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5 months +post op PLIF and worse pain that before with lump over hardware?

tristanuttristanu Posts: 10
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:20 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello....I'm really frustrated because i have been fighting this back pain for so long, and have so many things wrong with my spine that it seems hopeless. Anyhow on Feb 25th 08 i had a posterior lumbar interbody fusion with titanium hardware. I did have a lot of post op pain, but mainly from the incisions and muscles being cut. I did ok for about a month, then the pain just started getting worse and worse, especially at the S1 level where the last 2 screws are. I feels like its going to explode in there, and i cannot stand to drive very far or sit long at all. My leg pain has returned in full force and is worse than pre-op and my back pain is hard to deal with. I have spoke to several docs, and all have different opinions. My real question i guess is this, my low back over the incision seems to be a lot hotter than anywhere else on my spine (remember 5 months out) and on the left side over the hardware it is really hard for the length of the rods, but the right side soft. Also above the left side there is a lump in my muscle tissue, i don't seem to be having spasms, but the pain inside and nerve pain is hard to control. I am really regretting having this operation and am losing hope as i am only 26 and have another fusion for the next 2 levels above to be fused soon. I don't want to if it won't help and make me worse like this one. What could cause this heat...and the return of my leg pain, and shouldnt the pain have reduced some, i am calling the surgeon on monday morning and scheduling an earlier appointment than august 8. I just wonder if anyone else has experienced this or anything like this, please respond. This is so hard to deal with trying to work like this to support my wife and 2 children. please...


  • I had the same surgery on June 24th. I had alot of pain prior to the surgery and post-op the only pain I felt was from the incision and cut muscles. I noticed when I got home that there was a lump over the area on my back where my hardware was. It was raised so much that it rubbed against my brace and hurt. I had to put a face cloth up under the brace where it was rubbing and it worked. Finally after 3 or 4 days of doing that the lump went down. I just figured it was inflamation. As of now the only pain I have is if I walk for a long time, my hips start to hurt.
    Maybe your bump and the heat are coming from one of the screws placed too close to a nerve therefore causing the inflamation. That could also cause the leg pain. It wouldnt hurt to ask your doctor about it. He could find out if thats the problem by taking an MRI or CT scan. If that IS the case they could just go back in and move the screw to another area.
    At 26 you ARE very young and shouldnt have to live in such pain. Speak to your surgeon and voice your concerns.

    I hope you get your answers soon and have some much needed pain relief.

    I'll cross my fingers for you,

  • hi! Ive just went through the worst experience in my life about 6 weeks ago I understand you hestiation to go through it all agian especially if You feel The first didnt start to resolve the problem. Im 36 yrs old ,and that to is way to young to being having these type of surgeries,but in my case,and probably yours two had to be done. If you dont feel comfortable or your not getting the answers to your questions about whats happening with your surgery, please go see anohter orthopedic surgeon doesnt hurt to get ohter opinions if your having doubts .It took me a couple of surgeons to end up with the one I have now. I had to ask myself a few questions when or after seeing these surgeons ?. 1) do I feel like he has my best Interest at hand, 2) do i feel comfortable talking with him or does he listen to my concerns about the surgery. 3) overall after all that what I mentioned I had to ask Do I Trust Him?.
    I Understand what your going through I would of wanted to cancel my surgery also, but the surgeon did everything on the same day. Anterior spinal fusion L4-5,L5-S1 then Posterior Spinal fusion L4-5 so i didnt get a chance to??.lol. what you described though sounds like a Infection but after 5 months??? strange. I dont know

    Degenerative disk disease,stenosis. spondyalistis?
    cortisteriod Injections 2x, physical therapy (Traction,tens ),Anterior Spinal fusionL4-5,L5-S1 with bone grapths. Posterior spinal fusionL4-L5 with all the titanium and rods,screws.
  • Hi I had a pLIF last Oct 07a nd wentthrough this same thing.

    When I read your story I saw me too.

    On April 23rd 2008, after 6 glorious months of absolutely no pain- except post op- I felt a pull on right buttock side.

    By next day groin, piraformis, right leg , right back etc - all in pain again.

    Now in Pain Mangement. Trying 6 weeks of various steroid shots and then will try nerve abalation. If not, PM says SSCS transmitter.

    I was told by the neuro my spine " settled" - I do not get it either- why did the rods and screws not stay in place.??

    Yet neuro tells me I am fused.

    I empathize with you. I have had back pain since age 32. I am 61 now. So I know what it is like to lose a lot of your life at a young age to pain.,

    I I also have had nerve blocks all these years and anti inflamatories etc. I worked in pain until I retired at age 49 when I came down with an immune disease that caused constant sinus pnemonia etc .

    Itis called PIDD. After1 3 yrs I was correctly diagnosed andnow get gamaglobulin every 3 weeks.

    This is a hard thing to take and I understand exactly what you are feeling. Pain affects all of your life.

    With blocks , I am off pain meds as I had a horrible experience with one of them- besides all the pain.

    Hang in there. there has to be a solution!!!!

    Sharpie 6p RI
  • Hey all, thank you for your comments, it helps to have somebody elses opinion as well as their thoughts, as i really don't have anyone to talk to that understands my problems. They all say your too young for this, as if because of my age i should be able to deal with it better. But i have 10 discs total that are bad in my neck and spine. Anyhow i called my surgeon and told his assistant what i told you all, she said i could not get in until next week. But to my surprise i got a call at about 2:00 pm today, and he said he wants my butt in his office at 10:15 tomorrow. so there must be some concern to the situation. I just hope we find out what the problems is, i was hoping this surgery as much hell as it has been, would have given me some relief by now instead of worse pain. I will keep you posted about how the appointment goes, god know the trip up there is not going to be fun, hour and a half drive really hurts. So again thanks for the info talk to you later
  • it is great that your surgeon is being responsive to your call and that he will see you tomorrow. i hope you are able to find a solution (at 28 i know what it feels like to feel 'too' young...)
  • Keep us posted.

  • Dont forget to take the list of qiestions with you and TICK EACH ONE OFF as you get an answer. It is easy to miss a few and kick (or try to ) yourself later.
    I hope all goes well.
    Blessings Sara
  • Hello all,
    I just got back from my surgeons office, took some new x-rays and did not look good, there was a little more bone growth in the center of my vertebrae, but the cage on the left side is about 3/8 of an inch above the one on the right, giving the look as if it broke up into my l5 vertebrae. Told the doc what was going on, and right away he set me up with a cat scan with contrast or in other words a myleogram. Not really excited as i hate having needles put in my spine as much as i am used to it, i still do not like it. He suspects my disc above my current fusion has ruptured more and is now requiring fusion, the fusion i asked and pushed for when i had the last one. Makes me mad because it seems as if this all could have been prevented somehow. The drive up there took it out of me pretty bad, my pain level is sky high right now, just took some meds hope they kick in soon. Well anyhow friday ill get the myleogram and find out the results the following friday. Then we will decide what way to approach the problem. Im really just sick right now that it looks like i will be having a second fusion in less than 6 months. And maybe a revision. What a crazy world it is, never at 26 would i think my life would be half over, might as well be the opposite at 62 for the condition of my body. If anyone has any info or comments please do tell or leave them, i don't know what to think right now, other than uhhhggg....
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