
    T3 - S1 surgery with Dr. Buchowski in St. Louis, on 10/27/14
    Working on healing in Columbus, Ohio!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    San Francicsco Bay Area
    Posts
    127
    Hi Peggy:

    Thanks for asking what I'm considering. As I have found out that I am not a candidate for Artificial Disc Surgery due to my severe facet disease, and I found out from the CT scan that I will not autofuse in my lifetime, then yes, I must consider fusion to the sacrum as my pain, which had previously lessened, is at an all-time high and I can barely walk. However, I do not have much pain radiating down the leg, which is atypical. I will be posting separately about this atypical pain.

    Thank you, hope you are doing somewhat all right.

    T1

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