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Failed Spinal Surgeries
Top Spine Surgeons in Michigan | Dr. Todd Francis - long-recovery

Have You Experienced a Failed Spinal Surgery or a Complicated Recovery Process?


As a Neurosurgeon in Pontiac, MI and a fellowship trained spine specialist, Dr. Francis is one of the few surgeons with experience and specialized training correcting complicated failed spinal surgeries. No matter what kind of failed spinal surgery you’ve faced, Dr. Francis will help you find surgical and nonsurgical ways to help relieve your pain. Below are a couple different kinds of cases he often works on, but he sees patients living with a wide range of conditions. Contact St. Joseph Mercy Oakland to set up a consultation with him to discuss your options. 

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Top Spine Surgeons in Michigan | Dr. Todd Francis - spine-bolt

Lumbar or Cervical Pseudoarthrosis


This occurs when a previous spinal fusion surgery has failed to fully heal. During and after the procedure, the patient's own bone will ideally grow through the implants that we place in the disc spaces or around the spine. If this fails to happen, this is what is called pseudoarthrosis. When this occurs, the instrumentation and screws may loosen or break, which is very painful to the patient. The spine becomes unstable because there is no bony union at the pseudoarthrosis and the hardware that is stabilizing the segment is loose or broken. A second surgery is required to revise the pseudoarthrosis and attempt to replace the hardware and obtain a fusion. Removing loose or broken hardware often immediately relieves pain.

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Top Spine Surgeons in Michigan | Dr. Todd Francis - flat-back-pain

Iatrogenic Flat Back


This spinal complication includes a failed previous lumbar fusion surgery with straight rods, especially at L3-S1 where lumbar lordosis is most crucial. This loss of lordosis, or outward curvature of the lumbar spine towards the belly, results in global sagittal imbalance: the patient's head and torso tend to ride forward over the feet instead of over the pelvis. As a result, patients need to retrovert, or tilt their pelvis and bend their knees to walk properly, which becomes very painful over time.

It is possible for patients to be fused in this posture, or have a pseudoarthrosis with the hardware fixing them in that posture. Often, the patient has had several spinal fusions at successively higher and higher levels in an attempt to treat the intractable back pain, or they have had spinal stimulators implanted that don't end up helping. The solution is to restore lumbar lordosis through revision surgery, which either lengthens the front of the spine or shortens the back. These surgeries are very complex, but have the potential to permanently reverse the negative cycle of back pain and restore a patient's quality of life.

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