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Permanent nerve damage or not?

DNiceDDNice Posts: 1,962

I just want some insights on people's experience.
In case you don't know my background, Aug09 blew out my disc. It was a wrong stretch and ended up in ER to find out I had a annular tear and a large herniation disc material impinging the nerve.

I lost feeling in my left buttocks, a little perineum, back left thigh, left heel to outer 2 toes. I also lost ankle reflex.

I had MicroD within 2 weeks and never really got relief. At week 10 post Op, the MRI showed I had another large herniation at the same level so I had a revision in Feb 10 (new surgeon).

I recovered well from the surgery, got a lot of strength in my leg back and can even push up on my toes and walk without a limp. I can stand and sit for longer periods (1-2 hours) though I try not to because I know it's not good for me.

So, my question. Will I ever get feeling back on my left side? I know people really can't answer that but wondering if anybody has had a similar experience and wanted to know what you decided in terms of more tests, other treatments, etc.

My surgeon is great and while we agreed to stay the course if I didn't get worse, I know he would meet me and send me for more tests if I had concerns. I certainly don't want another surgery but I guess I don't want to miss an opportunity to get the feeling back in my left leg.



  • I have heard it can take up to 2 years to get your
    nerve to heal.It took my son 1 year to get his feeling back after surgery.So take your time it will all come back.

    Jim ( Merry Christmas to all and to all good nite ) lol
  • Thanks Jim for the encouraging post.
    My father keeps talking to an orthospine surgeon who tells him it can take a year or more. Some days I'm optimistic and others I just wonder if this is as good as it will get.
  • Howdy,

    My thoughts? I have permanent damage (per NCV/EMG) from my C6/7 (C7 nerve root) herniation. When that level went, it "slammed" into the exit nerve. An EMG was done before my surgery, and then again about 6 months post op - almost no real difference. Still getting worse btw.

    Now like was said, it can take a year to 2 years for sure. The nerves recover at around 1mm a day! A mm is tiny! Do you have any continued weakness, atrophy (muscle wasting) or clumsy issues? Better or worse than surgery? I hope of course you don't have damage, and will send you thoughts and positive energy that all works out well for you!!! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I lost feeling on the outer portion of my thigh from surgery and it took a couple years to get most of it back. I think it also varies with the type of nerve involved and reason it was damaged or injured.

    One thing I learned about being a spine patient ... I get plenty of opportunity to practice patience.

  • Brenda, I am sorry to hear about your situation but I appreciate your insight. I have not had the EMG test. I actually got stronger after the 2nd surgery and can push up on my toes. I am worried about the initial hit to the nerve too. I know it was bad but never had it tested.

    I am being VERY careful so I don't think I've had too many clumsy moments. I have only lost my footing once and then mis-judged some divots in our lawn. I'm starting to increase my activity (doctor said it was ok starting in december) and monitoring how I feel.

    "C" - thanks too! I have heard people tell me 2 years and they had given up hope but surprisingly got some feeling back. I guess I just stay the course for now.

    I will probably contact my surgeon at the 1-year mark just for a check up.

    thank you
  • DNice,

    You're Welcome. When it was explained to me as to "why" more likely than not the damage was permanent, I thanked the stars as it could have been worse. :)

    You sound like you're still healing, and the nerves are still getting their 'act' together. So fingers crossed for ya that they settle down, and recover. Please let us know how your 1 year exam goes. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I share your agony. I lost the feeling in my right leg after a decompression surgery in 9-09. I was told "the nerves got irritated" and "we hope this isn't permanment". I did not have this problem before surgery. It was so bad that I was in a brace for awhile because I wasn't walking on the bottom of my foot. In 4-10 I had another surgery, different surgeon, and quite extensive surgery. No additional irritation to the nerves. I can now walk without a cane though walking is difficult. A lot of the feeling has come back in my leg but there is a ways to go, especially in my lower leg and foot. I do have muscle atrophy in my glutes and I am currently trying EMS with the thinking that the muscle contraction might help reconnect the nerves. I am working on this every day--exercises, pool, and some pt. Is this permanent? It is frustrating, exhausting, and hard work and no one knows for sure. So far, I haven't stopped trying.
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