Can the body reject a bone graft from a spinal fusion


Q: Can the body reject the bone graft in a spinal fusion? I had an artificial disk and fusion L4 L5 (x lift) 4yrs ago. I also have Lupus. The fusion on one side did not fill in and resulted in a collapse. July 2010 I had pins and screws put in to correct the problem and had everything re-fused. My last x-rays in Feb 2011 showed no new bone growth at fusion site. I am once again in a lot of pain and experiencing other unexplained symptoms.


A:   Rejection of an artificial bone graft can occur and is a recognized complication of your procedure. Your surgeon attempted to correct this problem by performing a second operation with the pins and screws to relieve your pain and stabilize your spine. It seems that this procedure was not as successful as one would have hoped. Given your history of Lupus, I think the best therapy at this point to relieve your pain is pain-killers and intensive physical therapy. I am doubtful a third surgical procedure will make a difference.
Please note my opinion is based solely on the information you have provided and you are better served by getting a second opinion from a experienced spine surgeon who, after a complete evaluation, may suggest alternative treatments.

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