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Waiting for fusion before tackling epidural fibrosis

Shell2ySShell2y Posts: 80
edited 12/18/2012 - 9:31 PM in Recovering from Surgery
I thought I would update people how I was going for those who may have seen my adventures on the September surgery post. To recap I had an L4 L5 PLIF with the works ( decompression, laminectomy etc) on Sept 4. Despite a longer stay in hospital than normal because of my sensitivity to anaesthetic ( it took me 4 days to wake up), generally things were going ok with the recovery for quite some time. It was slow, but it was improving, and as I had had back problems for 13 years and pretty intensive nerve pain & damage, everyone said slow recovery was not unexpected. At about week 11 though my pain Increased and my ability to walk more than 5 minutes at a time stopped progressing. Anyhow after my GP spoke to the NS I had a CT which reported that it appeared that there was " epidural fibrosis compromising the right nerve". The report was sent yesterday to my NS who called me to discuss this morning. He said there was no value in my travelling the 600km round trip to see him as the priority is still to get full fusion and then look at what can be done to tackle the issue of continuing pain. Apparently the scan showed the fusion well underway but not complete yet. Interestingly he said that not being able to start any walking or movement in the first week because of my drug sensitives may have contributed to how the scar tissue had formed around the nerve. So I stay on the pain killers, try and do as much PT as I can but not push it to the extent that pain spikes , and don't have another scan until before I see him in end February. It's a bit frustrating and certainly I don't want to be the "10 per cent" of people that develop "failed back" but I am resolved to keep focused on getting better, staying positive, and most importantly, enjoying Christmas with the family. I have done a lot of reading on epidural fibrosis that restricts nerves but would love to hear from anyone else who has it. Interestingly I don't have the sciatic pain I had with my spondythelesis, just incredible weakness and pain in my back, running down my right hip, and lots of aching pain in my right leg. I am also back to starting to lean or keeping my right leg slightly flexed to avoid pain. So, is this the nerve or not? Thoughts anyone


  • After my failed fusion and the fibrosis of S1 I had as a result I had very similar symptoms. Before the (successful) redo where the surgeon released the nerve, my PT gave me a specific set of exercises to stretch the sciatic nerve. They helped quite a bit.

    I remember them saying that the scarring settles down after a while and can get better if you keep on stretching the area, so something worthwhile to ask your doctors about?
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