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MLoMMLo Posts: 2
edited 12/16/2015 - 11:03 PM in New Member Introductions
Failed spinal fusion
I will try to keep the background story as brief as possible. I am now a 40 year old male, and went into this process in extremely good shape and strength. I had a ton of pain, but had still been able to workout (partly because I didn't realize how serious a problem I had. Approx 2.5 years ago, I was diagnosed with severe spondo at the L5-S1 level, due to small cracks on either side of the vertebrae. It was severe enough, that I was in fusion surgery less than a week later. At the time, I was so strong in my core, I was able to do quite a bit of activity in PT, but it would leave me in awful pain the next day. The pain was constantly shifting, never stayed consistent. I went to see a top spinal surgeon 500 miles away about 10 months post fusion surgery. He told me while the imaging looked as if fusion had been achieved, the symptoms were of a non-fusion. At the one year mark, he went in and found that I had not fused, and my lamina had become detached. He did a revision fusion surgery, and removed the lamina. Part of the surgery was to cut out the dead bone (not the actual medical name for it) that had not grown together. Previous to both surgeries, I had experienced numbness in my feet, but never any pain.

At around the 4 month mark, post revision surgery, I started getting extreme pain in my R foot, which has progressively gotten worse. It has now migrated from my heel and top of my foot, to the outer front portion of my shin at times. Prior to the surgeries, my R leg was significantly stronger than my L leg (due to a large number of prior knee surgeries on my L knee). At this point, my entire R leg has become far weaker than my left. I'm doing PT pretty consistently, but it has been really tough. Any exercises that use my back muscles tend to flare me up pretty bad. Same thing with movements involving my R leg.

I have been undergoing a series of steroid injections to my back, to try to calm down the area, including one today. Because of the scar tissue from the two back surgeries, they have typically been using a caudal approach. Today they tried a direct nerve block into the L5 and S1 nerves. There was a significant amount of scar tissue that the Dr had to go through to gain access, all the way in. I have been told by a neurologist that he feels like there is so much scar tissue, it has entangled the nerve running down to my R leg, and is squeezing the nerve. They have continued with the injections as they don't know how much of the pain has been caused by the inflammation, and how much is from the scar tissue. I have been told that any procedure to remove scar tissue will just cause it to grow back worse.

My questions for this forum are basically in reference to the scar tissue. I'm no expert in this field other than my own experience. I'm wondering if anyone has heard of or had any experience with procedures to remove scar tissue? Is there any level of success with such procedures? I am scheduled to undergo another MRI next month, but I'm just wondering if there is any hope for recovery with this much scar tissue. My function and pain levels have just been on a downward spiral. I am still trying everything i can to get through this, and come out the other side (cryotherapy, acupuncture, diet, PT, etc). But I'm making little progress, it's just like I'm running in place. Along the way, I am subjecting myself to more pain, the more I try to "work my way through it".

Any advice, experience, or thoughts on this are greatly appreciated. I thank anyone in advance for their comments.



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz -Spine-health Moderator

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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