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Post Op Spinal Fusion - numb let

1st post
I had an L4 L5 spinal fusion with a cage insertion and additional screws and rods a week ago. Unfortunately had a dural tear so spent 3 days flat out with blinding headaches. BUT now I am home I have a virtually numb right leg, from buttock to toe my leg is painful but numb - which in itself sounds bonkers!!! Doing all the exercises and praying it will return to normal as I did not have leg symptoms at all prior to the operation. I had a micro discectomy in February and had tingly toes but NOTHING on this scale. Has anyone any tips or advice on how to improve this or indeed how long it will last.



  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    Nerve 'irritation' caused during surgery is very common. Surgeons attempt to minimise this, of course, however, they gotta do what they gotta do. ;)

    Nerves normally recover well, as you did with you tingly toes. Often in a few weeks. However, sometimes it can be longer.

    I got some in the Feb microdiscectomy, which worsened until the fusion in July. My first surgeon said that if it was not better by 2 years, then probably e would be permanent. The area and intensity has reduced considerably since July. Whether it all goes, only time will tell. It's certainly less than the sciatic pain. (If interested in more detail, click on name)

    Not sure if you had nerve pain medication with your micro-d, but there are specific medications for this. Your surgeon knows.

    All the best with your recovery. What meds you on? What's your surgeon got to say about this?
  • Hi I am only taking codeine and paracetamol. i cant take pre-gabalin or gabapentin as I seem to react badly to it. I do however take venlafaxine for depression. I just hope it goes sooner rather than later it is horrid and never having had the leg pain before really disconcerting!!!
    I am due to the routine 6 - 8 week follow up but the surgeon said contact them if t doesn't get better sooner. Will probably leave it till the new year as they clearly wont do anything short term.
  • i had a similar situation on my second microdisectomy/ laminectomy. went in with pain, and woke up with numbness from my butt to my toes down the back of my right leg. doc said he had to scrape at the nerve to get rid of the scar tissue, and it aggravated it big time. he said it would get better and it did, but it took time. couple of weeks before i had any real feeling back, and months before it was mostly better. i still have some residual numbness in the edge of my foot, but its more like less sensation than total numbness. (oh, and this surgery was over 2 years ago now, but i've also had a fusion at the same level 6 months ago... that sparked a whole different set of symptoms when i woke up, but again they get better over time.)
    Microdisectomy / hemi-laminectomy 6/2010 and revision 10/2010
    Cervical fusion C4-5 and C5-6 9/2011
    Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 6/2012
  • Motorcycle RiderMMotorcycle Rider Posts: 45
    edited 12/19/2012 - 5:29 PM
    I had my fusion done on December 3rd and having the same issues that you are. Had sharp pain jolts into my right foot every so often but nothing like this numbness I have now. I am 14 days post op and still using a walker to get around. Also they gave me a leg immobilizer brace to wear on my right leg as it won't hold me up on its own. I can feel my leg, move my toes and ankle just dont have the strength or what ever to hold my weight up. The pains go down to my knee and stay there. Doctor has told me the the scans look great and he doesn't know why my leg is doing this. When I came out into the recovery room and woke up. I couldn't move my leg then and still can't move it much more now than back then. I hope you will find answers and get to recovering soon. Best wishes
  • I saw my Consultant on Friday and he has arranged an MRI and CT for next week as he said I should not be having the sort of symptoms I have got. So hopefully will know more by the end of the week!
  • Great that he recognised that symptoms were not right and was man enough to want find out what's going on.

    Hopefully, it's something that doesn't need more surgery.

    Has you walking gait been affected?
  • jacksjjacks Posts: 22
    edited 12/26/2012 - 10:52 AM
    I am having to use crutches outside as feel so unstable and use them going upstairs. I look "odd" walking as my right foot doesn't do what it is supposed to - difficult to describe - but not normal!
  • Certainly doesn't sound right.

    Let us know your results.

    How would you describe your pain?
  • My leg and foot are numb but then my foot feels like its burning when I have walked on it. But the leg itself the pain feels like the few seconds before you get almighty cramp!!! when it gets really painful and tight. The physio did my reflexes yesterday and the ankle one was non existant - bit worrying!
  • DaveFusionDDaveFusion Posts: 476
    edited 12/28/2012 - 12:05 PM
    Thanks jacks.

    Tell us what the MRI says.
  • Still no MRI results... or should I say they haven't contacted me with them! I have an apt. on 15th and today I am 5 weeks post op. and still have the same symptoms, so becoming more concerned that they are not going to settle as I have seen NO improvement. Roll on the 15th where I will be requesting answers.
  • Motorcycle RiderMMotorcycle Rider Posts: 45
    edited 01/21/2013 - 6:41 PM
    Jacks hope you are doing well and have heard good news on your MRI. I finally get to see my doctor tomorrow for my first post op visit. I have the imaging appointment at 11:30 and the surgeons appointment at 1PM. Still using a walker to get around if I have to walk for long distances, around the house I can use a cane as I have things to hold onto with in a step or two. My right foot still drags and I feel like I am doing a marching step with the right leg to keep from dragging my toes.
    I wish you the best Jacks and a speedy recovery.
  • I hope your apt went well and things have progressed. I am still the same awaiting more tests.
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