First surgery, I went to a "top notch" neurosurgeon in my area (has since moved out of state) who had "great hands". Boy was that a joke! I had a fusion of L5 S1 and a laminectomy completed at that time. Recovery was actually fairly easy - a lot of nerve pain, but the incisions healed quickly.
Within a year of surgery, the sciatica came back in spades. Started the process of finding relief again. Pain Management doctors just wanted to keep injecting me with needles, which just made it worse. I finally found a local surgeon, specializing in both ortho and neurosurgery. As suspected, the only solution to my problem was more surgery - less than 2 years after the initial surgery. Apparently this "top notch" surgeon failed to put in enough bone graft to fuse my spine, and the screws were several centimetres too long.
With my first surgery, I was home within 20 hours of surgery (HUGE mistake), with no further testing in the hospital.
This surgery, they went in through my abdomen to place a bone graft into the fusion site, and add a cage which was not there previously. Within hours of surgery, my doctor did a standing x-ray, and determined that further surgery was necessary the next morning, through my back. The screws from the initial surgery were falling out, and they had to make more room for the bone graft that was put in.
I spent 5 miserable days in the hospital, in excruciating pain before insisting I be able to go home.
Unfortunately, it seems that pain medication doesn't seem to have much affect on me. I was sent home with Percocet and Valium, which did not lessen the pain at all. I followed up with the doctor on Wednesday and they changed me to dilaudid, which still doesn't seem to take the edge off the pain. I'm not sure how to handle it at this point. There is also a very good chance of permanent nerve damage from all of the years of my nerves being pinched in my back.
I have given birth to 4 children naturally, had 2 back surgeries in 2009 and had my gallbladder removed in 2010, and I have never felt this level of pain in my life.