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Anxious...New MRI results tomorrow

ouch2oouch2 Posts: 1,270
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone! I am now 3 months post op L4-S1 discectomy/laminectomy. The surgeon who did the surgery said that the surgery itself was a success in that he removed the impingements on my nerves. Unfortunately, my body disagrees with him. Since the surgery I have not had any relief at all, and have been deteriorating.

My pain levels are higher than before surgery and my left foot is getting more useless by the day. It is now completley numb and does not move well at all. I cannot push up on toes, walk on heel and foot is turning inwards. Is it L5 nerve damage that causes this or can it be coming from somewhere else? This is one of the levels that I had discectomy/lami.

I have had a new MRI and get my results tomorrow. I am very anxious about this. One one hand, I don't want them to find anything, but on the other I need them to find something so I can move on and try to find ways to help with it. Does anyone else feel that way? Hoping that something is found so that you can find a possible solution? The thought of continuing with this pain with out any hope is very discouraging.

Until tomorrow....

>:D< Karen
>:D< >:-D< : Karen
L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
adr L5-S1 Feb 2012


  • I can totally relate to how you are feeling.

    In Feb., I fell going down a flight of stairs, and I fell hard. The thing is, I don't fall, except when my legs are getting weak due to nerve compression.

    The next week, I had a follow up appointment and they couldn't elicite the nerve reflex in my leg.

    A couple months later, at another appointment I described my pain, that was increasing significantly, as "old school pain". Not post op pain, but nerve pain, the kind that keeps you awake at night and that meds don't seem to help much.

    Tests were ordered, but I was told that if they came back normal, it might be time to talk about a spinal cord stimulator.

    Part of me wanted my symptoms to be validated and part of me wanted for nothing new to be happening. The thought of another surgery so soon after a 360 was more than I thought I could bare.

    So, I can totally relate!

    The thing is, you know your body! You know your pain! When I had my EMG, he asked me what I thought was going on. I said that I wasn't sure. He said, "well, I bet you do! You know what you feel and you know your body!"

    Leg weakness is concerning!

    Please let us know how tomorrow goes! Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers! Shari
  • Good luck Karen. Sorry to hear that the surgery made you feel worse. Unfortunately, be prepared for the issue of having an L4-S1 fusion to be brought up by your doc possibly at this appointment. I have found that these "less invasive" surgeries rarely fix the problem, ultimately.

    Keep us posted about what they say. K?

  • Karen,

    You're feelings are normal. Sure we want to be told we are good, and nothing new is going on, *but* our bodies know themselves better than any doctor will (and a good doctor will admit that). When your body is screaming at you, you keep digging. I know I am glad I did!

    Validation is what you are needing now,...be it good or bad news. Fingers crossed that you have answers so your body "knows" you fought the fight for it!! :) *HUGZ*

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

    I agree that your feelings are completely normal. The idea of being lumbered with nerve pain just isn't fun and so, of course, you hope that they will find something that can be "fixed". Trouble is the "fixing" is itself horrible and so you hope they find nothing!

    I also agree that we need to know what we are dealing with to stand any chance of coping mentally. The unknown and uncontrollable is the worst.

    Good luck!]

  • Hi there and yes I can relate.
    You sound like me 2 years ago.
    I needed that MRI!!!

    Just like you I needed to know if it was actually something OR if it was all in my head. I didn't want them to find anything but at the same time was worried that if they didn't, I must be going crazy.

    Good luck!
  • Hi All, thank you all so much for your responses. Had to take a day to try to absorb my appointment. At my appointment, the surgeon confirmed that surgery did not fix my discs and that I still have herniations and L5/S1 is in bad shape. I need a fusion or adr. The real kicker is that my coccyx is totally degenerated and wants to remove it. Ahhh! Very scared as this will be 2 more surgeries.

    The only good thing was that my pain was validated after all this time.

    I have a lot of thinking to do...anyone have any experiences to share?

    Thanks guys!

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Oh Karen, I am so sorry that you are going through this.

    I know that having your symptoms show on the MRI really helps in validating your pain to yourself and to your surgeon.

    Is it possible to remove the coccyx at the same time as the fusion? If not did he say which would need to be first?

    Did he talk about which type of fusion he would recommend doing?

    What about getting another opinion?

    I'm sorry if I am asking too many questions, just things that popped into my mind.

    I know how fightening thinking about having a fusion is. But, it seems like there really aren't any options. The pain is so limiting and greatly affects the quality of general daily life. Especially with foot drop.

    Know that we are all here for you, to support you along the way! Gentle cyper hug! Shari
  • Yep... Those damn discectomies rarely work from what I've seen. Interestingly enough, the medical profession reports that 80-90% of them are "successful". I suppose we need to have the meaning of successful qualified. Sorry to hear that you are going to have more surgery. Not sure I would put a 2nd generation prodisc in my lower back though. If we had an FDA that cared about our citizens, they would fasttrack the 3rd and 4th generation ADR's that are engineered much better for our surgeons to utilize. You are in a tough spot. Most of us are too, you're not alone. :( Good luck to you.

  • Karen,

    If you're like me, "whew" came to your lips when you got your results. I knew my fusion was messed up, but didn't understand some of my symptoms. When I was shown how unstable my neck was, I did a 'whew' as (and it is like the doctor read my mind) the doctor told me point blank - "It is not in your head, this validates it right there!!"

    Sucks that you have more surgery on the horizon, but at least now you know what the heck is going on. You're strong, and you have us in your corner!!! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I was pretty stunned by the news, especially the coccygectomy part, so not sure what type of fusion, just that it would be separate from the tailbone surgery.I am wondering which would be better to do first...thinking maybe the coccyx...less recovery time??(although I'm unclear about the recovery time of it)I will be going for another opinion for sure.

    I know that I definately need to do something as I am in so much pain and don't have much of a life now. I know that you are dealing with your own recovery right now, and so appreciate you sharing with me Shari >:D<

    BB, I agree with discectomies not being as successful as they make us think. Went in knowing that another surgeon already thought fusion was the answer, but agreed to try the less invassive. How are you doing now with your pain? Are you holding out to try to wait for 3rd generation ADR? I am very sceptical of ADR's and don't even think that I would be a candidate due to moderate facet problems?

    Today pain has been at a high point, good old stress will do that to a person.

    Thank you both for your thoughts

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • I had a feeling you would be facing more surgery because of all the pain you were in since the discectomy/laminectomy.

    I had the same surgery in 08 and it made my pain worse and I had to retire from work earlier than I'd planned. I had a fusion in 09 and I've got my life back again.

    I don't know anything about coccygectomy - best to go with what your surgeon recommends.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • I've just found this post, and can certainly agree with the need to have our pain validated to stop us feel like we are going crazy and imagining symptoms.

    I will get my full spine MRI results on Tuesday, and I feel quite excited although rather nervous at the same time. I have been waiting for over a year to see what is going on at all the levels of my thoracic spine, and it will be good to know how much worse my neck has got in the last year.

    I hope that you will find a surgeon that you have confidence in who will be able to deal with the problems that are causing your pain. I also wonder if it will be possible to have the coccsyx done at the same time.

    Let us know what path you decide to take.
    We'll be here to support you along the way.
    >:D< >:D< >:D<

  • Hi; and so sorry that you are facing this journey again.
    But i also can fully realize the relief you felt when the reports verified your complaints of being in pain.
    The doctors after awhile dont wanna believe what you are saying, they think that isnt possible.
    Thankfully these tests might not sometimes show all the problems, but they do show something is still wrong, and validates our complaints.

    Best of luck, and go slow making your decision which surgery you believe you should have done 1st.

    Keep us posted on your progress.
  • Trish, Jelly and Jim, I think it has all sunk in now, even though I was suprised on one hand by what he said, my pain was not suprised, I knew something was wrong.

    Trish, after your discectomy/lami did you know right away that something wasn't right, or did you reherniate later in recovery? My surgeon removed the part of the disc that was impinging S1 but didn't fix the part impinging L5 :O then released me at 6 weeks, saying that what he did was a success. I am now back with my original surgeon who wanted me to have a fusion originally.

    Jelly, I have been following your posts about your full spine MRI, wishing you all the best at your appointment. You are right that it will be nice to know what is going on after waiting so long, half the battle is getting properly diagnosed.

    Jim, I do feel better, knowing that my doctor is listening and ordered tests to validate.
    Congrats on quitting smoking, and I hope that you get a final date on your surgery soon.

    Although I fear the fusion, as it will be a harder surgery, the coccygectomy has me worried as I can't find anyone who has had it done, to give me an idea of things to expect.

    Hope you all are doing well

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Sorry to hear you'll need fusion and have to have your coccyx removed. I hope you get a second opinion also and pain relief from the surgery. I found some info on your procedure but hope you find someone who has had this surgery. http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/coccygectomy-surgery-coccydynia-tailbone-pain Charry >:D<
    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
  • Hi Karen

    It was a couple of weeks after my surgery that I started to feel worse. When I was in the hospital I had to hang onto the walls to walk. Once I got home, I seemed to be able to walk better around the house, but it was when I ventured outside that I was in real trouble.

    After 3 months, the neurosurgeon said "I've done my bit and it's now all up to you". So I returned to work bombed out on Oxycontin until I could retire.

    Once I had the fusion (different neurosurgeon), I couldn't believe how well I was able to walk the next day - even though it was very slow, I didn't have to hang onto the side of the walls. I've had a normal recovery and as long as I don't do too much of any task at one time or sit still too long, then I'm fine.



    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Oh my! Well, on the one hand I am glad that you have answers and your pain has been validated. On the other hand it sucks that you have to have more surgery.

    I went for my second of 3, maybe 4, opinions today. He is recommending the same surgery as my current NS...a posterior discectomy at T10-11. He is pretty sure that is the cause of my pain. He wants me to have another CT myelo instead of an MRI. Not sure what I'm going to do yet. My biggest issue is that my pain is higher up than what they would expect if it were that disc. In addition, I have been told by 2 other NS's that I have herniations in every level from T5-11. The NS today said no, it was just T8-11, and I had T8-10 operated on in July. So I am totally confused now. I go for opinion #3 in two weeks, so we'll see what he says. He was the first NS I had seen prior to my surgery. I really liked him back then. In fact, I was all set to have the surgery with him. The only reason I decided to go with the second NS was because my mom persuaded me to. She was sold on the fact that he was a t-spine specialist and is affiliated with UPenn, which ranks #14 or 15 in the country for their NS dept. I liked him up until recent, and recently I have found my trust in him is dwindling. Sooooo, in 2 weeks hopefully I'll have more answers!
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