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Thread: How much Pain relief from revision surgery?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    New York

    How much Pain relief from revision surgery?

    Hi -
    My fusion (no instrumentation) is over thirty years old, and about three years ago pain from disc degeneration and stenosis started. The lower fusion has held up well, so far, the upper fusion has lost 35% of correction. I don’t take pain medication anymore; everything I’ve ever tried has eventually caused GI problems. I have been to two surgeons, both who have said they would replace two discs and fuse the remaining un-fused lower part of my spine (L4 to sacrum).
    What I am wondering is after being fused to the sacrum how long have people been on pain medication after surgery? Did having the surgery really lessen your pain and allow you to stand and walk more (without medication)? I realize everyone is different when it comes to pain - but your input would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance for your insights.
    T 87
    L 72

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Columbia, SC
    Hi, Roxanne. I was fused from T4 -sacrum 6 months ago. I was off all pain meds but Tylenol at about 5 1/2 weeks after surgery. I am 67 years old. I took only Tylenol for pain before surgery and my spine is free of pain now. I had a rib pressing down on my pelvis before my surgery and sharp lumbar pain if my spine moved in the lumbar area at all. Some of my sciatic pain has returned in the last week or so. Don't know why. Hope it is temporary.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Indianapolis area

    It seems like from reading this forum over the years that extension of the fusion into the bottom lumbar levels is pretty common. It is done with the goal of reducing pain or stabilizing a progressive curve. No guarantees, but many people seem happy with the final outcome as far as pain reduction.

    I was fused t4-sacrum last March. I was on pain meds (mostly Norco) for 5 months. I still have some back pain, but I usually do not get that achy lower back or sciatica-like nerve pain that I did pre-op. My pain now is upper back tightness and pain in the sacrum/hip area when I walk too long or too fast. For me, surgery has made walking more difficult, but standing is easier. However, I didn't have much pain pre-op. it seems like anecdotally people with significant preop pain do tend to get relief from revision surgery.

    Best wishes,
    age 48
    80* thoracolumbar; 40* thoracic
    Reduced to ~16* thoracolumbar; ~0* thoracic
    Surgery 3/14/12 with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis, T4 to S1 with pelvic fixation
    Broken rods 12/1/19; scheduled for revision fusion L1-L3-4 with Dr. Lenke 2/4/2020
    Not "confused" anymore, but don't know how to change my username.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Anyone else with less pain after revison surgery?

    It was kind of scary only seeing 3 posts for this question! Is there anyone else that has had revision surgery that helped them with pain?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    I had revision surgery--mine was a little different as I was 1st fused from t10-pelvis. Six days after surgery I fractured thru t-9. Two years later we did revision surgery to extend the fusion to t-2. So mine was added upwards and not to the lower levels. I can say , while it is hard to be fused through the upper levels--the pain is less.I know the fusion stopping at t-10 was hard on me--maybe it was my job or the fracture--I don't really know since the fracture happened right away.
    I am in less pain now though. It has been 2 years since revision surgery.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    San Jose, CA
    I didn't have a revision surgery, but only the original scoliosis surgery in March. I hope that it will be the only back surgery for me! I am not sure if I qualify for this question, but thought I'd write about my experience anyway.

    I am fused T6 to sacrum and I have a significant pain reduction. Before the surgery, I had low back pain that limited my ability to walk (1-2 miles and I was in a lot of pain). I could only stand still for 5-10 minutes. Cooking was painful, going to cocktail parties and museums became a torture... No problems sitting or lying down.

    After the surgery, I can walk and stand for as long as I want - until my legs get tired. I walk very fast, much faster than before the surgery, and I don't have any pain. But sitting for long periods of time (more than 1.5 - 2 hours) is still challenging because my tailbone starts to ache. It goes away after I take a short brake. I like sitting in a kitchen-type chairs, but very uncomfortable on sofas or any soft chairs. I am hopeful that it will get easier as time goes by - I am only 7 months post-op and things are still settling in. I do have tightness in my upper back sometimes. I would not call it pain - it's probably what people here refer to as "bear claw". It's not bad and I can deal with it. Definitely better than pre-surgical low back pain and ribs rubbing against a pelvis! Overall, I am very happy with my outcome.
    I am stronger than scoliosis, and won't let it rule my life!
    45 years old - diagnosed at age 7
    A/P surgery on March 5/7, 2013 - UCSF

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