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    need for 2nd surgery
    jess_thompson26 posted:
    I was on here a while ago but now I'm back again. I had a spinal fusion at L4-L5 and it has almost been two yrs{nov}. Now i need it again my doc says smoking is why so he won't do it until i quit. I really want to quit but when your stuck at haome can't really go anywhere for any lenght of time and all i can do is smoke. Just like before I don't get on the computer much since my legs go numb and then the pain gets worse. I wasn't completely out of all the pain after the surgery to begin with . I like going places and playin' with my kids but is a 2nd surgery worth it. I had it because he said i would be fixed but a very small chance of a 2nd surgery in 2-5 years. I am just so lost anybody got any advice?

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    bj1208 responded:
    hi jess - well i know that smoking is bad but what exactly did the doc say was the reason your back surgery failed???

    I have Failed Back Surgery Syndrome and had a fusion 2 1/2 years ago - L5-S1. I fused 100% by my 6th week post op - and I was doing great until after my 3rd month post op then my pains were worse than before the surgery - and I have nerve damage in both legs. the surgeon I had had told other patients that he would not operate on them until they stopped smoking - but he never stated that to me!! I know have 3 more bulging discs and went to another surgeon - he told me that in order to operate that they would have to take out my plate etc and do a multi level fusion - he said that instead of making my pains better it would make them worse and he said he would not suggest it (especially taking out the plate is a horrible process).

    And I sit at home all day long, and yes I still smoke - I know it's bad but in the same boat - nothing else to do - can't go too far cause of pains and nerve damage plus can't walk/stand/sit for too long -

    Let us know what the doc says is wrong - what failed?? Did the surgeon say if this would make ur pains worse or better?

    then here's what I would do:

    get a referral to another surgeon (if you need to) for a 2nd and maybe 3rd opinion - go to either an orthopedic spine specialist or a neurosurgeon spine specialist - take all your MRI's/CT Scans with you -

    See what this surgeon says about surgery - you may be in store for more pains than what it's worth -

    let us know - take care - Joy~~
    Geradine4733 responded:
    Welcome back, Jess. Don't beat yourself up. I know how difficult it is to quit smoking. It must be really difficult when you are alone and in so much pain.

    I had a fusion 8 years ago. I am not a smoker. I did the PT, the walking ,and everything they told me to do,, and my surgery failed. I would get an other opinion. It could be the skill of the surgeon. If you have arthritis, it could be that another disc failed.

    Do you have arthritis? You are wise that you are doing your investigation by asking people who had surgery if they would have it again. I would not have it again. If it was from an injury, it would be a different story.

    Whatever you do, do not have the same surgeon.
    jess_thompson26 replied to bj1208's response:
    He told me since i smoke the the new bone could not grow and i have a screw loose. So he needs to go back in and do it all again. I like this doctor he is the only doctor in ten years that actually believed i was in pain. But i haven't worked since before the surgery or really done anything. I hate sitting around but i am so scared to do anything that wil make my pain worse then it all ready is.I have done injections ,pills, pt and now another surgery.Yes for about three months i felt great but after that three months all over again back was hurting. The surgeon told my husband right after surgery i had the back of a ninety yr old but never told me that.At the hospital where i had my surgery all the surgeons talk about the surgerys scheduled and who they are for. There is about ten different surgeons. Doesn't that mean i have got 2nd and more opinion? thanks,jess
    jess_thompson26 replied to Geradine4733's response:
    Thanks for your imput . My pm says i have arthritis and my surgeon said at one time i had it but doesn't think it is causing this pain. That my disc was all that was wrong. but even after the surgery my hips, legs and feet hurt the same. never changed. thanks for your help.I really don't want another surgery but if i don't i will feel this worthless the rest of my life. I already feel so bad I can't take it. I am so lost. I think I will go back to my primary again. Thanks,jess
    bj1208 replied to jess_thompson26's response:
    hi jess - there could be several different reasons why your bone growth didn't take - not just the smoking - did they give you a bone growth device to wear?

    Also if there are several different doc's at the hospital then I would chose one (not in same practice as ur surgeon) and make an appointment with them -

    I would see about a 2nd opinion and see what the surgeon says - you might be surprised that it's not your fault (and not the doc's) that your surgery failed -

    take care and let us know - Joy~~
    jess_thompson26 replied to bj1208's response:
    No they didn't. My insurance won't pay for another surgeon. Do you think my primary would have a clue about what i should do?She sent me to him. She is a good doc atleast by my standards. I guess there isn't any clean cut fix for this.
    Thanks for everything I go back on the 17th to see him maybe we can come up with something esle before i do surgery again . Then I will get 2nd opinion. thanks for your help,jess!
    bj1208 replied to jess_thompson26's response:
    hey - yea i would discuss with ur primary doc and see what she says - and it's ur body and ur choice if u want surgery -

    i know it will only add more pain to me if i do have surgery so will have to live with the pains i have now knowing it could be worse -

    i would write down a lot of questions and ask ur surgeon everything u can think of - find out what went wrong - why and if what would happen if u don't have the surgery - then outway the differences -

    take care - God Bless - Joy~~
    Geradine4733 replied to jess_thompson26's response:
    Please check with your insurance. Talk to Customer Service. Explain that the first surgery did not work so you would like another surgeon.

    If the clerk does not give you the answer you want, ask for the supervisor. We are allowed another surgeon if we feel the first surgeon did not do the job. If that does not work, write a letter and explain why you want another spine surgeon. Your health care can not ignore a letter.

    AGAIN: I had surgery 8 years ago, and I did not smoke and did everything I was supposed to do, and my fusion surgery failed. Your surgery probably would have failed even if you did not smoke.

    Surgeons try to blame the patient when it might have been the surgeon or another disc failed so the fusion could not fuse. Do not accept the blame for this. If you do have the surgery again. get another surgeon. Give yourself every break you can. It is your body and you are worth it.
    whateverbena2 replied to Geradine4733's response:
    hi i had a back fusion too and i do have arthoritise but its been almost 4 yrs sens ethe surgery on my back and to tell u the truth it made it worse i cant do anything or sit or stand alot at all without the pain i go to pain management but the pilss are only a quick fix. i wouldnot i mean not have another surgery ill have to live and suffer from here on cuz i coulnt deal with the pain in my ;egs after the surgery either i was in a week and it was suppose to be only 3 reg doc ask me if i want to do another surgery and i said way...hope u feel better soon thats all i can say oh and i dont smoke either and it was the worst thing i have ever went thru..
    maltlover replied to jess_thompson26's response:
    Hi Jess....I remember you. I smoke, too, and my fusions all took just fine. The last one didn't fuse completely but almost and the surgeon was satisfied. I'm not saying that smoking doesn't have any impact but I think doctors are too quick to blame everyone on cigarettes.

    But if this is the surgeon you trust, and if this is the one you want to operate if you go that route, then try the patch. They worked for my daughter who has smoked for almost 30 years. I wonder if you have ever had a bone dextra scan to see if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia. Thin bones can keep you from fusing well.

    Good luck, and please stay in touch, okay?

    afrieson responded:
    Hi Jess,

    I had lumbar fusion L5-S1 also, i do not smoke and am still having chronic back pain a little over a year later. I am getting ready to have a spinal cord stimulator inserted in about 3 weeks. There is hope for us! I had the trial last week and it was AWESOME. Maybe you should consider that.
    lulu_20657 replied to jess_thompson26's response:
    Hi everybody, I am new here. I totally feel your pain Jess as I am in the same boat & is the reason I am on here today. I had a fusion & laminectomy at L5-S1 10/1/09 & was dopey but felt pretty good til the week b4 Thanksgiving and all of a sudden was in massive pain. The past year has been pure h*ll for myself and my family. I pretty much felt I was getting the run around at the surgeons office, in Jan I was told I was fusing & got a bone growth stimulator on Jan 19th & then like magic i was fused by the beginning of Feb. Makes no sense to me however, I felt no better. I had scan after scan. I never saw my surgeon after surgery until April 28th & he was a total conceited jerk who told me over & over I dont know why your in all this pain "everything looks exactly as I would expect to look" then I asked if he read the lasted radiology report he said uh no do I have it, i said well the nurse made a copy of the report I brought w/me. Finally he reads it & once again says "it looks exactly as I would expect it to" then proceeded to say IDK why they would say that "you can get as many opinions as you want, wouldnt offend me one bit" then said I dont know why you havent been sent to pain mgmt yet blah blah. Needless to say I started pain mgmt, had several injections "no more for me" nerve test which show severe damage to L5 & every test/scan out there. I have since also gotten a 2nd opinion in which the screws at S1 are entirely to long & the one on the left is awfully close the the nerve artery there, appears as tho the disc is herniated again & the discs at L3 & L4 are also slightly herniated which from what I have learned happens from the fusion. The doc recommended removing the screws at S1 all together but after further talking & reviewing he said we need to take out the screws & rod at S1 & replace w/new shorted screws & rod, build the bone up some more & remove the piece of plastic tubbing that was left inside from the drain tube when I had surgery-joy! I am going for a 3rd opinion tomorrow as I dont want to make another mistake. I am scared & dont know what to do at this point. Do i take the screws out & hope for the best or replace them? I strongly feel we should replace them as there is already slight slippage, I cant afford to remove & wait and see how it goes. I want my life back. I worked up til the day before surgery & have been unable to do so since as I cannot sit or stand for more than 10-15 minutes or on a good day 15-20 minutes- woohoo! I have a 10 year old daughter who needs her mama and a husband who needs his wife back. I am so frustrated, feel so alone and try really hard not to complain to my family and friends as I feel they have heard @it enough, therefore everything builds up inside & when I let it out I cant stop- sorry I was in the doc office the other day talking to an older lady that has the same problem & I told her i just need to be fixed & she politely told me, sweety they cannot fix you. I repled that if that is the case, I just need to be told so I can figure out how to move on and start a new chapter in my life. I will say that the doc did tell me that he could not tell me if removing/replacing the screws would fix me or not but that if we got them away from the nerves, I might be able to use my TENS machine which currently I cannot as it makes my pain worse. He also said if the TENS didnt help after this he could put the machine that goes in the spine (sorry, cant think of the name) however I do not want that, as I have heard & read to many bad things @them. I apologize for going on & on but I thought maybe if I put all this out there somebody would have some good advice for me. Jess and everybody else on this discussion, I feel your pain & hope we all find some relief or fix. Also, can somebody tell me how to send a message to Dr Maine to see if he has any advice, especially since he is not far from me? Thanks for listening everybody
    maltlover replied to lulu_20657's response:
    Lulu, are you talking about the morphine pump implant or the spinal cord stimulator? I have the pump and it saved my life. I was in so much pain before I had it implanted and it cut my pain by at least two thirds. I'm in a lot of pain again, but that is due to spinal cord compression from a new buging disc and bone spurs that are putting pressure on nerves.

    As for the spinal cord stimulator, well, there are many people who have them and love them but since I cannot tolerate the TENS unit, it won't work for me. However, I probably won't allow one to be implanted as I have enough stuff in my back, lol.

    Good luck!

    OCSweetness replied to afrieson's response:
    Can you tell me if the spinal cord stimulator has worked for you or not? thanks so much

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