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Urodymanic testing PLS Help

virginiapvvirginiap Posts: 508
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi fellow spineys,
Have any of you had bladder & UTI issues post lumbar fusion? I am having some significant issues, I had ALIF on 8/24/10; L4-5 level and have been having issues since then, low grade fever which lasted two weeks, chills, and obvious issues voiding, took 3 rounds of cipro, after urine tested positive, and then leaking, was put on detrol LA. Finally saw specialist yesterday, which did not go as well as I planned, he thinks I may have nerve damaged in the bladder,which he says is most likely a complication of the surgery. He says he has seen it before.
Has anyone undergone this testing?
Anyone have any similar issues?
I am scheduled for this test next week which will include any extra portion to actually measure the nerve activity to confirm his suspicions or rule it out.
FYI I am 42 no prior history of any bladder, kidney or uti ever.
As always thanks for your support!


  • I am sure this was the name of a test I had 25+ years ago. If it's the same thing, they insert a catheter into your bladder. They start to pour saline solution through the catheter, slowly. It's all pre-measured. When you get to a point when you feel you MUST go, and cannot hold it any longer, they then stop to allow you to 'void' (love that expression!).

    They will then take a reading of how many mls you have managed to take and from this, they can tell if your bladder is functioning correctly or not.

    The test is totally painless. Don't get embarrassed or nervous by having the test done, as the nurses have done loads before you and know what they're doing. It doesn't take too long either. Just shut your eyes, relax, and think happy thoughts (pretend you're lying on an exotic beech somewhere).

    If anyone knows of this test being something different, perhaps you'll enlighten us all?
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • ....for sharing, yes what you described is on part of the test, there is another part, they gave me a handout, you know, where they make it sound like your getting a spa treatment LOL!

    They will be using ekg like things as well to measure nerve & muscle activity on pelvic floor. They also will be inserting things,,,,uhmmmm elsewhere! said will take about an hour.

    I will take your advise and pretend I am on an exotic beach, having... a spa treatment!
    Aren't all the Hollywood stars going for colon cleansing..... Lol
    Have a nice day Sue!
  • Hi

    I just had all those test done in May. I had a sudden urgent issue with not being able to void. The very first thing they did was just a standard ultra sound to see what i was retaining, after voiding. In my case it became urgent they took the pressure off the bladder, so the placed me on a straight cath with a leg bag till they could get the testing done, along with bethanechol, to help the issue. Next they sent me for a pelvic/abdomen CT scan with dye. After that test we did the urodynamics testing. Because I still had the straight cath in place there was no need for me to try and go with a full bladder, while I still tried to though. But as your stating they hooked me up to all of the leads and wires to measure out flow and placed a smaller cath in place to fill. Through the test they had three markings to measure. The first one was when you would go to the bathroom if you were close to the bathroom and said i am here now I will go. The second marking was i need to go to the bathroom and would get up and go. The third marking was I have to go to the bathroom right now I could care or less how this show ends, if I don't go right now I am going to go on myself type deal. During all that they measured functional issues in the anus and bladder and pelvic muscles. They will also have you cough to check for leakage. At the end they will check your out put of you going on your own and if it matches what they filled you with.

    The test itself is pretty pain less, just don't let your emotions get in the way of it. I was lucky had a really nice nurse who did the testing. In the end mine was deemed a nerve issue and not long after that came a lesson in self cathing. If you get to that point check the video on youtube how to do it and it won't take you long to learn how. I now self cath any where from 2-3 times a day. I was told the nerve issue can only come off your brain or your spinal canal. In my case it is deemed a spinal nerve. Oh i might add they also did a cystoscope to be sure nothing was blocking anything along the path. Then I did have new Mri's run and it was clear on imaging my bladder was totally descended, but i have never had kids, and the fact it wasn't there on a mri's just a few months back.

    As far as self cathing while I don't like doing it, sure beats the pain that comes with having a bladder backing into your kidney. Now I have had multiple cervical surgeries and just had another level added in to get it off the cord, but still have issues on other areas of the spine, so just time will tell what level is the real cause. I had been going to aqua therapy for my lumbar and I know when it happened so the best thing we know is it happens with movement.

    But all in all the testing is not to bad and doesn't take that much time. Hopefully in the end they will find the cause of it. You might want to also keep a diary of what your drinking and how much your voiding. Time voiding does help a lot. Meaning I go when I don't necessarily feel the urge to go. Also once you start a stream don't let it stop, keep pushing till you stop hearing it. Maintaining stream flow is so important. It is like you never noticed before how you urinate but now you are completely aware of the process.

    As far as it being known to be permanent damage they won't make that diagnoses till the year mark, so I keep the cathing up and the medicine which i know helps a lot. The urologist said nothing more at this time to do except take the meds and self cath and see him in a year. They just re new my scripts is all. If you end up self cathing don't let anyone tell you, that you need to clean caths out. Insurance is mandated to pay for new caths everyday. Mail order is the best way to go with a month supply, which hopeful you won't need.

    Oh one other thing I down played my spinal issues at first with the urologist, just so no one would assume that is where it was coming from and all the proper testing was done. If you have any questions or concerns don't hesitate to pm me. Hope it all works out for you and the problem goes away as quickly as it came on.
  • Thank you, Tamtam, this exactly the info I was hoping to find out. Of course i am sorry for your issues, i will pm you with some more of my specific details.
    Thank you for sharing!
  • I did. But first, I must warn you about taking Cipro or any fluoroquinolone. Did you know they are known to cause nerve damage? Read this from the Cipro info page:

    Changes in sensation and possible nerve damage (Peripheral Neuropathy): Damage to the nerves in arms, hands, legs, or feet can happen in people who take fluoroquinolones, including CIPRO. Talk with your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in your arms, hands, legs, or feet:




    • weakness
    CIPRO may need to be stopped to prevent permanent nerve damage.


    That said, I was given Levaquin twice in a row just prior to my nerve damage occuring and we will never know if it played a role.

    For me, I have what is called "Flaccid bladder", where I cannot tell if I need to urinate most days. But I CAN "bear down" and pee, emptying my bladder effectively. As long as I can continue to do this and NOT cause back pressure into my kidneys, I will be allowed to do this.

    I put myself on a schedule and make sure to "try" to urinate every 3 hours or sooner. Just depends. I also have some bowel numbness, but it is only in the rectum area. I am able to manage fairly well.

    I had the urodynamics test and hardly felt a thing. This is how we all knew I had nerve damage - I should have felt it somewhat.

    Here is a blog post I did on the subject:


    Back to the fluoroquinolones - I wish more nerve damage folks knew to avoid and refuse these medications. This is all we need - MORE nerve damage. Levaquin, Cipro and others are such drugs.

    More info:


    Take care,

  • Cheri, for sharing!
    I am very interested to check out your blog!

    i did see the black box advisory on the 3rd round of cipro, I hadn't noticed it prior. At which point, I had already taken so many... I just completed the therapy.

    I hope that this testing will give me a diagnosis, and a treatment. My trouble is I go constantly, and never fully empty my bladder. My bladder and intestines are spasing all the time, I can actually see them popping out from my low abdomen and right above my pelvis, odd feeling, kind of like a baby kicking in uterus.... probably sounds crazy, but not much had been sane since my fusion 8 weeks ago tomorrow.
  • :H very informative blog Cheri.
    Thank you again for posting your reply and sharing your experience. I wish you all the best!
  • During my urology journey, the doc described to me the newer SCS for urinary issues - spinal cord stimulation that calms down the bladder spasms. Have you seen any info on that?

  • Has been offered to me by several doctors, for my chronic low back and leg pain. Both pre op & now its come up post op...

    I am kind of scared of it. My spinal column is narrow, on doc said would need to SHAVE part of my spine to fit it.... I'll keep the shaving to my legs, haha! LOL. No, seriously, I have heard wonderful stories (best thing ever) and then horror stories, with leads and things falling and lots of adjusting.

    My bladder issue has only occurred post ALIF on 8/24/10.
  • had not even heard of anything other than the SCS for the spinal issues. To hear that a new technology has been created JUST for bladder spasms intrigued me. Doc said they place it much lower and brings much relief to sufferers for whom meds and such don't work.

    So fascinating what technology can do!

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