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Back surgery recovery and more surgery?

I haven't posted for a while but I had a lumbar fusion on July 25, 2014 and was doing well after 2 months. The fusion was due to spondolethasis at the L4/L5 level. In about mid October I started experiencing numbness and tingling in both quads. My Neuro Doc had me go thru a MRI and back X-rays. He said everything looked good. I didn't get better and my feet started going numb again. I've been in 18 mgs of gabapentin for 2 years and was hoping to go off it. That hasn't happened. My Doc told me in December I could go back on my antiinflammatories (molixicam). I also had an epidural on January 13th of this year. The epidural hasn't helped much. I'm a pretty active 63 year old. I hike, lift weights and do pilates. We walk about 90 minutes everyday. I'm scheduled for a bilateral transforaminal epidural at L3/L4 on Febuary 24 th. When I walk it's my quads that go numb and my right foot and entire leg numbs. I'm worried that I may have to have another surgery this year, a fusion of L3/L4. Has anyone experienced the area above the fusion going so quickly or was I maybe misdiagnosed at the onset and should have had both areas fused last summer. I so want my life back and to have a reduction of the pain. Thanx for the input. Barb


  • Hi, I haven't had a fusion but I had a "failed" surgery in September 2014. I had a L4-5 microdisectomy and foraminotlmy. For about the first month post-op wasn't too bad, although I did have severe pot-op pain which was hard to comtrol, but then the same pain and pjns and needles returned. PT didn't help very much neither did an additional 2 rounds of epidural injections. I had yet another MRI that did show I still had some buldging both above and below the surgical site and scarring aroung the epidural space at the surgical site. My surgeon didn't want to go back in right now since the first one didn't work the way we hoped. He didn't wamt to suject me to another declmpression and a possible fusion, I am only 30. He suggested that I try a spinal cord stimulator, which I am doing now, and if that can control my pain I won't need a second surgery ( other than the implant surgery) right now, though I may need one in the future. The SCS is working but my pain when it is off has increased exponetionally and I am also having pins and needles coming back in my hips and numbmess is back in my lower left leg. I want to address this before I go ahead with the implant, I doknt want the scs to act as a bandaid and just maske the pain and problem. Ask ur surgeon about maybe drying SCS.
    Best of luck
  • Unfortunately, the discs above and below the fusion surgery area have to compensate for the solid, inflexible area in between..... Everyone is different I suppose when it comes to how long those discs will last (or if they will ever fail), but 6 months post op in my opinion is far too soon.... And don't forget, a fusion can take up to a full year to fully fuse.

    That being said, clearly something is wrong according to those symptoms. It could be a number of things, including a fusion that is failing, but lets not get ahead of ourselves just yet.... You need to make the necessary appointments with your Doctors and proceed forward with that same process of elimination all over again. Until then, it's all conjecture.

    You have been through this before and you are still here. Try to keep that glass of water half full! Be strong and Soldier on!

    Sending healing vibes your way!


    PS Please keep us posted.
    Realize that FEAR is our worst enemy. Get up & get out in that stormy weather of the real world & kick fear in the teeth. Stare at it dead in the eyes & walk right through it into the storm; because once you're wet, you won’t fear the rain anymore
  • Thank you both for the comments. How does a Doctor tell if the fusion has failed? Can an MRI show that? Or an xray? Yes, I'm working hard to stay positive and will continue with exercising as much as possible. I have a great significant other who is very supportive. He took good care of me in my last surgery and if I have to go thru another one I know he will be there for me. I will continue to post updates on this site as I progress thru the whole process again. Barb
  • edited 01/25/2015 - 6:27 AM
    Hi everyone,
    My name is Erica. I'm 24 years old. In June 2014 I had an Anterior Lumbar Discectomy And Fusion With Posterior Fusion and Stabilization on my L3/L4 so in littler words for everyone unfamiliar with this medical term pretty much I was cut on both my belly and back at the same time and when I say my scars are so big I mean they cover from my hip bone area to under my breast both sides like to me that's a lot for on level just from what I've seen from others no one has got both sides done and their scars r much smaller then mine but I'm 7months out of back surgery and it has been hell I was in the hospital 7 then sent home for 2 days and ended up back in the hospital another 7 days due to an infection in my spine so right from the start has been bad but I never got pain relief since surgery I've been way worse then I ever was and I am now for the past month or so have no feeling in my feet or hands and my legs and arms going in and out of numbness when I woke up from surgery they did say I lost 90% of the feeling in my legs and they would always be pins and needles due to permit nerve damage they caused but now this is bad it feels like someone is shooting me in my spine where the surgical site is and it is shooting pain up to the base of my head and down my back to my bum cheeks and making my arms and legs hurt so bad I'm like tunneling can't breathe almost passing out and idk what could be causing this im on bed rest and have been since surgery so I have over did it I can't even stand straight and haven't been able to since surgery that's y I'm on bed rest so im hoping maybe someone knows maybe something because im so scared and don't know what to do I did get a new back surgeon cuz my old one really messed my back up and knew it so he kinda like told my to kick rocks that I wAs A hyper sensitive case and stopped seeing me but I can't get in to see the new guy any sooner then a month or so idk what to do all I've been doing is crying I haven wanted to eat at all either like it's just something is clearly going on bad and I'm on very high doses of meds and they help when I first take them but not like they were working before this started please feel me what u think I sh do or maybe could be going on thank you

    There is nobody on the forum qualified to give medical advice, all support will be based on personal experiences only
  • Doug HellDoug Hell Posts: 335
    edited 01/26/2015 - 2:29 AM
    I absolutely feel for you.... My concern is that you are still dealing with shooting pain all these months later.... I'm no stranger to this nerve pain. It is a debilitating pain that will beat you to the ground and leave you there....Clearly you are not on a nerve pain med that works for you . What meds are you on if you don't mind me asking? This info would help us to better help you through this..... What kind of high dosage are you referring to?

    Pain meds can do all sorts of things to your appetite. In my situation, many months ago, it hurt too much to eat, so I just didn't eat. The sky is the limit on this one.

    I think what you need to do is address your concerns with your Doctors. They are the only ones that can modify and/or change your meds. Take control of your life and tell them the same way you just told us. In the meantime, use heat on your back. I'm not sure if it will help you, but it certainly helps me when my back is acting up.... You can also try Aleve which is readily available. There are Tyenol 1's with codeine as well. You could also try "Lakota" which is a pain reliever you roll on. You can also buy pill form.....

    Sending healing vibes...

    Realize that FEAR is our worst enemy. Get up & get out in that stormy weather of the real world & kick fear in the teeth. Stare at it dead in the eyes & walk right through it into the storm; because once you're wet, you won’t fear the rain anymore
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