Back Surgery for Spondylolysis/Pars Fracture

Discussion in 'DoDMERB' started by VAEC, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. VAEC

    VAEC Member

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    I've read several posts about waivers for Spondylolysis where the candidates did not need surgery. These have been very helpful, but I have not found any examples of candidates with a surgically repaired Pars Fracture. Via one of the posts we did find a Navy document that indicates surgery using any “fusing” procedures of the spine will not gain a waiver. I have not found equivalent documentation from any of the other branches nor any posts about the non-fusion surgery options.

    Does anyone have or know someone with experience at the other branches on obtaining waivers for surgical procedures on the spine? Any suggestions or guidance would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. sheriff3

    sheriff3 Member

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    If you are applying to an SA I would contact the local SA liasion officer and ask for a medical contact and ask the queston of them. If applying for ROTC same advice. They will likely only give you a best guess as only the surgeon general of that branch can make a final determinition. As I recall orthopedic issues for AROTC is one of the most DQ'd conditions. Best of luck.:thumb:
     
  3. VAEC

    VAEC Member

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    Thanks Sheriff3. A medical contact that has experience with the waiver process is exactly what we're looking for (so we can avoid dumb mistakes). We contacted regional Service Academy admissions officer for direction and/or suggestions. Recieved neither. How do we find our "local" liasion officer? I must not be looking in the right places or the right way.
     
  4. VAEC

    VAEC Member

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    Sorry for the typo...liaison
     
  5. Pima

    Pima 5-Year Member

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    The way the process works is he will be sent to a DoDMERB doc for his initial exam. He will automatically be DQd under:
    D227.81 Spondylolisthesis, history of
    D227.80 Spondylolysis, history of

    The waiver process is initiated by the commissioning source. I.E. the SA or ROTC. They are the final authority. Waivers are a case by case issue, thus it is highly unlikely either the liaison or the doc will be able to tell you anything except for what we will say here.

    Just go through the process.

    The thing to remember and understand is from their perspective how will this waiver impact them with doing the mission. Will it impact them regarding if they can't do certain jobs, if they can't deploy, if they can't PCS to a base/post because of medical care needed, will the medical condition worsen over the next 20 yrs?

    If they waive him, and he retires from the military after 20 yrs., they will be on the hook for his medical coverage for the rest of his life.
     
  6. VAEC

    VAEC Member

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    Thanks Pima, this forum has been great for providing that information and we understand and support that. Honestly, I wish his decision was that simple. If so, he'd already know how to proceed. Fortunately, for our son there are several procedures that will work equally well, but the waivering authority is likely to have a different view of each. We're just trying to understand the criteria or obtain some better info before our son has to make his decision.
     
  7. VAEC

    VAEC Member

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    Sheriff3, I found his local Liaison Officer. Thanks for the suggestion.
     
  8. VAEC

    VAEC Member

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    Update: Through an exceptional USMA graduate, we found the answers we needed for our son. The short answer is this. Any surgical procedure that involves fusion is very hard to waiver. Other procedures such as Direct Pars Repairs may be better, but these too can have issues depending on the types of retained hardware and whether BMP is used. The key is whether the candidate is fully healed and if long-term prognosis is highly positive. Having a post-operative CT or Bone Scan showing fully healed fracture(s) will be essential to obtaining a waiver as is the ever-present quality of the candidate.

    For anyone considering whether to have surgery or not, you have our best wishes. It is a tough decision given the amount of time needed to attain and demonstrate symptom free status. If your son or daughter is faced with this situation, make sure you are fully informed on his or her actual pathology before deciding what to do and definitely before requesting a waiver. If I understand the waiver process correctly, once a waiver is denied, there's no second bite at the apple.

    If anyone ever has questions, feel free to send me a pm.
     
  9. bdw

    bdw Member

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    It is possible my kid just acquired a pars stress fracture. Nothing on the X-rays but indications from the MRI of a unilateral. Docs feel he will be just find in two to three months. With a report day of late June, is there enough time for DODMERB to consider him for a waiver (four months)?
     
  10. bdw

    bdw Member

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    VAEC - how many posts do you need before you can PM?
     
  11. Jcc123

    Jcc123 5-Year Member

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    VAEC hasn't posted here since 2013. I believe it's 5 posts to PM, but you'd be better off pm'ing an active member. Good luck.
     
  12. bdw

    bdw Member

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    thanks
     
  13. VAEC

    VAEC Member

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    BDW, I do still follow. Feel free to pm. Can definitely share what we learned.
     
  14. charlieschwarzbear

    charlieschwarzbear New Member

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    Greetings everyone,

    I'm seeking for advice regarding this specific topic. I currently have a history of retained hardware and spondylolisthesis in L5-S1. My surgery was in 2010, and I have been cleared fit for duty by my doctors, demonstrating a full recovery. I have been asymptomatic ever since, and have full range of motion. I am currently attempting to enlist in the air force, but have been denied waivers before by the navy and the coast guard. MEPs recommended me for duty, and I'm trying to get my best shot to get my waiver approved. Any suggestions as to what to write, what to do, would be of invaluable help to me. Thank you for your time!
     
  15. VAEC

    VAEC Member

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    Did you have a fusion or repair surgery? Also, please describe the retained hardware (function). If you'd rather pm, that's fine too.
     
  16. charlieschwarzbear

    charlieschwarzbear New Member

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    I had a fusion of spine in L5-S1. I was operated on due to spondylolisthesis grade III. I currently have transpedicular kripton type system with 4 transpedicular screws from L5 to S1, 2 longitudinal bars with a transverse connector with placement of bone allograft. There were no complications in the trans op nor immediate post op stage, and I was discharged after 3 days in good conditions. I have an absolute recovery, with no degeneration.

    That was in 2010, and ever since I have been very physically active, constantly practicing contact sports, hiking with a ruck and weightlifting. I am asymptomatic and feel no pain under any circumstance, physical or meteorological.
     
  17. VAEC

    VAEC Member

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    Though I am definitely not the final word, the advice we received from two very informed sources within the waiver process was to avoid any fusion-type surgery because it is very hard to waiver. That information guided us to a repair surgery for our son back in December of 2013. Things may have changed or your unique situation could be an exception. I would encourage you to pursue the waiver if you can find information that gives you even the slightest hope that you can obtain a waiver. The desire to serve is hard to put away unless you know for certain.

    To help in that endeavor, here is an idea that might help. Once we realized our son's dream was at risk, we engaged DODMERB Consultants. Dr. Merchant was invaluable both before the surgery with advice and afterwards as we prepared the information for the waiver request. Some folks on this forum will advise you to save your money and for many situations that is probably true. But in complex cases like yours where accurate and concise communications are critical, you will find his expertise priceless. The best part about his approach is that he'll talk to you first and only take your case if he truly believes he can help you gain a waiver. It's not a guarantee, but if Dr. Merchant believes he can't help you he will tell you.

    I wish you the best and if you'd like to talk by phone feel free to send me a private message with your number.
     

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