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real tender scar and painful pulling sensation

edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Lower Back Pain
hello to all.

I had a L5/S1 microdiscectomy and decompression dec 09, and im still in a lot of pain.

Where the incision was, it is soooo tender to touch and inside feels tingly and raw. Ive tried many times to explain the sensation, but its hard for those who dont have back issue to relate i suppose. The only way i can describe it is like the tissue inside and around my incision is like a rotten apple?? you know when a apple goes brown and gooey to touch when its pretty rotten, thats the sensation i have? i know its very bizarre way of describing it, but its raw and nervy.

Also about an inch above the incision i have intense painful pulling sensation that hurts like hell on movement which can reduce me to tears. Im getting left leg pain intermittantly and slight funny feeling in my groin but thats not an everyday feeling. My orthopeadic surgeon said its scar tissue and to keep moving, but my GP isnt happy. Im now waiting to see a neurosurgeon in May for a 2nd opinion.

Does anyone relate to this sensation at all?

thanks in advance

L5/s1 discectomy & decompression 2009
ALIF l5/s1 2011
Awaiting X-ray & consultant to see if fused, but experiencing a lot of pain again :( 2013


  • I'm glad your GP is not happy! You need someone on your side. Does the GP think it looks infected? Did he go ahead and put you on a course of antibiotics just in case while you are waiting for your 2nd opinion? Just a thought, infection doesn't explain everything, but if the incision is somehow infected, maybe that could help.

    If the incision is healed, you might ask your GP for a prescription for Lidoderm patches. You wear these numbing patches 12 hours on, 12 hours off. It won't help any deep pain, but while you are waiting it might help if it is anything superficial over the incision.

    If there is no infection is your surgeon saying the scar tissue is the cause of your leg pain or your incision being tender??? If infection is ruled out and he says the incision is tender due to scar tissue, you might consider asking your GP about a prescription for a PT to do therapeutic scar tissue massage. It will ONLY help with superficial scar tissue and does free up the upper level of muscle from the skin. It hurts to have it, but after the superficial scar tissue gets broken up, the technique will not cause that area to hurt during treatment.

    Also, I wondered if you have had a new MRI since your surgery. It sure would be a waste to go for another opinion without new films. If you do not have them, ask your GP about ordering one so the appointment with the new guy isn't wasted becuz he wants one.

    I'm not sure what you mean by slight funny feeling in groin. Is it a pulling sensation or a nerve type sensation. I had/still occasionally have the sensation of a knife being twisted around in my vagina and rectum, but that improved drastically after hardware was removed that had been pushing on a nerve.

    Please keep us updated on how things go. It's good to hear that you do have a GP who is on your side and won't just blow your problems off!

  • Hi, I think eNurse has given you great information.
    I would say after my 1st MicroD, it took 3 months for my incision not to bother me. Pants bothered me. But what you are experiencing sounds more painful than that so glad your GP is not happy.

    As for the pain, I am not sure what you mean.
    I do understand the 'pulling' pain. I was very careful on my revision MicroD that I didn't bend or twist at ALL so by week 6, any slight bend pulled. I started PT about a week ago and that is helping but I'm not hitting the pain levels you seem to be hitting.

    I agree on 2nd opinion....I am guessing that another MRI might be a good idea. They typically want to wait 3 months do re-MRI b/c it's hard to see anything too soon after surgery. IF they do one, it should be with and without contrast so they can look at scar tissue. The radiologist should ask for your original MRI too so s/he can provide a comparison report. IF you cannot get your current surgeon to check via MRI, then perhaps your GP can order one for you. If not, still worth seeing the 2nd opinion as he may order a new opinion.

    Just a side note: I learned that keeping the key medical records made life easier to get a 2nd opinion. Of course i collected them based on "hey, I'd like to have a copy for my records in case I am somewhere and end up with an emergency. My doctor was at a hospital that was not where my town's ambulance team would take me".

    Medical items to keep a copy of:
    - Initial MRI and Report
    - Surgical/operative reports
    - Final Post-OP visit report.
  • Rotten Apple? Wow, I hope you get to feeling better and that this incision will not get infected and worse. Goodness! I've never heard of anyone referring to it like a rotten apple, but it scares me.
  • Thank you to angie and dnice, your words are very helpful. The incision looks "neat" and "clean", no visible signs of infection. My Gp hasnt given my antibiotics.

    Ive found 5mg diazepam is working for what i feel is a back spasm particulary at night. with the diazepam i am managing to get some sleep and wake with reduced pain.

    Angie - i will ask about lidoderm, thank you.

    Since my discectomy on the right L5/S1, ive had facet joint injection on the left and now he says i have meralgia paresthetica which is causing my left leg pain. he says the scar tissue is causing the pain on movement, he isnt relating it to the leg pain. I also have fortnightly physio where they are doing acupuncture with tens machine, not feeling a long term benefit with it yet.

    My gp is really on my side and i feel really fortunate. Since I posted on here, only today i got a letter from the hospital where i have been referred. the neuro surgeon has ordered an mri which im having next sunday. im so pleased, because i will have before and after mri's scans when i go to see the neuro.

    the groin issue is like a nerve sensation, its like the feeling you get when you have a tens machine switched on. its happening roughly every 2-3 days and lasts for around 10 minutes, then goes.

    Dnice, your knife sensation sounds horrid, i do hope your pain has subsided.

    thank you again, i really appreciated your advice.
    L5/s1 discectomy & decompression 2009
    ALIF l5/s1 2011
    Awaiting X-ray & consultant to see if fused, but experiencing a lot of pain again :( 2013
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