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SI Buddy Dave

Dave's Story

Location
California
Back Story
Prior Lumbar Fusion
iFuse Implant Procedure Date
August, 2017 Left side
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"Now I can do all the things I want to do!"

Background

In 2006, I was involved in a motor vehicle accident. While stopped at a red light, I was rear-ended by a car going 40 MPH. I noticed immediate pain in my lower back and neck. I eventually had a cervical fusion which helped my neck pain. I consulted a chiropractor for my low back pain. He performed manual therapies and suggested I use over-the-counter pain medications to ease my discomfort. After 6 months of treatment, I was still experiencing achiness in my lower back and had developed buttock pain and pain with numbness in my left leg. My chiropractor referred me to a pain management physician for evaluation and treatment. The pain management physician sent me for an MRI and prescribed narcotic pain medication. The results from the MRI showed lumbar disc herniations and I was sent for a lumbar radiofrequency ablation (RFA). The RFA provided temporary relief from my low back pain that lasted almost 1 year.

In 2008, my low back pain came back with a vengeance. Walking became more difficult. I would have to sit down at the grocery store. I gave up target shooting and going to baseball games because I could no longer stand or sit for long periods of time. I decided to consult the neurosurgeon who had performed my cervical fusion following my motor vehicle accident. After a physical examination, and review of my MRI, he suggested I would benefit from a L5-S1 lumbar fusion. I agreed to the procedure. My pain was slightly better following the fusion, but I still struggled with leg pain and my buttock pain eventually returned as well.

In 2014, I returned to my general practitioner (GP) for help with my worsening pain symptoms. He suggested my pain might be coming from my sacroiliac (SI) joint and sent me back to pain management for SI joint injections. These where initially helpful, but over time they became less effective. My GP referred me to another surgeon for evaluation. The surgeon was unsure if my pain was coming from my SI joint or another level of my lumbar spine. We decided to move forward with the SI joint fusion. He submitted for pre-approval and my insurance company denied the procedure stating it was “experimental.” This was very upsetting. However, they approved the lumbar fusion, so I had a second lumbar fusion at L4-5, one level above my first fusion. I had temporary relief from my symptoms for 6 months then the pain returned.

"I can work in my garden and help my neighbors with odd jobs. Finally, in February 2018, I could be in the garden to prune my own cherry trees!"

Update

When I turned 65 my insurance changed to Medicare. I consulted with a surgeon who was trained on the iFuse Procedure™. He did a thorough examination, reviewed my previous history, and performed a series of provocative tests. Once he performed the 3rd maneuver, I was close to tears because I was in so much pain. He decided to repeat my MRI, which came back insignificant. In 2017, I had a left SI joint fusion utilizing the iFuse Implant System®. The first few days following the procedure were a challenge. I experienced a fair amount of surgical pain and was unable to sleep on my side. It was difficult to use a walker and crutches, but I followed my surgeon’s recommendations and was walking unassisted by 6 weeks. I am back to target shooting and watching baseball games. I can work in my garden and help my neighbors with odd jobs. Finally, in February 2018, I could be in the garden to prune my own cherry trees!

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