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questions... 1 month after 2nd fusion. 1st was non fusion after 3 yrs.

DanianneDDanianne Posts: 31
I was involved in a car wreck june 3 2006 causing and slipped and fractured vertebrae with low back, pelvic and right leg pain. I had a posterior fusion, laminectomy and removal of bone fragments on l5 s1, along with a laminotomy on l4 and s1. I continued to have some right leg pain and numbness of the outside of my right foot. Doc said the numbness might not ever go away and the right leg pain would take a while due to nerves healing.
2.5 years later I was still having right leg pain that now was severe and debilitating. On 40 of oxycontin every 8 and also percocet 10s, 1800 of neurontin. I had moved to a new state so had a new surgeon who ran the gambit of tests on me and finally the ct myelo showed some halos around the screws suggesting non fusion.
I was schedualed for surgery on april 30th, and the surgeon said I wqas completely not fused at all except for scar tissue. He had to scrape scar tissue from the old fusion site along with from the nerves themselves. He said I was a mess with tethered and "hammered" nerves, mainly l4 s1 and bladder. He refused me with hardware and bmp and also extended the fusion up a level to l4 l5. Now I'm fused l4 through s1.
1 month after surgery and I'm still using a walker and still in some pain and discomfort but it is getting better. I'm no longer needing as many straight caths for my bladder so that is good too. I have weaned down my oxycontin to 30 thre times a day. Ut I'm not sure if I'm weaning to slow?, any thoughts??? I've been on oxy since october 08. I am however having a good deal amount of pain on my lower right leg into my foot which is partly where my right leg pain was prior to surg. The surgeon says that it will take some time to heal and gave me 3 to 4 months for fusion to take place.
I also have a home tens unit, which I use very frequently.

Please everyone keep your heads up as I am trying to do with mine. I'm 29 and feel likew my life has been taken from me. Half of my 20s have been in pain and suffering but I am trying to smile. I found this site and just to see how many of "us" are out there helps me greatly.

Hopefully some of you can give me some advice on my continued pain, healing time and weaning of pain meds. I'm posting this in a couple relavent forums as well. Ty all!
See y'all soon.


  • Sorry for the reason you found us.

    You have had a big surgery. On top of that it sounds like the surgeon had to work very hard to free up the nerves. This most likely is what is causing increased pain. I was always told that it was important to keep the pain under control while you're healing as it helps the body do its job efficiently.

    If the pain is from the damaged nerves, the oxycontin will not help. It may numb you in general, but it will not help nerve pain. People take things like gabapentin (Neurontin) or Lyrica for nerve pain or even something like Cymbalta. Some people are not helped by medications.

    I can't really say if you are weaning too slowly. That would be a question for your doctor.

    Fusions do that a while to heal. I would say that the 3 to 4 months you were told is even on the optimistic side. Many do heal in that time, but doctors generally do not do anything until after the one year mark.

    So, you know the drill. Be patient and take it easy so you don't do anything to hurt your progress.

    xx Gwennie
  • Hi gwennie.

    Thank you sooo much for respomding. I am on neurontin 1800mg a day since roughy october. I had to wait 4 months for my surgery bc my surgeon is the best around and severly backed up.

    It seems as though you and I have had a similar problem. I had radiculopathy in my right thigh since my first surgery 3 years ago and it slowy got worse til about september 08 where my myelogram showed I may not be fused and then surgery was on the table yet again.

    I'm still having the leg pain now and the surgery was april 30th. I'm still on pxycontin 30 every 8 hours and have not weaned further. The past few days I think I'm noticing the pain getting worse again and the oxycontin 30 isn't holding me for as long as it was. So much so that I'm not considering reducing it further anymore rightnow. But increasing it has crossed my mind.

    I'm just so unbelievably worried and nerveous that I'm not going to get better and I'm going to be battling this leg pain for a long time. I'm 29, recently engaged and want to have a good life. I'm so scared and at time I feel as though ppl don't always take what I say seriously. My family keeps telling me that the pains I'm havong are expected ect... but I'm afraid they are getting worse. I think this pain and all are really getting me down. On top of tjhat I'm having left sided back/hip pain for a while now after the surgery and am using the tens unit for it. I see the surgeon Friday and hopefully something can ease my mind.

    Thank you
  • It is amazing how quickly life can change. I am sorry you are having to go through all this.

    I reread your post and it really is way too early to be overly concerned, although I certainly understand why you would be having those thoughts. Whenever a nerve is scarred and the surgeon tries to free it and clean it up, the nerve is "seriously pissed off" to quote my surgeon. (I asked if that was a special medical term.) Anyway, the nerve is very irritated and since they can take such a long time to heal, you will probably be feeling new aches and pains for some time to come. And, unfortunately you won't know if they are temporary or not for some time.

    So just try to hang in there. If you can afford it, you might want to look for a medical massage therapist who knows about orthopedics and how to work scar tissue. I found that very helpful after my second surgery and I now have no problems there. There is a small window of opportunity when you can affect how the scar tissue lays down, so you should look into it soon.

    Regarding your family, we all go through this. I am lucky in that my husband ruptured either L5 or S1 (we can't remember which) 15 years ago, so he knows what I am going through. Unless the people have been through it, they cannot appreciate how long it takes to recover from spinal surgery.

    I'll write more later. I have acupuncture this morning and need to get myself together so I am not late!!

    Hang in there, my friend.

    xx Gwennie

    P.S. I sent you a PM.
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