A 39-year-old female asked:
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i've had two spinal fusion surgeries and failed to fuse both times. my doctors are now recommending a 3rd try at it.what are the chances it will work?

2 doctor answers
Dr. Chintan Sampat
17 years experience Orthopedic Spine Surgery
See below...: Another surgery may or may not work to achieve spinal fusion. You and your doctor need to figure out if there are any risk factors for the fusion to fail (i.e. Smoking, certain medications). Also, the repeat surgery may require hardware and another approach such as surgery from the front and back of the spine. Some patients may benefit from bone morphogenetic protein to improve fusion rates.
Answered on Dec 24, 2014
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Dr. Jonathan Hyde
28 years experience Orthopedic Spine Surgery
With two failed fusions, an additional fusion surgery would have a high possibility of an additional failure. It may be worthwhile to obtain a second opinion, if you haven't done already. I agree that risk factors need to be addressed, but also the use of autograft bone and bone morphogenic protein can benefit. Also, consider a bone growth electric stimulator.
Jan 16, 2012
Dr. Seth Zeidman
32 years experience Neurosurgery
Depends: The most critical question is why you failed to fuse the two previous times. Smoking is most one of the most common reasons - the nicotine prevents the bone from fusing. Diabetes is also bad. Poor nutrition and lack of calcium or vitamin d will decrease the probability of a successful fusion. You need to work with your doctor to do everything to increase the probability of success.
Answered on Jul 5, 2012

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