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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Do you have an "extra" vertebra at L6? Most people have five lumbar vertebrae but occasionally there is an odd formation, referred to as a transitional or sacralized vertebra. It is my understanding that when a surgeon begins a spinal procedure, they look for certain anatomical markers to know where they are...and generally, live x-ray is being done at this time. If a patient has an extra vertebra but the surgeon is not aware of this, it is possible that surgery can be performed at the wrong level. This was more common when the surgeon was relying on feeling the spine, looking for those anatomical markers, prior to the use of live x-ray where he can now visualize each vertebra.

Obviously whatever instability you had at L3-L4 is still there, and perhaps worse as a result of the segments below it being immobilized. There is probably compression of the L3 and/or L4 spinal nerves which is responsible for the pain in the thigh.

It would seem that the obvious solution is a revision of the fusion procedure, including the L3-L4 segment this time. Hopefully that will resolve your issues.

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