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anybody with 2 level lumbar fusion....

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
L4-S1 fusion 6 months ago. I've moved forward slow and steady and have found in the past 3 weeks that my L foot is numb and tingly much like before surgery. OS didn't seemed to alarmed. Has anyone else experienced this?
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Comments

  • Hi Carol,

    I had 2 level TLIF/laminectomy over 5 months ago on L4-S1 with hardware. I still have back pain and sciatica like I did pre op. I have developed sciatica in the opposite leg, and I have numbnes, tingling, and spasms.
    Hopefully the nerve inflammation will improve over time. The window of recovery depends on the person, but generally it's between 1 year through 1 year and 8 months, so I've been told. The nerve can be swollen and inflamed post op because they are very delicate and stay angry after being messed with.
    If it gets worse, let your doctor know. They may order a CT/myelogram to see if something new has come up.
    I hope you have a successful recovery.
  • Well that explanation makes sense. I will pray that it's only that and nothing more. Thanks for your reply #:S
  • Have you been through PT already and are you on any medication for your nerve/back pain currently?
  • I was told 12 weeks I should be back to normal.
  • 12 week or 12 months?? 12 weeks was just when I was ready to start trying to tackle making dinner and folding laundry and that was it. Maybe your doc has a different approach.
  • I am about a month behind you, I remember your posts from before. Sorry you are having issues. Are you doing more? I found when I started doing more I have had the numbness and tingling in my left leg like before surgery although it takes much longer for it to bother me(used to be after 5-10 minutes now takes about an hour). My doctor had told me prior to having surgery this would be something that would take time and may never go away completely. He explained pretty much as meydey said the nerves are inflamed, mine were like this a long time before surgery (5yrs) so he said there may be permanent damage. I hope yours settles down. How are you doing otherwise? I am supposed to start work this week and I am scared to death. Are you working? I was thinking you were, but can't remember for sure.
  • seekinghelp,
    I'm sorry you're experiencing the tinglying as well. Yep, I am doing more but not tons by anymeans. I am happy to have progressed this far but am always leery of sinking back to that horrible place I came from, ya know?? Wow, you're going back to work. What do you do? I am a triage nurse and I teach Medical Assistants at a local technical school. I don't think I could do either full time yet. I could probably do about 4 hrs. but I am waiting. In my profession (RN), word gets around fast. I have always had an impecable work reputation. I don't want to chance that I'd have to call in sick a lot or not be able to do my job well. Since this is my second surgery in 18 mths., I want to give it a full year and assure it's fused and healed~don't want to try this again. Please pm me and keep me posted on how you progress k??
  • yes this is what I experienced as well. After surgery I had not tingly or numbness but at about 4 1/2 months it kicked in overnight. Now I have it in both lower legs and feet but unlike before surgery it takes a while to kick in.
    I havent really been doing any more in fact I finished PT soon after.
    I have just had a MRI as I also still have pain but I have read the results (Dr hasn't seen it till next week) and it is pretty unconclusive because of the hardware.
    So we grin and bear it but the morst difficult thing is walking is not so easy now.

    Tell me, have you had an X-ray or CT to check how your fusion is?

    Blessings Sara
  • had an xray 3 weeks ago and all was well and fusing pretty well. I sure wish we knew what to expect....what's normal/what to be concerned about. This drives ya nutty. Ya just get one thing under control and then a new one pops up...is this what happens until you're completely fused and back to a regular routine I wonder??
  • Could possibly be because Sparky is having minimally invasive, maybe? I dunno.
  • Is there anybody out there who has recovered and can tell us if/when this disappeared for them? Was this just a transitional thing as activity increases or something that continues? I think we would all love to hear this information.
  • Its not uncommon for that nerve pain/tingling, even numbness to return after surgery -- its your nerves waking up and regenerating. Numbness is the last thing to go away. Some people have the pain/tingling go away within weeks, some months. I think it depends on the kind of damage done to the nerve.

    Have you tried a nerve medication like Lyrica or Neurontin (Gabapentin)?
  • Carol I just noticed that you had your fusions a year apart.
    So how do the two compare, did you fuse completely with the first before you had the second and did you have any problems after the first.

    Also did I read right that you had no symptoms after surgery and then they appeared?

    Realy pleased to hear your fusion is coming along nicley (sounds like a cake) :))(

    Blessings Sara O:)
  • no I've never tried a nerve med. The tingling is never unbearable, just annoying. Just troublesome since I had to have a second fusion 15 mths after my first.
    Sara, to answer your questions,after 8 yrs. of docs telling me no surgery due to no major neurological symptoms (even though my back pain was debilitating and taking away my life), I was blessed with a coworker of hubby's sending us to her OS. He immediately said the MRI showed major annular tearing with leakage of the disc fluid onto the space, causing the pain and as PT had told me earlier, the L4 L5 S1 discs were terribly unstable. In hopes of saving L4 we started with only a one level fusion thinking the rest of the spine might take some of the heat now that the base was stabilized. That worked for 7 months then I started with the numbness/tingling in my toes n leg and after that the instability and horrible back burning....we new it was the L4 disc so we had to wait until L5 was completely fused to make sure it wasn't going to provide enough stability and then we did L4....so you can see why I am a little paniced about the tingling thing....I feel much stronger and do not feel the instability and burning in my back so I'm thanking God for that, hoping this is a nerve that goes away like everyone elses.
  • My doctor said I should be able to go back to work (part time) in 6 weeks, then I would see him every 2 weeks for a check up to see how things are going. He also said I wouldn't start PT until 3 weeks after surgery but then go 4 times a week. He did say the minimally invasive surgery would be a lot better on the recovery. From what I hear, not many doctors are trained to do this kind of surgery and the ones that are are all neurosurgeons.

    Here is the video of the surgery they are preforming.
    http://www.or-live.com/genesishealth/1677/event/webcast.cfm?

  • Wow, can't imagine doing this twice in 18 months. God Bless You. I would take more time if I could but if I don't go back to work now I will lose my job. As it is I was supposed to return today and they would not accept me back with the doctors restrictions, so I am waiting to see what happens. I work in telecommunications so it is an office job, but I am attatched to a headset and sitting 7.5 hrs a day. The nerve medicines may be a good idea for you. I have tried both of them neurontin I was on for about 2 years before I started having any problems(I call it word search)and the Lyrica I only took a few weeks and had the blurry vision and dizziness, but I am very sensitive to drugs.
  • I had a 4 level lumbar fusion in september of 2002. L2-S1. I have 8 harrington rods and 12 screws. It took the better part of the first year before I began to feel better. I still have hip going numb at night during sleep and my left leg and foot are numb most of the time but the back pain is much better most of the time. I have come to the conclusion that you are never the same after a major surgery and have to accept some limitations. That being said, I am glad I had it done as I am 200% better than before. I would prefer numbness to pain any day. My NS says some numbness is normal after fusion surgery and sometimes it never goes away.
  • on 1/12/2007 had 5 level fusion, L1 to S1, yes 5 levels. Now almost 2 years post op but still having problems with muscles in back. I was in surgery for 12 hours. Don't do it unless it is an emergency.
  • funny I would prefer pain to numbness :))( :))( Maybe just a mental thing but I can usually push through pain better but numbness gets to me and limits me more. You have a great attitude!

    Seekinghelp- gosh I too had that job, literally tied to the phone :-C and having to appear all bubbly and helpful.
    Definitely dont go back until you are ready as you dont want to mess up the fusion. Maybe this is a good time to look for another job?

    Captain Seaweed, please tell us your story. Why 5 levels? My surgery was 12.5 hrs as well so I understand the lenght thing as far as recovery goes. Really knock you for a six. You can write a signature if you go into 'my account' the profile.

    Lastly Carol,
    Gosh I can imagine having this done twice so close together but it does happen. I have re-started the Lyrica and it does seem to help with the tingling and nerve pain, Yes I can understand how you are feeling especially after being good but please dont let it get you down.
    Probably it is just your nerves reacting to doing more. I realised lately that I am doing more then I thought I was because I feel 'looser" and am ablle to. I hadn't been aware of that before.
    Stay strong lovely lady!

    Blessings Sara O:)
  • I was remembering some of the god awful stuff, like eating on the floor on my hands and knees because thas the only position i could be in due to immense pressure in my spine...so I agree, there are some improvements but NO you are never the same, but how can you be with screws and rods etc. :?

    Carol, I had a 2 level 12 months apart , similar to yourslef but only because I failed to stabilise and accererlated probs with L4.

    Now i too am having sciata issues same as pre-op.
    My surgeon told me, leg pain was difficult to treat and the fact I awoke from surgery and it was gone was fantastic.
    7 months on I am getting it back! :&
    My left leg issues are all due to complications of the space moving to my spinal canal which was sorted 7 weeks ago. My left leg remains numb and transitory pain / crampy feeling, almost supersensative, and transitory weakness (this is new and comes thro both legs)

    So I too worry like mad but try desparately to hold onto reason!!

    Like the others have said, it seems the nerves are the unknown part of the whe surgery. Check out www.chirogeek.com for a great explaination and review of the papers around nerve damage etc.

    Keep me posted pls. It's good to find ppl in same boat!
  • I start back to work on Monday 4 hrs a day for 4 weeks and then I will be back to full time with no restrictions. I really don't have an option, I have to work and our area is not real good for finding something new. I am really nervous, but hoping it will be ok.
  • for a 2 level fusion?!

    Be careful! That doesn't seem very long - i thought the average was 3-4 months up to a year?

    Please check out your rights on employement law and disability rights. You may have more than you realise.
  • I just wanted to comment on Sparky's time frame. I am having the exact same minimally invasive two level fusion as he is and my neurosurgeon also said that I would be back to work in 6-8 weeks (desk job). I am really hoping that this is true because I don't have disability insurance. I am not afraid of loosing my job, but after 4 weeks I will be out of leave and I am the primary breadwinner.

    Sparky and I are having them performed at different hospitals, but my surgeon was trained in the procedure at the same hospital as where Sparky is having his done.
  • i had my fusion 3 years ago
    i have been expierencing back pain since i was 14 years old i am 27 now i have had 3 surgeries the last one resulting in the fusion of my L4 L5 S1 i was told i would have 2 rods and 6 screws put in my back
    i was only having trouble and pain in my left leg after the surgery i started having numbness and tingling in my right leg i hand an EMG done to check my nerves and was told i have no sensation in my right leg and little to none in my left
    i have been disabled and out of work because of this i dont sleep well and no one seems to want to help me since i havent had insurance until recently but even now no doctor knows what to do no one has really cheked out my back to see if everything is ok
    i found out i only have 5 screws in my back when there should have been 6 3 months after my surgery iwent to my surgeon and asked him he disregarded me told me i said i was doing better and sent me to medical i then went to other hospitals who didnt know how to help me
    and now im having PT which hant help i have had recently 3 steroid shots in my back in a months time that have not helped
    and over the past 3 years altogether about 5 or 6 shots which have not helped
    i dont want to seem like the bearer of bad news as everyone is different and i hope you heal well but i am still feeling the pain its hard to walk and nnow im getting weaker in the legs all the docs have told me is lose weight which is hard when you cant real do much i try to walk at least to keep my blood flowing but it gets harder every day
    i have 2 children 6 and 4 and i would love to run with them i try and it kills me
    i need to find out if something is really wrong i just wish a doctor would take the time out to help me

    if anyone has any suggestions im open
    but carol i would say to you is rest easy and just becareful again i pray you fully recover and dont end up with the pains i have
    L4 L5 S1 fusion sucks
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