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Thread: Non union/ spinal fusion

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    22

    Non union/ spinal fusion

    Does anyone know what they do if the fusion hasn't healed at all after 9 months? This was my second and only from T-3 to T-6, and from the scans it looks as if the entire fusion has failed. I also would like to know if anyone knows what they are supposed to do when they drill a hole in a vertebrae and then decide to leave it out due to crowding/improper rod seating? I have heard that they have to go in any fill the hole with some kind of silicon or something or the vertebrae will crumble due to the weight on it and the fact that is has a hole drilled all the way through it. Can anyone tell me if they know any thing about this? I go to see 2 different surgeons in the next two weeks but I'm scared to death about what they are going to tell me.

    Georgian

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    136
    Quote Originally Posted by Gigi060
    Does anyone know what they do if the fusion hasn't healed at all after 9 months? This was my second and only from T-3 to T-6, and from the scans it looks as if the entire fusion has failed. I also would like to know if anyone knows what they are supposed to do when they drill a hole in a vertebrae and then decide to leave it out due to crowding/improper rod seating? I have heard that they have to go in any fill the hole with some kind of silicon or something or the vertebrae will crumble due to the weight on it and the fact that is has a hole drilled all the way through it. Can anyone tell me if they know any thing about this? I go to see 2 different surgeons in the next two weeks but I'm scared to death about what they are going to tell me.

    Georgian

    Hmm... that's an interesting question. I've never heard of the surgical tema filling the whole. I'm missing two screws in my back due to odd EMG readings when they were placed. My doctor didn't drill through the pedicle wall either. I honestly don't know anything about that, but you've got me thinking on the holes.
    25 yr old female =^_^=
    Thoracic curve 48 degrees (with kyphosis)
    Lumbar curve 23 degrees
    surgery from t5-l1 25 July 2005
    Two rods and 16 screws later . . . 0 degrees YAY!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    22

    re-revision surgery

    Just wanted to update everyone, I have seen both surgeons and they agreed that there is nothing more that they can do for me. I just have to live with the constant pain and muscle spasms for the rest of my life. They can't take out the new hardware because the fusion has only just started to heal. I go back in 3 months to check and see if it has finished healing. But until then, I have to get used to being in pain all the time. And he also said that the hole in T-4 should not cause any problems. Oh well, I guess I'll join the club of unsucessful fusions. Life really sucks.

    Georgian
    spinal fusion 1985 T-6 to L-3, revision surgery T-3 to T-6 in 2005.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    313

    Don't give up

    The pain may be a short-term part of the healing process. Many on here talk about the various stages of pain and spasms they go through during healing (which can be a year or two.) Don't give up yet.

    Did you ask them about a pain specialist or physical therapy? You definitely should be getting pain meds.

    Deb

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    22

    Pain meds And PT

    I start Physical therapy on Monday, and they have had me on pain meds this whole time, but they don't get rid of the pain they only dull it, and by the time my fusion heals, I'm afraid I'll have to go to rehab just to get off of everything.

    Georgian
    spinal fusion 1985 T-6 to L-3, revision surgery T-3 to T-6 in 2005.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    25
    Wait, so are you healing or not healing? If it looks like you are beginning to then go to a new doctor at the one year mark. I have had more failed fusions than I can count and each time it happens I go back in for another surgery. I'm only 18 and I've already had 8 spinal surgeries. I know the despair you must be feeling right now. I know how awful the pain is, in fact the pain is so bad there really are no words to fully describe it. Have you ever gone to a pain doctor? I do and without him I would be nowhere. You go to surgeons to fix your back but they really don't deal with the day to day pain you have. There are ways to control it at least a little bit. There are so many types of treatments, therapies, and medications out there that you haven't even heard of. Even though it may take a while you will find something to help the pain.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    22

    non-union

    1 month ago it looked as if I was not going to heal according to my one surgeon, but just the other day he said it has just now started to heal, they are calling it a delayed union, probably because I smoke. I have a pain doctor and I just started physical therapy yeaterday. I pray that everything works out. I pray every day to wake up just one day without any pain, but I haven't gotten there yet.

    Thanks for your replys everyone.

    Georgian
    spinal fusion 1985 T-6 to L-3, revision surgery T-3 to T-6 in 2005.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Fernley, Nevada
    Posts
    352
    Georgian,
    If you look up the stats concerning smoking and fusion failure you will find that it is the one reason above all else why fusions fail. I'm suprised your doc even agreed to operate on you while you still smoked
    SandyC

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,802
    Quote Originally Posted by SandyC
    Georgian,
    I'm suprised your doc even agreed to operate on you while you still smoked
    I agree!

    Georgian,

    I know how difficult it is to quit. I did it. Why don't you work on letting your pain motivate you to quit? If you don't quit, you may find that you never fuse.

    --Linda

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    22

    Smile smoking

    I did intend to quit but with the stress that I have been dealing with and the pain and all the different doctors, I found it too stressful to quit. My PT has been going well. When I started my back was sunken in terribly throughout the new incision. She explained to me that the muscles had atrophied to to not using them for so long because I was in so much pain. In just 2 weeks I can see a dramatic difference in my back, it is almost even with my shoulder blades now, and amazingly the numbness is going away too. She said that is most likely because the muscles that were not moving were crushing the nerves and there was little blood flow to the area. Now that everything is starting to work properly again, I've cut back on my pain pills and am again attempting to quit smoking. I am getting alot of support from my husband who has decided to quit with me to make it easier. If I'm not around it and as long as I have hard candy to suck on, I can make it most of the day without a cigarette. This quitting cold turkey stuff sucks but I know I will be glad when I am nicotine free. I didn't want to replace my cigarettes with patches or gum with nicotine so I have opted to used acupressure and BB therapy. So far so good. My chiropractor has these little stickers that have tiny bee bees attached to them and anytime I feel like I want a cigarette I push on my bee bee and it gives me a nasty metal taste in my mouth and my craving goes away. By the way the bee bees go on you ear lobe. And I'm trying to flush my system out by drinking lots more water. Thanks for the advice and encouragement, I sure needed it. I'll keep you all posted as I progress.

    Georgian
    spinal fusion 1985 T-6 to L-3, revision surgery T-3 to T-6 in 2005.

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