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Post op L5-S1 fusion - leg pain and numbness and question about sutures

Hi all. I am 2 weeks (today) post op minimally invasive posterior lumbar interbody fusion of L5-S1. I had no leg numbness before surgery but as soon as I woke up in recoveryy left leg was killing me and was numb. About 1 week post op the numbness seemed to have gotten worse and the pain is constant and horribly unbearable. I can't feel my left leg and foot at. My foot feels like its constantly dipped in ice. It feels like its being electrocuted. It feels tingly all the time. And my toes feel like they are crossed over each other even tho they aren't. My foot is actually warm but just feels cold to me. I talked to my dr about this and he said its normal because of the amount of nerves they have to move around during surgery to place the cage and from the inflammation post op irritating the nerves and said it could take several weeks to months to get better. I was just wondering if anyone else had this, if it was permanent, and if not how long until it got better. Thx!

Also, I had 4 small incisions since I had minimally invasive. The dr used subcuticular sutures where only the ends of the sutures stick out of the skin on either end so no sutures are actually on top of the skin. And then steri strips are placed on top. All of my steri strips have come off but how long until the subq stitches either absorb or fall out or do whatever it is they do and WHAT IS IT they do? Thanks :)


  • Nerves are irritated by the surgery and are painful whilst regenerating.

    I am on Lyrica which takes most of the pain away. There are other medications that do similar pain relief. Please note that all medications have associated risks. Talk to your PCP or surgeon about the details.

    I have been told that the more tingling, the more healing is occurring. But I can't vouche for that.

    I still have numbness 4 mths post op but it seems to be slowly reducing still. However, I had this numbness and tingling prior to the fusion and it was caused by the microdiscectomy.

    Can't comment on the stitches, as I only had steri strips externally.
  • i had that sort of thing happen after my second microdisectomy. i went in with major sciatic pain, and woke up with my leg numb from my butt to my toes. i asked the doc about it, and he said he had to do a lot of scraping to get scar tissue off the nerve, and it wasn't unexpected to get numbness from it. took a while, but the feeling mostly came back. i still have some numbness in the outside edge of the foot, but its nothing major. it was at least a couple of weeks before feeling started to return, and several months before it felt somewhat normal again.

    you're still very early in the recovery. has the doc given you any steroids to help reduce inflammation. my docs have always tried to get me to take them, but i get bad reactions, so i've refused.
    Microdisectomy / hemi-laminectomy 6/2010 and revision 10/2010
    Cervical fusion C4-5 and C5-6 9/2011
    Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 6/2012
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