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Scar tissue

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
My husband is 3 months post-op from a microdiscectomy on his L5-S1. He's still having persistent back, leg and buttock pain and cannot sit for an real length of time. He's on a list to have an MRI next month to see if they can determine the cause of the pain since his surgeon says he should be pain free at this point. One of the possible scenarios is that he has scar tissue from the surgery that is impinging on the nerve. Does anyone know if there is any way to get rid of this scar tissue if this is the case? Can they do another surgery or anything for it? Is anyone else in this same situation?


  • i had L4-S1 with cage in S1. I am in haunting pain, they hit my sciatic nerve gave me L5 ridiculopathy, drop foot, osteomylitis, several bouts of staph infections ect.. I had become totally disabled and Im only 44. I had misdiagnosis ect ect.. some doctor who wasnt experienced enough tried to do spinal cord stimulator and gave me infections again and put it in wrong..finally after many terrible illnessess and surgery's, one doctor, who knows what hes doing has been able to implant the spinal cord stimulator which is the only thing that helps the nerve pain in the leg. hes caring compassionate and experienced..the unit replaces pain with electrical impulses, amazing..when he put it in he also removed alot of the scar tissue the other doctor created by doing surgerys poorly! both the lower lumbar fusion done poorly and first try at the stimulator(when it wasnt working right, he left me like that and went on vacation for a month out of the country-that caused a gross amount of excess scar tissue everywher) thank God for Dr. "SO and SO"**! Be careful but this unit can really help you, dont just let anyone do it. Dr "SO and SO" ** can do the regular kind the best, i had to have a laminectomy with it because the wires migrated so.....Good Luck to you! I feel your pain and by the way, don't believe them when they say your the only one in pain still!!Experience showed me they all lie when they say that, they make you feel like xxxxxxx, your NOT the only one! trust me! i was so relieved when I found all the people suffering just like me on the internet. The surgeon who told me who did the back surgery said he never saw anyone in so much pain in his 14 years of practice...wow....it was bull though! find yourself a good pain management doctor to take care of you while you go through this. if your in the cleveland area i recommend "EDITED". incredible doctor!! and he cares deeply for his patients!

  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I also am having issues with scar tissue and the sciatic nerve and so far I am doing ESI (injections) which begin tomorrow.Is it possible he reherniated the disk? I had discectomy at L5-S1 and it reherniated within 3 months. I had to go back into surgery for a re-do. I was trouble free for almost 4 years and have only recently began to have problems again. At least he has a MRI scheduled and will have answers soon.
    Good luck,
  • Here's a link to a current post on the Chronic Pain part of the forum: http://www.spine-health.com/forum/chronic-pain/nerve-roots-scar-tissue-i-have-questions

    If you read through the whole thing, you will find some info on scar tissue. Also, read here:

    As you will see, scar tissue as the source of pain is a controversial subject. Everyone makes scar tissue as a natural response to being cut. Some people make less than others. The problem with procedures to clean it up is that it usually just results in the body producing more.
  • Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately we got some disappointing news today in regards to my husband's back. The MRI results came back and showed that the reason he is having leg pain still is because scar tissue is impinging on the nerve. All the doctor said was it doesn't look likely that exercise will break it down and there really is nothing he can do for him. This will continue to give him trouble unless he has surgical intervention. He said that we need to wait to talk to my husband's surgeon next month when he sees him, but his surgeon has already indicated that he won't likely do surgery to remove the scar tissue if this is the case. I'm not sure where that leaves us except incredibly disappointed and worried.

    He's currently on Lyrica and some anti-inflammatory which provide him fairly good relief (recently put back on pain meds due to persistent pain), but he is not able to work while on them (he's a pilot). Super frustrated and disappointed. Any ideas if there's anything that can be done for scar tissue issues? (I read the link you sent in your last post. Not feeling super optimistic). :(
  • What type of doctor gave you the interpretation of the MRI and said there was nothing he can do for the problem?

    There is a procedure that could be attempted called lysis of adhesions. It is kind of similar to having an epidural injection. As I understand it, a catheter is threaded in from the sciatic notch, up to the area of the scar tissue. A saline solution is injected into the scar tissue. I think sometimes other solutions used to be injected...I haven't been able to find much on it. I was looking into it because my previous pain management doc mentioned it to me as a possibility when I thought scar tissue was causing my pain.

    Some surgeons will go back in and clean out the scar tissue. Some docs have more belief in scar tissue causing pain than others. Some think if you operate to remove the scar tissue, it will just return in an even more invasive way. It is not a well-understood area of orthopedics.

    I would certainly not give up. You just need to start researching that much more diligently to try to find some answers.

    If I remember correctly, you are located in the UK?? Perhaps there are other ways of treating scar tissue. You might want to investigate what they are doing in Germany or Belgium if that is at all a possibility for you. I have no idea -- I just know it is a very gray area where there is little scientific research or clinical trials...and at least in the US, spinal specialists are very much undecided on whether scar tissue even is the cause of pain and how to deal with it if it is.

    I am really sorry you are facing this problem.


    See my PM to you --
  • Google it...

    There is a way to get rid of it with a laser and camera mounted on a catheter. 1/4 inch incision at the base of the spine is all.

    I had it done and I can feel that it is not tethering the nerve root anymore.

    Good Luck.
  • thanks for your replies! we are actually in canada and from what we've looked into so far, there is very little in terms of innovation here. my guess is we'd have to head to the states to have something different done.

    the doctor who said there's nothing he can do is a g.p. my husband is still waiting to get into his orthopedic surgeon next month. the lack of access to professionals or answers here is frustating.

    i'll look into the links you passed on as well a bit closer and prepare a list of questions for his doctor when we do get in.
  • Just wondering what they told you. :) Hope it is a viable option.

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