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Scar tissue

meydey321mmeydey321 Posts: 2,435
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Chronic Pain
I've been having a rough time lately ever since my back pain grew worse and I've had severe muscle spasms in my upper thighs and calves. I can't go through the night without waking up to take Norco and my muscle relaxer. Thankfully my doctor ordered an MRI and I found out that I have epidural fibrosis pressing on my nerve. The pain has been so bad and at times I can barely walk, and I spend my days laying in bed. I'm having an ESI done and another procedure to break up the scar tissue with enzymes. Does anyone know what this is called? Has anyone had this problem before? Thank you for help


  • Hi Meydey,

    I have heard of this procedure with the enzymes but I don't know what it is called. I am very curious to see how this works for you. I have been suffering with lower back pain and sciatica for a little over three years now and I am always looking for something that might help. The ESI's were never much help for me. It seems that whenever the doctor messes around with my lower back that there is a resulting flare up that is way worse than when I went in. Oral steroids actually seem more beneficial for me.

    I am sorry to hear that you are having such a hard time, but you know that you are not alone. I can totally relate to not sleeping through the night! I sincerely hope that you find some relief soon!
    Take care, Anne
  • We've been in pain together for the same amount of years. I've had a hard time with epidural injections too, but it's been a long time since the last, so I guess I'll give it one more shot :D Couldn't resist the pun. What problems have you had with your back?
  • Hello all I am new to this site I have been living with sever back pain for the last 3 years and am headed for a fusion on April 28th of l4/l5/s1 however this question is for my friend she does not get on the computer very often so I do a lot of research for her. She has had 3 failed surgeries. Her first was a fusion and one of her screws broke, so they went in and replaced and added a plate in the front and back to stabilize. To tell you the truth I am not 100% on what all was done in the 3rd surgery. They have also tried and failed to put in one of the spinal cord stimulator implants. They told her that she had to much scar tissue for it to work. She is in extreme pain. She does not do well though when taking morphine or any of the oxy's (the Dr's have tried them all) She does not want a morphine pump and she is taking to many norco's to be safe. The amount of pain she is in effects her daily life she has 4 children. She is only 34 and doesnt know where to go from here we have tried to find someone to help or an alternative to help with the pain. Please does anyone have a suggestion out there for her? I am not sure of what this enzymes treatment is would it apply in this situation? The scar tissue is building up and affecting her left leg we are not sure how much time she will have before she is in a wheel chair.....
  • I'm sorry to hear about your friend. It sounds like she has something serious going on and it sounds like it is arachnoiditis. I heard it very difficult to treat and they won't perform surgery because the surgery itself will cause more trauma and scar tissue tends to grow back. I hope your upcoming fusion goes well and that your friend gets the proper care she needs.
  • I had a discectomy on L5S1 in Dec.08, feel great for 2 months, then the pain returned ,worst than before, tried epi's, no luck, repeated in May 08, had physical therapy, much better but not 100%, returned to work in Sept 08, then Jan 09 pain returned and each week getting worst,Off work again, Do not do well on any type codiene. I am on Ultram, tylenol, 800 ibuoprofen, and this week Nuerosurgeon put me on a Medrol Pack. MRI on Tues., but pretty sure that disc is on S1 nerve again. I too have scar tissue, what is this enzyme treatment called. I am scared this is my life from now on.
  • meydey321 said:
    I've been having a rough time lately ever since my back pain grew worse and I've had severe muscle spasms in my upper thighs and calves. I can't go through the night without waking up to take Norco and my muscle relaxer. Thankfully my doctor ordered an MRI and I found out that I have epidural fibrosis pressing on my nerve. The pain has been so bad and at times I can barely walk, and I spend my days laying in bed. I'm having an ESI done and another procedure to break up the scar tissue with enzymes. Does anyone know what this is called? Has anyone had this problem before? Thank you for help
    What you're referring to is Fibrinolytic Enzyme Scar Tissue Removal, where they use an enzyme like Neprinol or Trevinol to break up the fibrosis tissue. However, any scar tissue removal is always temporary - it will grow back eventually. Still, if it helps, it can't do any worse.

    I've got a lot of scar tissue buildup after 3 multi-level fusions, and even though they removed a lot of it after my last surgery, I can already tell that a lot of it has grown back.

  • Hey Meydey,

    Thanks for the reply! My back issues started when I had an hysterectomy because of severe endometriosis. I basically traded one pain for another because while I was in surgery is when my disc herniated. I had surgery to repair the herniation about a year later. That helped alleviate some of the numbness in my foot but did little to get rid of the pain in my back and down my leg. I've tried every option the doctors have offered with little success.

    Someone I know mentioned this enzyme thing so I am excited to see how this goes for you. I can only believe that something down the line is going to help those of us with scar tissue. So please keep me posted!

    Hey Chelle, sorry to here about your friend. I wish there was something I could add that might help, but I do wish her the best in her quest to get better. And pdowning, I have felt exactly like you. I too worry that this is my life sometimes. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't have pain. It limits me in what I can do, but I try not to let it define me. I hope that you find something that helps you as well.
    Take care, Anne
  • hey meydey,
    Its nice to know that someone out there is trying to find away to get rid of scar tissue, i have been dealing with scar tissue for many years some days are good and others arent. i hope that procedure works im so tired of laying on tennis balls(lol thats what i call a poor mans massage)so if you end up getting that and it works let me know i would really appreciate it
  • Sorry I took a while to get back to this thread. Raven, I was looking around online to figure out the name of this procedure and I'd like to thank you for finding it out. I kept reading about lysis of adhesion and chemonucleolysis was totally off.

    Anyway, I'll be having my ESI next week and I'm kind of nervous because it's been a long time. At least I'll be sedated which is good. I've had them done unsedated and it sucked but I made it through.

    I am confused because in a lot of cases, patients have done well for a while and then got socked by scar tissue growth and pain. The thing is that my pain never improved since my micro-d in 2007 and fusion in 2008. There was no period of improvement whatsoever. I know that scar tissue takes months to develop and I wonder if it has been brewing all this time and finally snagged the nerve. Is this how it manifests itself? I have a lot to learn. How has scar tissue affected your quality of life?
  • I did some more digging at blueregence.com and found the name of this procedure to be called epidural adhesiolysis (lysis of adhesions) with myeloscopy. It is an interventional technique that uses 3-D to visualize the epidural space so that the scar tissue can be removed and drugs are administered to the specific target. The drugs consist of hypertonic saline, and it is used in conjunction with steroids and analgesics. Hypertonic saline mechanically disrupts the adhesions and may reduce swelling within previously scarred and/or inflamed nerves.
  • Hello,

    I came across a patient case study. a patient was scared up real bad from a prior surgery. According to the Doctors involved, there was no hope for the patient. They tried something they thought made sense. Over a three year period, they used a combination of a product that increased vascualrization or something (PMT?) and vitE. I'll have to check the first chemical. The patient was ambulatory in 6 months and a three years, the patients scar tissue had subsided 50% --- symptom free. I work within the medical industry and am skeptical of a study size of n=1, but the case study was published and I wonder if the medical community is missing something.

    Backman 38
  • Is PMT a dietary supplement? I found a lot of sites with these that have enzymes to combat scar tissue but I don't think they are FDA approved.
  • Wow!!! I was almost in tears reading your friends story. All my love to her!! I am 32 w/ 5 children. My story under lower back pain is in the back surgery forum topic. I can relate to some things she is going through. Per say mainly the frustration she must be feeling!!! My surgery was an emergency although the more stories I am reading the more I am wondering if I should have gotten the surgery at all!???? I would demand a 2nd opinion and stand up to these Dr.s! Enough is enough with these Dr.s being so simplicit with their tests and surgeries!!!! What if it was them or their daughter???? Please let me know how she does.
  • I looked up the article. It is resolution of symptomatic epidural fibrosis following treatment with combined pentoxifylline-tocopherol (or PTX-vit E).

    Hopr this help with your curiosity,

  • I came across that study too and it was interesting too. I think it's still experimental and am curious as to when it will be widely used.
  • I hope this procedure works for you as well. It's been awhile since we've PM'd but it sounds like I've got epidural fibrosis too. All of this time and turns out we have the same thing, crazy huh???

    I'd love to know like everyone else how your test goes. Would you consider starting a thread after you have it done and how you're doing along the way?

    chelle I feel for your friend I hope those kids are older, my leg wouldn't let me get through if my kids weren't older. Unfortunately I've read central epidural fibrosis and arachnoiditis mimic each other in alot of ways so I feel like I know how horrible it must be for her. It's a very frustrating life. I'll keep her also in my prayers.

    good luck meydey!!!!!!

  • Sorry it's been awhile since we PM'd each other. I know stuff always comes up that we have to deal with. I didn't know you were diagnosed with EF, how long has it been? I found out about mine recently after having undergone an MRI for escalating back and nerve pain. What symptoms did you have prior to finding out. I'm kind of confused about mine because I have always had steady pain ever since my fusion last summer and have experienced many pain flares. I heard some people will be feeling better and then all of a sudden the pain comes back, and this was not my case. Nothing makes much sense anymore. I'll do my best to report on that enzyme procedure when I have it, but meanwhile I'll be having an ESI next week. Please let me know how you're doing :H
  • That was very interesting. I do recall hearing about Singulair being used to shrink scar tissue some time ago. I have also read that doctors first try using the chemical means to do away with fibrosis, and may go back in a second time using a catheter to break it up. I'm glad the old fashion way gave you great results and I hope it doesn't come back. I do have the problem of the nerve being permanently damaged already so I don't know if it will make much of a difference, but we shall see.
  • Hi,

    Since we're on the subject, I was pain free after the surgery by week 7. Before that walking brought on pain in my legs, so I iced the back up. During week 7, I misstepped and planted my left leg flat, jarring my spine. It began to pinch and over the next few weeks, I had spasms and sciatica. I got a an mri at 8 weeks. The radiologist reported a small amount of scar tissue anterior and to the right of the spinal cord. Could my tramma have caused this scar tissue to form?

  • Sorry about your accident- I don't know if it caused the growth of scar tissue. I figure that it forms after surgery very gradually until it gets big enough to cause problems. Are you currently having problems with it?
  • Hi meyday321,

    I'm not sure. I stand and my left sciatic starts to burn a little. My NS seems to have written me off to a physiatrist and says the scar tissue is nothing. I'm consulting with a few friends in the healthfield with a mri trained eye. I am a little po'd, but let's face it, I'm better than I was, but know too much now. Who knows what next to expect.
    Hope your feeling better.


  • sounds like we have both been busy on our quest to get some relief...I have had a pretty good idea about the EF since last fall and had a MRI right before Christmas last year then had a SCS placed which was too high and long story short the revision got infected now I am waiting to have it put back in.

    I am also second guessing myself wondering if I should try to have the hardware removed. Have you had yours out? I don't remember. I tried a caudal ESI which in itself was horrible but it didn't help I hope you have better luck. & yeah I never had "flares" in between feeling relief, it never went away like you. So I guess these people are lucky???

    talk to you soon

  • Hi Pettynme, sorry you had that complication and hopefully the infection cleared up by now. My hardware is still in and no one has mentioned anything about taking it out. I am in discussions about implanting a morphine pump later on and hope it will help control the pain better.

    Backman, I understand how frustrated you are but hopefully the psysiatrist will help you with your sciatica. The NS was probably trying to say that nothing more surgical can be done at the moment. I have heard this before, and this simply means they want to wait and see how things go. Hang in there
  • Scar tissue is what is causing me so much pain. Anytime a surgeon puts a knofe in you....you end up with scar tissue. They only come back with a vengence if you have them removed. Removing scars creates more scaring.I was told no surgeon would touch my scar tissue and i know better than to let them.
    I have to live with my pain :''( it is the only choice I have.
    Just remember anything that is done is going to cause more scaring.
    The thought of removing the sorce of your pain is an awsome feeling but I for one do not reccomend it. I am no Doctor....just stating what I have learned.
    Good luck to you.
    Hugssssssssss >:D<
    Patsy W
  • and ended up feeling better? I have a hard time believing scar tissue is my sole problem since I now feel about the same as before surgery (a bit of an improvement) except for tingling/numbness bottom of foot before toes (Left foot), which started after April 1st "flare-up"(6 weeks post-op).

    Wow, what a run-on sentence,...LOL!
  • Are told to avoid future attempts at cleaning this up. More surgery generally leads to more scar tissue. The fear is that while the existing scar tissue is causing problems. Once they go in to attempt a cleanup it may indeed cause even more scar tissue resulting in unknown consequences.

    There are many people here who have this condition. I'm sure they will offer their advice. You may indeed have scar tissue porblems that will mimic or cause the exact same problems as before the surgery. The scar tissue will grow into the areas that surgery occured in, That causes near to of identical sensations.

    Sorry I can't be much more help than this.
  • Thare is a common foot problem called Morton's Neuroma that occours in feet. Numbness or a stinging sensation occurs in the ball of the foot....usually between the base of the third and fourth toe. It can cause the lightning bolt shot as you discribed and become very painfull. Could this be your foot problem?? I had this problem several years ago. A shot of cortazone can clear it up. The ball of your foot just behind your toes burns and stings.
    This is just a thought.
    Best of luck to you.
    Hugssssssssss >:D<
    Patsy W
  • how are you feeling? Any treatment seem to be working on your fibrosis?

    I think my scarring was a result of post operative bleeding of some sort because I had 2 levels worked on and the other level shows hardly any signs of epidural fibrosis at all. Anytime there is excessive bleeding or pooling blood, scar formation is very likely from what I have read. That leads me to my point,....the use of a laser to "melt' dead fibrosis has shown a lot of promise, especially if done endoscopically. Anything that minimizes tissue damage should correlate with less scar formation. When I speak with my surgeon again, I will voice my sentiment regarding this method.

    Anyone else have an opinion?
  • I haven't heard of using lasers for that but it sounds really interesting. Right now I'm waiting to have a permanent implantation of a morphine pump and hopefully it will deal with the pain from the scar tissue and other problems that are going on. I can hardly wait because all I can do is lay in bed due to the pain being so bad. I can't cook, showering is a chore, or drive unless absolutely necessary. This is no way to live. I have a teen and a tween, a dog, 2 birds, lizard, fish and husband to keep up with.
  • Checkout this link about Vit E and Trental for EF treatment. I think I'm gonna try it with my doc and see if he'll give me the RX. It's worth a try for me.


    It's a good read. I hope you feel better soon! Hang in there....
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