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Lumbar Rhizotomy

ldavis2333lldavis2333 Posts: 108
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
I am wondering if someone else has had a similar problem. I I am scheduled for a Lumbar Rhizotomy the end of next week. I've been having injections at the Pain Clinic. I have gotten some relief in leg pain. Low back pain is unrelenting. I have cages at L3. The disc above is herniated and disc below is ruptured. Been trying to avoid surgery as long as possible. Went through a series of lumbar facet injections 2 weeks ago with no relief. I have had the cervical Rhizotomy and have had good success after about 4 weeks out. I am seeing my surgeons assistant on Tuesday (surgeon must be too busy). I want another opinion too. I am thinking of cancelling the Lumbar Rhizotomy because I am probably going to need surgery anyway. Pain after last Rhizotomy was really bad. Just not sure of what to do. Been through many of the same problems here. Had a lot of surgery. Hope to hear from someone.




  • I saw my Spine Surgeon's Assistant Monday and was disappointed with the responses I have been receiving from his office for over a year. I just keep getting the feeling that they are blowing me off. The appointment was rescheduled twice. My referring Dr. knows my Spine Surgeon very well. The Assistant performed a brief neurologic exam and read the reports on the last 2 MRI's done over a year ago. She then told me that surgery could leave me in even more pain and I should just go ahead with the Rhizotomy. The disc above the L3 Cages is herniated and the disc below is ruptured and impinging on the exiting nerve. I told the Dr. at the pain clinic today that the last facets on the right made the pain worse. So she only did the left side. She also said she was going to call the surgeon for some follow up. There isn't anything more she can do for me. She recommended a neurosurgeon over an orthopedic surgeon. My leg pain is under control, but the back pain is horrible. I just don't know what to do next. Does anyone have any idea's? Could I benefit more from a Neurosurgeon?


  • Hi,

    I have had numerous rhyzomtomies done over the years with very little or no success. They were all a prelude to fusion surgery, which every time got rid of the problems I was having.

    My spine doctor is a spine specialist, have not been to a neurosurgeon but it sure wouldn't hurt to get some other opinions. A recent MRI should be able to tell about the nerve impingement. My second surgery dealt with my spine collapsing in on itself and my growing a bone spur in reaction to that and the bone spur was pressing on the nerve. The affected part of my spine was straightened as much as possible (still lost 1/4")then fused and bone spur removed.

    Good luck and keep me posted.

    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.
  • Hi Jani, Thank you for responding. I am in a lot of pain from the Rhizotomy. I had this procedure done on my cervical spine after a fusion from C3-C7 with rods and screws. Almost a week after the Rhizotomy was done on my neck, the pain was horrible for several weeks. The lumbar procedure was not quite as painful as the cervical. Did you have the same experience? I was given 15 oxycodone and tylenol 5/325. There is no way that will be enough. Adequate pain control has always been a huge issue. I am going to have to call the Pain Clinic Monday and see what happens. I had told my Dr. what happened after the first Rhizotomy. The Dr. at the pain clinic made it clear that another fusion is my last option. I feel like I get bounced from one Dr. to another. My orthopedic surgeon keeps avoiding me. He already admitted that the cervical fusion failed and needs to be extended. I feel like I'm going crazy half the time because I don't trust the opinions and treatment I am receiving all around. So few people understand.
    Thanks for your help. Lorraine
  • I have never had a rhyzotomy on my neck, just lower back. The procedure was horrid and I did have pain after but not like what you describe.

    Can you get another opinion from another doctor?? It might be the time to find a new doc if that is possible. I am so thankful to have a great spine surgeon.

    Good luck and let me know how it goes.

    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.
  • Hi Jani, I made an appointment for next Monday with an OS that recommended nerve blocks before surgery. I think I can at least get a more honest opinion and possibly effort from him. Did a lot of research on NS in the Boston area. Most of them only accept PPO plans that pay the most. At this point, it doesn't really
    matter. I can't take the constant pain anymore and it's really getting to my husband. My life has been pretty much destroyed. I am seeing a therapist who has experience with my issues and she is a big help. Pain and depression are such a vicious cycle. Waiting for the Pain Clinic to call me back. Not very hopeful they will help.
  • Lorraine,

    Good to hear You are going to talk to someone else. And it is so important to be able to talk to someone about depression and pain. They certainly go together. I have been on anti-depressants for a long time and they do help. Also muscle relaxers which are actually anti-aniexty meds and they make a big difference when my back starts getting tight.

    Let me know how monday goes.

    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.
  • Hi Jani,

    Called the Pain Clinic twice today and no call back. So discouraging. Will let you know how things go, Thanks.

  • Hi Jani,

    Called the Pain Clinic twice today and no call back. So discouraging. Will let you know how things go, Thanks.

  • I had a Lumbar rhizotomy yesterday and was so nervous about my pain afterwards. Once the numbing meds began wearing off, I had a pain level of about a 6-7, which is about the same as before the procedure, but the pain was a little different. I have read several forums and testimonials and am wondering if or when the pain will worsen from having had the procedure. I am certainly NOT wanting to have more pain, but I suppose it is the fear of the unknown. My question is how long the numbing meds from the procedure last? And...will my pain worsen over the next few days. I am cautiously optimistic that yesterday will be the worst. But I am still in resting mode and because I am so hyper, my concern is that I will begin doing too much too soon...although, my doctor said to take it easy for the rest of the week and weekend. I'd like to return to work, but I will be doing a lot of sitting and working on the computer. My pain increases as I sit for long periods of time or walk for long periods of time...probably worrying about nothing???
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