- Back Story
- Prior Lumbar Fusion
- iFuse Implant Procedure Date
- December, 2016 Right side / August, 2017 Left side
"I am literally living again!"
In 2003, I had an L5-S1 lumbar fusion to treat a disc herniation that was causing me sharp low back pain, groin pain, and pain that went down the back of both my legs. Unfortunately, I developed a deep wound infection at the surgical site and was on antibiotics for several months. My infection finally resolved, but I was still experiencing the same low back, groin and leg pain I had prior to my surgery. I also started to experience severe rectal spasms.
I followed up with my primary care physician who referred me to a pain management physician for evaluation and treatment. I received epidural steroid injections, physical therapy, narcotic pain medications, and Botox injections to try and help my ongoing pain and spasms. I had x-rays, a CT scan and an MRI. It was determined that I had developed scar tissue and possible nerve damage from my prior lumbar fusion surgery.
In 2005, none of the conservative treatments were helping, so I had a spinal cord stimulator implanted. This did help my low back pain, but my leg and groin pain continued. In 2009, a second stimulator was placed over my sacrum, which made my pain symptoms tolerable. I was able to resume working out three times a week at our local YMCA and could now take care of my family.
In 2012, I started to notice a gradual increase in my low back, leg and groin pain, as well as pain in the buttock area. This pain felt different; I knew something else was going on. My pain became unmanageable. I was unable to perform simple daily activities like cooking and cleaning. Sitting was difficult and I was unable to travel to see my children and grandchildren. I began to feel depressed and worthless. Some days the pain was so bad I couldn’t even think straight.
I received a referral to consult with a surgeon in Houston who ordered a CT scan. The scan showed the hardware from my previous lumbar fusion had become loose and that there were now arthritic changes of my SI joints. A revision surgery was recommended. In July of 2012, I had revision lumbar fusion and hardware removal. This surgery did relieve some of symptoms, but I still struggled with buttock, groin and leg pain.
Two specialist evaluations and numerous diagnostic tests later, it was determined that my SI joints could be causing my ongoing pain. I was referred, by my general practitioner, to a surgeon who was trained on the iFuse Procedure.
In December of 2016, I had a right SI joint fusion utilizing the iFuse Implant System. When I woke up from surgery, my buttock, groin and leg pain were finally gone on my right side. I had so much joy in my heart! I was non-weight bearing for six weeks using a walker and then graduated to a cane. I attended physical therapy which was beneficial. My recovery was slow but steady. I continued to have pain on the left side. In August of 2017, I had a left SI joint fusion performed by a different surgeon as my previous surgeon had retired. My recovery this time was different as I was allowed to walk without many restrictions after surgery. I did my post-operative physical therapy at home. Today, I am back to water aerobics and attending bible study. I am able to sit for car rides and can travel to visit my children and grandchildren. This year I will take a vacation with my husband, something we have not been able to do together for 10 years.