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Did they inject the WRONG side? Surely not.............

SueDSSueD Posts: 545
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:53 AM in Lower Back Pain
Last Thursday I had:

1) lower left screw head injection
2) right sacro-iliac joint injection

I was hoping with all the anaesthetic and steroid pumped into me that, after a couple of days, all my back pain would disappear and I'd be as good as new.

I don't remember having any pain Thursday night, when we got back from the hospital, or on Friday morning. I was starting to think that everything would be OK and that, finally, something had worked, YAY!

However, on Friday afternoon I did the hoovering and felt that same niggling pain coming back. On Friday night I woke up with back pain (as before) and by Saturday morning, OMG! The pain had returned. It took me a while to get myself out of bed because I seemed to have got 'stuck' in one position and it was so painful to move. The same thing happened Sunday morning and again today :(

I am so disappointed, I can't tell you! When I looked in the mirror and touched where I felt the pain on the right side, I noticed that there was a mark on the other side at the same height. So now I'm wondering if they've done the wrong side - surely not? That couldn't possibly happen, could it? especially when it was written down correctly on the piece of paper they gave me afterwards.

Another thing - when I went into the first room and saw the anaesthetist, I said that I particularly wanted to ask the surgeon a question when I got into theatre. However, the next thing I knew - it was all over - so I didn't even get to see him and I learnt afterwards that it wasn't the same surgeon that did my fusion (as I was led to believe it would be).

Could it be that when they injected the left side, they had to angle the needle across to the right sacro-iliac joint, which should have been done. Somehow I doubt they would do this. I figured they'd just go straight into the same side that was causing the pain.

As for the lower left screw - there was a needle mark on the lower right area - another reason why I'm doubting what they have done.

The hospital will phone me in 6 weeks time to determine if I can be discharged, or if I need a further appointment - but then I'll have to wait months again if indeed it turns out that the procedure needs repeating.

I am so disappointed that the injections don't seem to have worked, but if they did do the wrong side, then I'm at a loss to know what to do about it. I was so confused by it all that I actually got my husband to take a photo of the area just to prove that I wasn't going mad.

WHAT SHALL I DO??? Maybe I don't know where my sacro-iliac joint is - can anyone tell me? I thought it was near enough to the two 'dimples' in our backs.

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 !!


  • Are you sure your doctor didn't do both sides at both locations and you can only see the needle marks on one side? I would definitely bring it up - its possible they did wrong sides, but they should at least make it right and do the right sides ASAP if they didn't. Especially if they were done for diagnostic purposes...
  • Any thing is possible! Please call where you had the procedure done. Tell them what has been going on. I know from having had at least 35 steroid injections myself that, there is an initial numbness, due to the local anesthetic. Then the next day or 2 an increase in burning and pain in the area. The steroid itself is a bit of an irritant. After that you should feel a decrease as the steroid kicks in. AS far as the possibility of them crossing over from left to right, They would have to go through your sacrum, so I doubt it. Don't wash off the ink mark,so you can show them. So sorry for your misery.
  • Yes the SI joints are close where the dimples are and usually when I get an SI joint injection she does both sides and my hip of the affected leg but I take it easy for 3 days and do no housework and ice the areas so the steroid stays in that area and does go all over the place.

    How far up is the left side screw? I hope you feel relief from these injections. Mine always got worse after a few days up to 10 days to 3 weeks to get relief from the steroid calming down the inflammation in the area. Good idea if you can see the marks to get pics. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Actually, I did email my surgeon last week to request that they did the left SI joint also. I had seen him last in January and since then I have been getting pain from that area as well. I was surprised he emailed me personally on Tuesday to say they couldn't do the left SI joint AND the lower left screw head because, if the pain did go away (and hopefully it will), they would not know which injection was successful (SI or screw). After he explained it, I totally understood.

    The left mark is where I believe the left SI joint is. I was actually booked to have the RIGHT SI joint done because it was (and still is!) causing me the most pain.

    The mark on my right side is about 4 inches lower - which is why I believe it was for the lower screw head - only this should have been on the LEFT side.

    My hubby just took another (better quality) photo today, which clearly shows the injection site on the left, as it's left a tiny bruise. The right side just looks like a pin prick and is now barely visible.

    I've had several epidural and facet joint injections in the past and am aware that they can get worse before they get better - it's just that this returning pain has taken me quite by surprise - and not in a good way.

    Thanks for some reassuring comments. At least I've got 6 weeks before they contact me, so hopefully it will all settle down by then - if not, then I'll have to be honest and voice my concerns. I just don't want this pain any more!
    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 !!
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