Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Recovering from 2nd surgery L5 S1

Kelly GKKelly G Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
So here I am, 6 weeks after my second surgery of my L5 S1. Every Sunday night I look back and wonder how I made it thru the past week and how am I going to get thru the next.

I had my 1st surgery 12/03, everything went great! Healed quickly, wasn't off of work very long, pain meds about 3-4 weeks after surgery and no physical therapy. Now 7 years later I feel horrible, my back hurts, driving I can only last about 30 minutes, I have replaced a body pillow for my husband and I feel guilty calling the surgeons office to ask for refills on the norco every two weeks.

Oh I have cried because of the pain. I can barely sleep at night and if I do I have to switch rooms because of mattresses, which is another story...brand new mattress at Art Van in 2/11 way past the 60 return/exchange policy.

Another thing that scares me is that about two months ago a co-worker that I know was hauled out of here because of withdrawal, I looked at her and said to myself...that is not going to happen to me!!!

So in the long run I have started physical therapy hoping that everything will be 100% again in a few months.

One question..
Does it take twice as long for scar tissue to heal because of the second surgery?



  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    Kelly ... Welcome to SH.

    Before you start asking questions about second surgeries ... can I ask you a couple? Ok here I go!

    Have you been evaluated by a board certified specialist in spinal surgery (either Nerologist or Orthopedic) recently?

    Did they do recent MRI's and say that surgery was the only available remaining option?

    It sounds like you maybe in the diagnostic phase of your situation and it would not serve you well to jump to the final round yet. If you are starting PT - there may be many steps before they would want to do surgery.

    Would you be so kind as to tell us a little more about what your current symptoms are what kinda consults you have had and other interventions that they have discussed?

    Nobody likes repeat or add on surgeries. There maybe many steps before that becomes the only remaining option.

    With hope for help,


    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • First off, Welcome to Spine Health! You've come to a great place for understanding and support.

    I'm pending a laminectomy and also a fusion (different levels) and feel your pain. If your surgeon went through the same incision, yes it can take longer to heal. When I had another level go in my neck, my surgeon *was* originally going to go through my first one. He told me he couldn't do it (after the surgery), but didn't give me a reason. I figure there were possibly 2 reasons - he would have had to increase the incision another inch or so, or (in one appointment he expressed concern for scar tissue) he didn't want to add to the scar tissue.

    Now on the flip side, we have a lot of members who have had multiple surgeries to the same place via the prior incision, and did take longer to heal, but did okay. Keep in mind too as you read on here, many of the "success" stories no longer come here to post as they are back to their normal lives. Your body will take time to heal, and the PT hopefully will speed that recovery up. Again Welcome aboard!!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • d...

    I already had the 2nd surgery. Both surgeries I had mri's with contrast and without, second surgery I had x-rays. Because mine and my husbands insurance changed in the past 7 years I had two different surgeons. So I jumped on board and scheduled asap. One of the reasons why I wanted the 2nd surgery without pt before is because the first surgery I had never taken vicodin and was clueless on this drug and basically gained 25 lbs. I didn't want that to happen again.

    Symptoms..lower back pain, pain shooting down left leg, maximum sitting time 5-10 minutes, no sleep, miserable...etc.

    Back in February 2011, I was painting our bedroom and hopping from bed to dresser to floor and just kinda felt something weird happen, after a couple of days the pain was not going away and felt just like the same thing all over again. About 8-10 years agao I used to twist my back from side to side to crack it and now thinking about it I am sure that was a contributor.

    I guess I just want my life back and want to be pain free. Last summer I walked 3 miles 3/times a week and biked 4 miles/2 times a week. It's so hard not being able to do anything because I always have to thing of my back first. I try to suck it up at work and at home...I just don't want to be that person everyone feels sorry for so when I get up in the morning I just put on my game face.

  • Hey there...what was the 2nd surgery?
    I had 2 microdiscectomies at L5S1. Mine were 6 months apart. I expected worse the 2nd time but was fortunate because they did nerve monitoring for the 2nd surgery which I think helped the healing process.

    That being said, I was told to expect a bit of a rougher time the 2nd go around. Why? Because I was under longer b/c they had to also remove scar tissue.

    I feel your pain. A few things I did to help pass the pain & time

    1- keep a journal (daily) of what you are taking, how you feel, what you did activity wise, and what you ate. This helped me realize the days I drank more water, I did better. It also helped me understand the impact of weather on my back

    2- Drink water...as painful as it was to move around, it helped me from getting stiff lying around for long times

    3 - enjoy the 'time off' Silly but I did try to embrace 'nothing'. I watched movies, embraced all the sleep, and learned that the pillow was a temporary means to an end

    4 - tell your husband when you are taking pills and tell him when you think you can reduce them. I was worried about addiction. But I also didn't want to come off the pills too early. So I was very planned. By always announcing when I was taking pills, I wasn't hiding my pain. I'm very open about it even to this day. Sometimes when we feel guilty that we still hurt or we want to protect others from knowing what we are suffering, we don't share.

    As for your question, I don't think there is a definitive answer to your question. Everyone heals and responds differently. If you are feeling lousy even if your doctor said you should be feeling better, you should talk to him. The one thing I learned from the 1st surgery was to speak up. My doctor kept telling me that I should be feeling great...and I felt like crap. I finally realized me telling him I felt like crap was not an insult to his abilities as a surgeon. It was just to tell him that hey...the surgery didn't work for me.

    Hope you feel better soon!
  • Sorry i haven't posted recently, we are remodeling our house and i am supervising.
    I had a hern disc at the L5S1, so he went in and removed part of the tissue.

    The journal is a great idea, i did start one and its really easy on the iphone. I can just type in how i am doing at anytime. PT felt great this morning. I am positive i can continue the routine at home.

    For me its late i have to go to work in the morning, i'll try to answer the rest of the questions tomorrow.

    It's great to talk to someone else that can understand the pain. I am glad i joined SH.
  • Hi Kelly,

    I have 2 incisions down my front and 2 down my back. Three fusions, now I am fused L1 to S1. Since they went in the same incision I have lots of scar tissue. I seem to do really well at growing it. It just gets worse each surgery. I go to PT and they work on the scar tissue but its there and not going anywhere. It seems to take longer to heal each surgery.


    Spinal stenosis, spondolysis, spondolythesis, L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion with instrumentation and bone graft from hip, L1/S1 fusion with replacement disc put in and a nice bolt from my spine to my pelvis; PT, accupuncture, prolotherapy, many cortisone injections, 4 rhizotomies. Currently on tramadol.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • Welcome, and I wanted to re-assure you that you aren't alone in having more pain with the second surgery, and you aren't alone in being in pain that causes you to cry. That's my 9's & 10'S.
Sign In or Register to comment.