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Help! Question about post-op infection

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had emergancy sciatica and resulted in a Laminectomy of L4 & L5 on April Fools day. I was in the hospital about 4 or 5 days after surgery and went home. I felt good for maybe about 4-5 days and thought my years of pain were over. Then my lower back started hurting/aching. Across the lower area, steady and worsening. Sometimes I would have shocks too. I told my back Dr., but all he was worried about was whether or not I was having sciatica down the leg. I wasn't so he said the rest was normal pain. But it didn't feel normal to me. My regular Dr. didn't want to refill my pain meds and thought it was in my head or just body still needing them. So I went in to see him again this week, he was more helpful this time and suggested since the back Dr. was unwilling to explore what was going on, that they get me into see another back Dr. for another opinion. So they finally found one who agreed to see me and requested a new MRI so they could see what was done and where we were at. I did the contrast MRI yesterday and the Tech showed me exactly what the issue was. One the MRI it showed plainly the dye from the inscision pointof the surgery all the way in and wrapping around into the spinal area. Exactly where the "knife/scope" would have been at surgery. He said I won't need a 2nd opinion now, it is very obvious what the problem is. Infection being the most likely culprit. He said he could send a prelim emergency report to my Dr that day, and they would get the full fax report the next day, being today, a Saturday. So when I left I called the Dr to tell him and found out that he was off and won't be in until Monday to see any of it. His receptionist was no help at all to me. I have an overnite trip about 5 hours away from my home on Sunday night, and have decided to go ahead and make the trip because it is a fun one.

I am worried because from what I have seen on the net, it looks like discotitus perhaps. That looks like 4-6 weeks of IV meds. Is that correct? Is that outpatient? Will they have to go in and dig or drain the infection out? I am looking for anyone who has had a fluid or infection build-up after laminectomy surgery.

Also, doesn't it seem like a form of malpractice for the back DR. to not have a test done to confirm if I had this infection after I obviously showed the signs of it. I know it is rare, but it happens. I feel so let down by him and on my own at this point. Am I in any immediate danger from this? Will I end up back in the hospital?

Thanks for letting me join and look forward to anyone who has been through this. I need to put my worried mind at ease.
Sherri in MO


  • I have been told that I may also have discitus (MRI-showed)-they said to get a wbc scan to see if that was what it was. My primary did not even want to order the test for me! She said that I would have a fever if I had an infection. But-yes, the IV antibiotics are outpaitent. I am having surgery soon-I guess we'll find out for sure then!
  • What are you having surgery for?
    It says that most people don't have a fever and the tests don't show positive consistantly either. This site under the all pain a-z, under laminectomy, show that infection usually requires surgery clean-up and iv antibiotics.
    I have read alot about making the determinations, unless they grow the spec for many many days, they won't get the right result. I would ask another Dr. if I were you. Everything I have found say that the MRI is the best way to tell.
  • That is what I have read too. I have not had surgery yet-it is aug 5th. I went for a MRI and the radiologist called my doc while I was still there to tell her that he thought I had an infection. She ordered blood test (which I have read does not show the infection) and she ordered another mri-for 6 weeks later. I am gonna change primary docs as soon as I can get through this surgery! I have had lots of trouble with her. My NS was concerned about the infection too (since I am about to have the surgery) but he just told me to bring in the blood test results to my pre op appt. Do these docs not have access to the internet?!!! Sometimes I wonder. I guess-(hope) that he will see the infection (if there is one) when he opens me up and he can do something about it then. I have heard that it is not something to put off treatment on. Hope you get better!
  • Oh-I forgot.. I am having surgery for ddd.... . I am having a TLIF (with the metal cage)on L4-S1. I also have a spinal tumor (notochordal rest-they suspect)-he may biopsy it while he is in there.
  • I just noticed that your name is sherri-that is my name too-spelled the same way! (shay is my nickname)
  • have you had any out breaks on your skin. if so it could be MRSA i just went thru a fusion at t12/l1 and developed mrsa a short time later.
  • 2 level fusion on 7/28. just diagnosed last week w MRSA. had a pick line installed and do intravenous antibiotics 3x day. no fun at all
  • How frequently do superficial MRSA infections cause spread into the bloodstream or ACDF hardware? I can't believe I am dealing with this...The surgery itself was traumatic enough, I think the MRSA is the straw that broke the camel's back, or at least my psychological state.I am so depressed :( Is there a way someone could message me who has gone through this...I feel so isolated...Thanks..Amy
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