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Synovial cyst removal and micro-decommpression

rdlaubrrdlaub Posts: 11
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Recovering from Surgery
I am new to this forum and also posted similar post in new member sections. Apologies if this is considered a duplication in this forum.

I am exactly 3 weeks out from surgery to remove a synovial cyst at L5, S1 including micro-decompression and foraminotomy.

I had spent the past 3 1/2 years with pain in the right side of my lower back radiating through the butt and down the leg. MRIs showed slight disk herniation and stenois. I spent the next 3 years going through physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, anti-inflammatories, John Sarno TMS practice etc. all to no avail.

Last December, I went to a neurologist who had another MRI taken which now showed the synovial cyst pressing on a nerve root. After 2 unsuccessful cyst aspiration attempts, I opted for this surgery.

Other than surgical pain, I felt relatively ok after the surgery, however, over the course of the last week I believe I am feeling the same pain on my right side that I specifically had the surgery to relieve. I am quite depressed and discouraged by this. I am taking Naproxen for pain because without the Naproxen the pain is too strong. I of course hoped to be off the pain med.

I appreciate any help or guidance. Thank you.


  • Hi rdlaub. When was this surgery how long ago? Oops ok sorry i see 3 weeks. Well give it some more time as they always say to give the nerve that was agrivated time to heal. You might get lucky and it will heal in time. If it was slightly damaged it can take up to 18 months for nerve to heal and regenerate. Or longer. Depends which dr you ask they all say something diferent but i think 18 months is standard if its damaged. If its just pissed off then it will calm down in time.

    Good luck and try diferent meds and give it another month see if it slightly improves.
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Thanks for you reply. I just wish I knew whether this will eventually cure the problem or not. I'm also concerned with taking Naprosyn for an extended period, but it does help.
  • Hi, I also had a synovial cyst removed with my recent fusion. Postoperative swelling can mimic the original pain up to 6 weeks out I believe. I have also had some passing issues with muscles and ligaments straining after the surgery.

    My surgeon put me on omeprazole for the NSAID gastric side effects.
  • Thanks Emily. How long did it take you to start feeling better or are you still recovering?
  • I felt some relief almost immediately, but a lot by 6 weeks out. My movement was very restricted by my surgeon for the first two weeks and I was in a hard brace too. Now, at 12 weeks, I'd say I am at about 80% of where I would like to be.

    This is my second bout though. And given my first experience and this last one, I'm pretty certain that for me my symptoms and pain at 6 weeks gave a good indication of where I would end up. In the first round (that ultimately wholly failed) I was not in a good place at 6 weeks at all.
  • Thanks Emily. I appreciate the information.
  • I've had 4 back Surgery's, two were for a Cyst on L3 and the last one was 2 weeks ago on L5, for Synovial cyst. The pain was pressing on the Sciatic nerve, the pain was OMG! I had the surgury in dallas and i think the Doctor make a big differnce on how fast you recover, great,fair,good you know.
    I had Disc surgury in July 2011 and the pain afterwards was still alittle there, not bad, so i thought it was a healing process, but it kept getting worst, so another MRI done in Dec 2011 and low a behold another Cyst, they grow really fast. You may have another cyst but smaller so the pain is not so bad yet.
  • Hi,

    I never really got full relief from the surgery. It is now 6 months later and I am still in pain. I have not even contacted the surgeon or a doctor because I am so frustrated. I feel like I have tried every possible treatment to overcome this.
  • Last summer the pain started bi-lateral Sciatic, the pain is non stop, The back of both on my legs and my back side feels like I am sitting on a griddle on high heat,, in Sept They did the deep Spine epidural shots ( series of 2 ) to my dismay no relief at all, they said I had a double herniated disk L5, once the shots were deemed non effective then we opted for surgery some type of decompression surgery That was Oct.17,2011.. At first the pain was gone,, then progressively returned worse than it was before surgery. Then I encountered the Bladder issues, So at my check up I told him of the pain that was worse than when I started and the bladder issues, next thing I know another MRI,, and then they tell me I have 2 synovial cyst on L5, so Jan.19,2012 here we go again,, back under the knife,, another decompression surgery,, and now April 5, 2012. the pain is full blown, the burning never stops, can't sleep, I can't get comfortable,, I can't sit or lay down for any extended amount of time.. Now another call to the neurologist,, I am frustrated and I am tired and scared to death,, I have already had two surgeries in the last 4 months ,, I really do not want to go through this again,, Can some one PLEASE tell me can these cyst grow this fast and do they keep coming back. I am afraid, each time they operate it is worse than before,, and now I am having the Bladder issues again.. The more I read the more I find out how rare this is,, the Bilateral Sciatica and the synovial cyst , not once but twice,, I am at whits end,, if anyone has been through this and can offer any advise I would greatly apericate any information.. I am a single mom to a seven year old and I can't afford to be disabled there are too many things that I want to do with him,, please help
  • Sorry you are in such pain and while I don't have an answer I can tell you you are not alone.

    I just went back to my neurologist since my pain never went away after my surgery last July to remove my cyst.
    We did an MRI which came back saying the cyst is still there (new one? - not sure) and now they are saying there are "arthritic changes in L3, 4 and 5.

    So now what? It's all very frustrating.
  • Hi folks,
    I'm wondering about the recurrence rate of these cysts? Just had mine removed 9 days ago L5/s1 :(
  • I just had my umbar fusion 4-5 in the Lumbar area for facet cysts

    The cysts grow on the facet bones so I assume the surgeons removed those and then did a fusion

    My understanding was that they would not come back after that type of surgery

    Mine were in the canal and were very large

    I am almost 4 weeks post op and having some recovery pain but walking 3 miles each day and taking meds at night only and sometimes in the afternoon for occasional flare ups
    Synovial cysts L-5 causing mass effect 5mm and 7 mm in size
    Severe lumbar facet disease
    Bulging discs
  • LizinalLLizinal Posts: 30
    edited 08/20/2013 - 3:58 PM
    That is what my surgeon did, I was wondering if your surgeon did the same? The facetectomy and fusion are the true cure or the cysts will come back in most cases
    Synovial cysts L-5 causing mass effect 5mm and 7 mm in size
    Severe lumbar facet disease
    Bulging discs
  • I am 5 days removed from just having had this procedure; brought on suddenly due to a rapid deterioration in symptoms (increasing numbness and lack of utility of my left leg); in addition i was experiencing shooting pain on my left and right leg (buttocks, hamstring area primarily); more pronounced on the left side. Problem was a synovial cyst growing on the underside of the facet joint, severely compressing the nerve in the spinal canal. Received two very disparate recommendations from the surgeons: one advocating spinal fusion along with the cyst removal the other not even giving fusion a second thought. The reason for advocating fusion was that the bone removal required for getting at the cyst would weaken the facet joint, creating an even worse problem (there is some spondylisthesis between the two vertebrae). I opted not to get fusion now, and take my chances. The shooting pain is gone, can feel the leg coming back, but slowly, and have no idea how the back will be but right now it feels like someone cut me open and took some pieces of bone out.

    My only advice is to get the right MRI at the first sign of symptoms - the first doctor i saw completely dropped the ball - caused a long wait for the MRI (by thinking pre-authorization was required - spent 3 business days to determine it wasn't and then ordered an MRI for the pelvic region which did me no good). Should have been able to address the surgical decision before the symptoms became so advanced. In the beginning the pain feels like wicked muscular cramping in the hamstring - as if there is too much pressure in your leg.
  • I had a synovial cyst removed at L4-L5 facet joint in October 2008 that was pressing on my sciatic nerve. Worst pain I've ever had. Worse than childbirth. It took a very, very long time for the nerve to heal. Close to 2 years. My Neurosurgeon said he got all of it out. He said if they don't get all of it, it will form new cysts. I'm thankful that I haven't had a recurrence.
    Synovial cyst removal in 2008. L4-L5 facet joint.
    Lumbar fusion at L4-L5 in December 2013. TLIF posterior entry
  • dhcharles22ddhcharles22 Posts: 5
    edited 08/13/2015 - 7:48 PM
    I have had a synovial cyst removed from my lower spine. Is there any preventative measures I should take? Will it come back? I have benign adrenaline tumors on both sides; are these tumors like the synovial cyst?

    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    ~spine-health moderator, savage
  • It sounds like we are in the same boat.
    I had surgery last Thursday but only after I insisted that the second surgeon doubted a need for surgery because it did not "Appear to be a lot of damage." He made this DUMD statement as I was doubled over in pain......Only in the operation did he find a Synovial cyst in my lower spine. The first surgeon COMPLETLY ignored the results of my first milligram. I could say more but you get the point.
  • Does anyone know anything about synovial Cyst? If they come back. What do you do after surgery to get muscle tone etc. back.
  • WinnieblissWWinniebliss Posts: 1
    edited 09/23/2015 - 1:53 AM
    Hey I am hoping to get some answers because the doctors here don't seem to want to give them to me. I am 40 years old. I have been in severe pain for a year. 2 months ago the pain was so intense I could not walk. I ended up in the hospital for 8 days. Well after 4 MRIs I was diagnosed with a synovial cyst on L4 L5. Well I have since gotten 2 epidurals and the pain is still intense. This has ruined my life to say the least. I can not function. If I had insurance I would have surgery tomorrow but I won't have insurance untill January. But my question is do I see a spine surgeon, a neurologist or some other doctor? I was givin Vicodin for the pain but it doesn't even come close to easing it at all. Please help!!!! I can't stand for more than a second at a time. Thank u

    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    ~ spine-health moderator, savage
  • Joe7JJoe7 Posts: 6
    edited 09/25/2015 - 9:31 AM
    Hello everyone I'm new to the site, Surgery removed a large cyst in the L 4 region, doctor was able to get all of it and I'm thankful to say
    my terrible pain is gone. Doctor states a 90 % chance it will never come back, I am now dealing with the pain from the incision, and whatever
    damage that was done removing it.

    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    ~ spine-health moderator, savage
  • Joe7JJoe7 Posts: 6
    edited 09/26/2015 - 9:44 PM
    Surgery performed on Sept 24th 2015 , surgeon was able to get all of it. After 3 months of torment I'am pain free, other than the incision and
    whatever was worked on in and around the cyst.
    The surgeon asked me how I was able to stand the pain all this time which I found odd, I learned he had no idea what the problem was until the very day of the visit, bad communication ? I don't know. In any event after reviewing the MRI on the Sept. 23rd. I was scheduled for surgery the very next day.
    I learned the best advocate you have is yourself, never give up and never give in, don't take no for an answer, understand this, in my case the surgeon didn't have a clue why I was there for my initial visit until I informed him, don't take for granted that some office clerk is going to make sure everything is documented correctly , because they don't at least in my case they did not.
    Had the surgeon known the situation it may have made a difference waiting so long for the initial visit, I cant say for sure but I was in surgery the
    very next day. I hope this helps someone , I will keep you posted ..
  • Czimmy77CCzimmy77 Posts: 1
    edited 10/21/2015 - 4:32 AM
    I had an mri done and they found severe degeneration in the L5, S1, S2 levels. Also a synovial cyst pressing on my nerve root. I have my first appointment with a neurosurgeon in 2 days. What can I expect from this visit?

    Preparing to Meet with a Spine Surgeon or Spine Specialist

    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Liz, Spine-health Moderator
  • scottpsscottp Hayesville , NCPosts: 3
    I am 8 days post-op  from a Synovial Cyst removal at the L5-S1. So far, so good. Had to remove the  foraminia  at L5 a n part of L5 and S1. No pain at all now. Praying that it continues!!
  • I am two weeks post-op. The first week was pain-free. Around the 8th or 9th day, I started to feel discomfort in my leg. Nothing like the pain I felt before the Cyst was removed, but pain none the less. Since then, I have since felt discomfort and was wondering if I should be concerned or is this common? i am seeing my surgeon next week, and I am curious to see what he thinks. Any input would be appreciated. 
  • RAMRRAM FloridaPosts: 57
    I had a synovial cyst removed at L4 L5 last May. Worst pain I ever had. Was like sitting on a golf ball 24/7. Healed pretty well. Suddenly in June of this year I was experiencing pain once again but this was in the form of sciatica on the opposite side of my body. MRI revealed my cyst had returned. I have opted for removal and a fusion this time. Surgery scheduled for September 26. I am hoping this is the end of nearly 7 years of pain.

    Many more ore people get these then I thought. Wish you a speedy healing process. 
  • RAM, were you completely pain-free after your first synvovial cyst surgery, or was there any residual discomfort or pain? I was under the impression that I would be completely pain-free after the surgery. That hasn't been the case
    I wish you luck on your next surgery. 
  • RAMRRAM FloridaPosts: 57
    It took a while for the nerves to calm down probably a good 3 to 4 months. The golf ball sensation came and went and then it was gone. Give it time. Hang in there. 
  • mfg64mmfg64 Melrose, MAPosts: 12

    I had a synovial cyst removed from L4, my surgeon said that just removing the cyst would not cure the problem as L4 was loose and rubbing on my disc, causing fissures which created the cyst. So, I needed to have L4 fused to L5. My surgeon said that without the fusion, I would just generate another cyst, and be looking at really painful disc leaking synovial fluid.  I only want to have back surgery once so I had the cyst removed, a laminectormy  and L4-L5 fusion. 

    I am 6 weeks post surgery and I feel great. 

    I hope you are able to gain some relief. Back pain can take over your life. Best of luck. 

  • Great news mfg. Keep it up!

    Since my post on 8/5, I have been pain free. I saw the surgeon last week and he said that I am doing fine. How is your flexibility after the fusion? I know it's early, but do you have any limitations on motion, bending, etc?
  • dianenoddianeno doncasterPosts: 42
    Hi Joe
    You say you had surgery the very next day ? Are you in the UK ?
    Im in constant pain it's ruined my existence,  taken over my life now, 10 months in and I struggle to mobilise walk get dressed ect without extreme pain & I'm exhausted!! I see surgeon next Friday,  I've had cortisone injection  ( didn't work ) in to much pain to be worked on by physio, they say I need to see surgeon asap, time has been slow but last few days now & I'm hoping he will say lets do keyhole & get the cyst out, but the let downs I've had over time is telling me, he will send me for more tests & this will take months!! Don't know how I'm going to get through
    I hope & pray he whips it out! ? 
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