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whats next post fusion surgery?

Hello to all. I have been a member here for over a year and posted some initially and received excellent help with questions. Nothing had changed until finally had l-5 s-1 fusion surgery with instrumentation. My most severe painpre surgery was sciatica right leg. There was bilateral neuroforaminal narrowing greatest on the right my surgeon did most of "the work" on the right side. He used bone graft from iliac crest on left with the cadaver bone for the cage.

For two weeks I felt amazing!!! Sciatica pain was no more than a 5 at highest pain, Low back pain was very low s well. I stopped taking the morphine and oxy early because I felt that good.

At my two week appointment with my surgeon's PA she checked out incision sites and the two for the cage and instrumentation were healed. However the one for the bone graft removal was swollen and red. She said it was like a carpet burn and to apply peroxide and saline. I advised her I had some numbness and cold sensation in right leg more above knee than below. She reminded me about the conversation my surgeon had with me about unrealistic expectations from the surgery.

Now I am one and a half months post op and a lot has changed. The incision site from iliac crest bone harvest is still swollen and red and leaks all the time. My back brace rubs on it sometimes and hurts pretty bad. I can feel the sciatica in right buttock and across right shin and into right foot. Also having really cold sensations in right leg above the knee and even getting goose bumps in same area. The part that scares me the most is sciatica like discomfort to pain in left buttock and shin. I got so scared of the same pain I had in right leg beginning in the left leg I broke down. I really don't think I can go through that again. I was hoping that some one could help me with what'sgoing on and also how to get the iliac crest site to heal. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I hope everyone has a good day.



  • 1028761102876 Posts: 248
    edited 06/13/2014 - 3:02 PM
    I don't know how to help you but I am sorry that this is happening to you. I had a bone graft also and it was taken from my rib. Right now that bone isn't fusing as well and my be a failed fusion but we will see. For me I feel like as long as I am receiving answers that is all I can ask. For the longest time I wasn't receiving any answers and that is frustrating. Have you placed something on top of your graft site? may something like a bandaid or even gauze that has wound type tape made specifically for your skin. Have you iced it? Are you taking anything like ibuprofen compared to tylenol. THe only reason why I ask that is because if you are taking ibuprofen that could be causing your swelling possibly and it isn't good for the fusion. Again I am sorry and I hope you will get better!
  • Have you returned to the surgeon for another follow up? Is it the incision for the bone graft that is weeping? Or is the area more of contact lesion from the rubbing of the brace? There are bandages that will not stick to the area, that you need to cover that area with while you have the brace on and allow it to air out when you don't.....and some antibiotic cream/ointment might help but first, make sure to get it checked out by the doctor to make sure that there are no signs of infection. It should not be weeping at this point, unless it is still constantly being irritated by rubbing of the brace...
  • thank you sandi and 102876. I applied antibiotic ointment and a bandage and also a wash cloth for padding and the site is scabbing. I found some info online suggesting peroxide may prevent a site from scabbing over so no more of that. Next appointment with surgeons PA is on the 25th. The coldness in right leg is becoming more frequent and more widespread now in calf and shin. I would not call it pain but it is uncomfortable. sciatica like symptoms still in left buttock and shin and occasionally tingling and cold in shin and foot. I REALLY hope it does not get worse. I vividly remember the sever sciatic pain I had in right leg pre surgery and don't want to gothere again. Thanks again!!!
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