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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

I had back surgery in March 2013 that left me with mechanical instability, acquired spondylolisthesis and lots of pain.

I have 2 ortho spine surgeons telling me that I need a bi-level spinal fusion surgery to repair the damage, but after the botched first surgery, the thought of another surgery scares me to death. Plus, since surgery is what spine surgeons do, the recommendation seems obvious.

I also started seeing a new pain management doctor (we moved to a new state) and he is suggesting that I consider a spinal cord stimulator trial, with surgical implantation if we find that it helps the pain.

So...I'm left confused. I see the positives and negatives of each, but I'm just not sure if one makes more sense over the other. I think that my spondylolisthesis will worsen over time and could pose a threat of nerve damage, while the spinal cord stimulator is designed to mask pain and does nothing to address the instability.

I'd love to know if anyone else has faced a similar decision...or has thoughts, ideas, comments, suggestions for considering one over the other.

"I'd love to know if anyone else has faced a similar decision...or has thoughts, ideas, comments, suggestions for considering one over the other".

Dear Fitt, First and foremost I am so very sorry your surgery failed and left you with more issues. Your post really touched me but all I have to offer you are my thoughts. I wish I more. My back injury happened 10 years ago during a medical screening procedure. No one would listen to me and it took me 6 months to get a CAT Scan. My physician didn't have the courage to call me when she saw the annular tear at L5-S1. I actually had to call the radiologist to get the report. I worked in the medical community for 39 years and had never met anyone who had had spinal surgery and was pain free, which would be the point for me to decide to have surgery, so I never have. I have been through the epidural injections, facet injections, acupuncture and all of the drugs which all made me sick. I have made a point of becoming my self appointed scholar for my tx on all things neurological. Last summer a neurologist offered to do a spinal cord stimulator implantation. The literature states many get infected, the implant itself causes pain, and most people cannot tolerate the sensation the stimulator produces and have to have it removed. With 10 years of degeneration I now have severe neuropathy in my legs.

So these are my thoughts Fitt. I do so hope you get relief. My last thought is every time you are discussing a procedure with a health care professional ask them if you will be able to stop all of the meds if you have the procedure, and then watch their face turn pale. Gwen

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