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New Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 7/19/2008 3:22 PM (GMT -6)   
My problem started 20 years ago. Bad car accident ( driven off a 20 foot bridge) as a passenger.
Compression fracture of L-2, 3, & 4. with L-3 shattered. I had bone removed from my hip to replace L-3.
A total of 5 surgeries on lower spine. a fusion of L- 2-3-4. Laminectomy of L-2, 2-3, 3-4 and 4 bi lateraly.
Now I have massive problems. Spinal stenosis, Neuropathy, left and right leg pain and low back pain.
I have had a total of 30 nerve and facet blocks (epidurals)
I just recently had an appointment with a Orthopedic Surgeon who wants to remove and replace L 2,3,4 vertebrae and discs.
Is there anyone who has had this procedure done ?

Dragoness Warrior
Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 96
   Posted 7/19/2008 4:50 PM (GMT -6)   

I'm sorry, I haven't, but I do hope that things work out for you!  I'm sure someone will come along with some good advice for you!

What do they want to replace them with?  I do know someone that had a disc replaced with a cadaver (sp?) bone, don't know if that is what they are going to do or not, but I wish you the best!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 7/19/2008 5:47 PM (GMT -6)   
Dear Patchy,
Welcome to the HW forum. Wow, you certainly have been through a lot! I guess I didn't realize that a fused disk could later be replaced. And, to be honest, I've never heard of 3 levels being done. Even with disk replacements, it took a long time for the procedure to be done on one level only here in the U.S. Maybe more than one level is now being done, but 3?

Are you at a major teaching university? Would this be part of some trial? I don't know enough about it to comment. I know I'd be doing a lot of research before I considered such a procedure. I've just had a 2 level fusion last year, and already my doc wants to try another "traditional" approach. I'm saying no, as everytime I read of people who have had multiple surgeries I don't read of good outcomes most of the time.

I also recently read some research on medline that said disks that are adjacent to fused disks tend to eventually weaken. You could try researching (and medline is what many physicians use, although there's a subscription fee for some things).

Let us know what you find.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1559
   Posted 7/19/2008 5:49 PM (GMT -6)   
I have had cadaver bone/my own hip scraped on my first fusion (S1-L4) and I can tell you that I now have hip pain from them scraping my hip. The second surgery which was L4-L3 was all cadaver bone and I was glad that they did not scrape my hip again. But I have not had the vertebrae removed as it was in the disc where my problem lay.

I hope that you find relief and god bless you
HEALTH ISSUES: Herniated discs at S-1-L5, L5-L4, L4-L3. Two level fusion (2000); one level fusion (2002); Revision at L4-L3 (2003). Diagnosed with Failed Back Syndrome, Permanent Nerve damage and Chronic Pain


Kadian, Lexipro, Percocet, Temazapim, Lunista, and Robaxin.

tom inpain
Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 239
   Posted 7/19/2008 10:03 PM (GMT -6)   
Dear Patchy: Is Your orthopedic surgeon going to replace the disc's with the new artificial ones ? if not i would look into finding a neurosurgeon who does artificial disc's. best of luck to You
Tom Lasko

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9090
   Posted 7/19/2008 10:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Patchy,

And welcome! You sure do have more than your share of pain. I'm so sorry to hear it. I don't have any experience with back issue is a collapsed disk at L5/S1 and it pinches the nerves going down my legs. From listening to numerous university lectures on back surgeries I think I'd side with Tom on this one. Get another opinion, especially if you can get to a university/teaching hospital. Go for the cutting edge on something this serious. Hopefully you can get some better results and relieve some of the pain.

Good luck and please keep us posted,
Co-Mod Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
Fibromyalgia, Ulcerative Colitis, Insulin dependent diabetic, collapsed disk, dermatitis herpetiformus, osteo arthritis in spine and other locations.

The only difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has it's limits. Albert Einstein: (1879-1955)

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 7/19/2008 11:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you all for your help.
The reason I went to a Orthopedic Surgeon is to go in a different direction. My 5 prior surgeries have been with a Neuro Surgeon.
The vertebrae will be cadavers and the discs will be artificial. This appears to be my best option. I am 47 years young.
To answer another question is yes, this is a teaching Hospital. The Dr. also told me he would like to get my meds switched to Methadone
because this will work better for post-op pain for this type of procedure. I currently use 2- 100 Duragesic patches q 48 and 1-2 Fentora 800 mcg tablets 4-6 hrs
I had been using Actiq 1600 mcg for BT but the sugar in them is not good for your teeth.
I would also like to say, that I am not used to talking about my back problems or the meds that I take. Reading about other peoples problems
and meds help. Please keep the advise coming. Patchy

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13366
   Posted 7/20/2008 8:01 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Patchy and welcome to Healing Well. I hate to hear we have a new member, it just seems so unfair with the medical field being what it is this day and yet we have so many people suffering with CP. I am very glad you found us and I do hope you will stay around and hang out with us. Just the fact of knowing that here the people understand what pain is, what pain does to us, most people do not have a clue. No matter what the cause is, what the problem is, we all have one thing in common, pain.

Wow, you really have been put thru the ringer. I do not know much about artifical disc, basically know is being done and there is a place over in Dallas that specializes in artificial disc, I have heard their advertisement. That my friend is the extent of my knowledge. I wish I could tell you more or offer more.

I went the gambit of drugs, w/o much success, the side effects got me or I had full blown reactions. I had so much in different places my PM dr finally said, look, in order to get your pain under control w/orals meds you would be a zombie and thats not what my practice is about. He recommended the pain pump and I had it implanted in June of 05. It was the best thing I could have ever done. The 1st yr was rocky because my meds could not be increased at the normal because of other health issues. But, once he changed the concentration amt of Dilaudid, it did the trick and I started to feel like a human again. Oh, I have my ups and downs like anyone else, it is not a cure all. You still have pain but its more tolerable.

I only know of one person that had their entire back fused and of course it was done the traditional fusion method. Basically the dr made this guys back a broom stick. He lost all range of motion, everything, his back was like a broomstick. The sad part about fusions is it can put so much pressure on the disc above and below that eventually these blow out and the person is in a no win situation.

Just wanted to say hi and welcome. Please let us know what you find out about this surgery. Good luck. Susie

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