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Spinal Fluid Leak 4 weeks after L4L5 discectomy

crashhccrashh Posts: 40
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
X( So I have been calling and calling my doctor about the swelling at my incision he saw me 2weeks after surgery said it was normal. then today he finally said I have a Spinal Fluid leak. He says the leak is from me straining to go to the bathroom on week 1 post-op. I do not believe that, how does a spinal leak occur. I have had a headache for 3 weeks now. Neck pain. Nausea. NO FEVER though. Not to mention the leg pain is getting worse and my back is in alot of pain. He gave me lyrica to take. Also he said I need to push on the incision to move the spinal fluid away from that area. Then wrap it very tight and wear a corset. Then I am to go back in 2 weeks.WTF!!! is this doctor doing. I need some advice peeps. Does this sound very bad do I need a second opinion or should I follow the docs orders and give it till friday to see what happens.

thanks in advance
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13

Comments

  • Did they check for a spinal fluid leak???????? Did they do any testing for it?????
    Or did the surgeon just say that over the phone or in the office????
    I kinda lost ya in the post. Not sure if you had another appt today etc.


    So sorry your going through all of that!!
    I would say if your in pain, and your not satisfied w/ your Drs answer I would go to the E.R. At least there they will run tests etc.

    Let us know how you make out. ;)
  • Hello Crashh,

    Welcome to Spine Health. I am sorry I can't give you any advise, because I have not experienced the same problem. I have never heard that starining could cause spinal fluid leak, but then I am not a doctor. But I would think the doctor could tell you what to do to get rid of your headache. Did he tell you not to lay flat in the bed, as that may make the headache worse? Did he give you something to ease your headache? If he did not tell you what to do, call the office again, and tell them you would really need some help.

    I wish you could find relief soon.

    Kin
  • Your doc is giving you exactly the same advice that my doc did when I had a CSF leak.

    The way it was explained to me, that the reason your pain is getting worse, is because now you have something pressing on the areas that were just operated on. The corset is to keep the CSF from creating a pocket.

    It took several months for me to get help with this since my doc was deployed shortly after I had surgery. The other NS here didn't believe I had a problem until there was a large enough pocket to see visibly and on an MRI. Not too mention an email from my doc to TAKE CARE OF IT ! ! ! At that point it was drained. (almost 3 months post op)

    However since the source of the leak was not repaired, over the next couple of weeks it built up again. By the time my doc got back, I had a pocket that even when drained and surgically tacked down, it continued to fill.

    Eventually my body contained the leak within the muscles, however the pocket remained and my body continued to fill it with lymphatic fluid. No matter how the surgeons tried to close this pocket, (surgically, drains, pressure wraps) my body would fill it again with lymphatic fluid. Finally they opened the pocket and burned it with silver nitrate and then it was stuffed with guaze twice a day and the guaze was ripped out each time. The wound was left open so it would "fill" itself in. Took 9 weeks.

    The absorption pads had to be changed so frequently that they put this contraption on that allowed the covering to be unlaced and opened and you just pull out the old stuff and put in the new. Wasn't much fun. image

    The reason I'm telling you about all of this, is so that you take your doc seriously and use the compression strap!!! You have caught it early enough you should be able to avoid all of the junk I had to go through. Follow his directions and keep a pain log.

    If you have more questions you can PM me

    Hang in there!

    "C"
  • My CSF leak was not caused by the surgery, however the surgery gave the leak the "release" it needed to "have fun". The leak was caused by a lumbar puncture done 2 years prior, that was done incorrectly and never scarred over completely.

    "C"
  • Sounds like you have recieved some really good advice and explinations here. So give yourself a break and calm down.
    Just do as the Dr asked and if it doesn't improve in a week go to the ER.
    I have just started Lyrica and it did take a few days to kick in so dont get ratty if it takes a bit of time.

    I hope things improve for you soon.

    Blessings Sara
  • Thank you sooo much for all your comments and advice on this matter. I have a somewhat a homemade wrap going here, to put pressure on the incision as per my doctor. I figure I will give it to friday and see what happens.
  • Go to a sporting goods store and they have neoprene wraps with velcro so you can adjust it to you and your comfort level. I just sent you a picture of what I'm talking about.

    Hang in there.

    "C"
  • It is Dec. so I hope you are still reading comments. I had surgery on L5 and L6. My L4 is slightly bulging. Anyway, I too had the swelling, but no pain. I kept calling my doctor and even saw him once. After a month, I went to the emergency room. A large vial of pure spinal fluid was drawn from my incision site. They immediately confined me the bed (bedpan in hand). I was not allowed to get up at all until a surgery to repair my spinal cord was done. I had no symptoms other than swelling. I was told that I should have debilating spinal menigitis symptoms.I had the surgery, which involved a blood patch being put over two or three holes that were in my spinal cord. I'm not sure exactly how many tears I had, as the doctor who performed the original also performed the repair. Apparently, he left two rather large disk fragments floating in my back the first time he did surgery.
    I'm sure your problem has been resolved by now. I was hoping that if you had any surgery to repair the leak that you could tell me how you feel now. I HAD THIS DONE 3 years ago and I constantly experience soreness around the incision site (like a gaint bruise)and I absolutely can not send anyone to touch that area with out feeling like I'm going to be sick. Are you experiencing anything similar? I'd just like to know.
    Thanks and I hope all is well for you now,
    Siouxzy
  • I had a spinal fluid leak that was chased around over the course of 6 surgeries. It was finally repaired and I have no problem with the incision area or open wound area being touched. It feels like pressure on any other area of my back ... in other words, it feels normal.

    "C"
  • Well. Yes I still have a fluid leak but my new doc thinks it may be blood. I go for tests week of dec 8,2008. I need a fusion but my new surgeon wont operate until we figure out what the swelling is and aspirate the fluid or blood and test it. This is very frustrating. The people here at spine health help me keep my head on straight. Yes I am still in great pain in my lower back. I had my only surgery aug 11, 2008. It sucks you have been going for 3 years i am coming on 1 year now in jan 09 Good luck to you and stick around.
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