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I am new here - had laminectomy april - another op needed!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:21 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi there

I have had a laminectomy on L4/5 in April 2008 and it was successful in releiving the numbness in my legs and bottom, but 3 weeks ago I found I couldn't stand up straight and - I have now got to go again as there is now some insability in the joint.

Has anyone else had this happen? I am in the UK.


Jo :)


  • Hopefully someone will post soon -

    I've not had the same problem, although the last few days before my fusion I had issues with standing straight. It was like my back was locked in this awkward crooked, very painful position and I could barely get around at times.

    Now I walk straight, the left leg pain is gone and even though I have a numb right leg now, I am very happy and doing very much better than pre-surgery.

    Good Luck
  • Hi saltzworks

    Thanks for your reply - funny I had my first operation because I had numbness in my left leg and the doctors told me it would eventually result in incontinence! :S

    The operation was a success from that point of view and in my opinion the surgeon did a wonderful job - but I just knew in my heart of hearts that this was going to happen as I always felt as if there was a slight slippage before.

    I am just hoping that someone who is post op - fusion with metal work (Don't know the techinical term for it - sorry!)will come here and tell me how they recovered and what they could do after. My walking is getting so bad now I am considering applying for a Blue Badge!! (Disability) :jawdrop:

    Thanks again for your reply!

  • I'm from the UK too, so it's great to meet you!

    I haven't had a fusion myself, but there is a strong possibility that I may be having one in the future. There are lots of people who have had fusions and they are completely successful so I always keep that in mind when I get really scared at the prospect!

    My surgery was different to yours, but after 3 and half years of doing well, something has failed and I have an instability and degenerative disc at L4/L5. This is not going to get better without some kind of intervention. It took me ages to get my blue badge so good luck with that! We had a backlog up here an it took over 3 months to get mine - it was a nightmare.

    If you want to talk more, please feel free to send me a private message or email. Speak soon, Spicey :)
  • My husband had an agressive multi-level laminectomy and partial discectomy in Jan07. Something went wrong at about the 2 month mark and he developed a significant lumbar scoliosis (spine collapsed some). The foot drop he had before surgery did not return so the first surgeon declared the failed surgery a success. Most of the doctors we saw following the first surgery said Chris was not a candidate for more surgery. I am incredibly stubborn and would not accept that. After traveling across country we fianlly found 2 opinions that matched. He had the surgery done 4 months ago at one of the Duke facilities and is now walking 4-6 miles most days. He has signs of fusion but the restrictions...no bending, lifting, twisting...are all in place for the first year b/c he is a revision patient. So far, so good. At 4 months he still has some pain that the OS says should go away as he continues to heal. The OS told us last week that he still thinks Chris can lead a normal life (including golf) after 1 year. He did say that Chris will always be a spine aging spiney and should never do something stupid (like trying to move a kid to college). If he can walk, laugh and play golf, noone will care if he can't move a kid to college.

    Go read Bruce's story. I think he had back problems for a long time before his fusion and he climbed a mountain post surgery. There is hope!!!


  • Hi Terri

    Thanks for your reply - The thought of being able to walk 4-6 miles a day is amazing!

    About 6 years ago I started to diet and by spring 2004 I had lost 5 and half stone - I then had another surgery (not spinal) and then within a few months I started to develop real probelms with back pain, and I then started to get progreesive numbenss in the right leg.

    Unfortunately - I am now only able to walk very short distances and at a slow paceso unfortunately I have put on a lot of weight which I know doesn't help. I feel if I can get my back fixed and I can start moving again it will be fine.

    Thanks for the encouragement. :)
  • Hi

    Just to keep you posted - I am still awaiting surgery! /:)

    I was referred by one surgeon to another (Apparently my first surgeon doesn't do this type of surgery) and I struggled to get an appointment to see him.

    Here in the UK the government have brought in a rule that if you are referred by your doctor (GP) you will be seen and treatment started with in 18 weeks, but as I was referred by a surgeon I fell outside this ruling and although I was referred at the end of July 2008 - I only got an appointment after going to the Hospital (80 miles away)and sitting in the waiting room until someone gave me an appointment - I was seen on 25 November.

    The surgeon I saw seem to know little about me and was very concerned about my weight gain. He wanted another MRI done with contrast which was done on Dec 22nd. I spoke to him today and he is going to see me in 3 months time in which time I am going to try and lose 2 stone (28 lbs) Hummm! :O

    He was pleased with the MRI as it showed that on lying down the back sinks into an almost straight position and can be easily corrected with pins and screws.

    In the meantime I have seen a physio in the pain clinic wo looked at the same MRI scan and said that the bones are stuck and not moving! X(

    So she changes my pain meds to Gabapentin and I will slowly work up to a dose of 900 mg a day and she believes that this will take away all my pain! Right Yeah sure!! :O

    I would love to hear from anyone who has simular experiences - especially post fusion or weight loss help. I am doing a lowcarb diet at the mo.

    Thanks everyone.

  • ...ending w/ PLIF for instability caused by the 1st 2 procedures...Mimi, I totally understand what you're trying to deal with, surgery-wise. No one wants more surgery, but if the lammy has left you w/ instability (as my lammys for surg #1 & #2 did) then a fusion should help make your spine stable again & eventually lead to less pain from excessive movement of those affected vertebrae. At least that's the "technical" explanation! In reality, I've found that yes, the fusion helped the spondy/instability but he also had to do another lammy during the fusion (along w/ other things + an iliac crest bone marrow harvest for the bone graft) so you need to ask about what else he's planning to do (along w/ the fusion) so you are prepared, mentally, for the long recovery period, etc.

    But yes, the fusion has allowed me to stand up straight again, walk 2-3 miles a day & generally made my L4/5 area much stronger. I do have some redsidual leg numbness, etc but I'm only a year out & NS said (when I saw him Wed) that the recovery is a full 2-years until you know what you have corrected & what remains that you'll have to "just live with".

    It sounds like you are doing all you can to be well-imformed. Fusion is a huge decision, but for those of us who had instability issues, it was (is) pretty much a necessity.

    Can't help you in the weight loss dept, as I have the opposite problem...! But I would think the less you weigh, the better, as it puts less stress on the fusion site & also the other levels if you are "lighter"... :)

    Good luck & keep us posted! Sorry for the long-winded relply, but we seem to have some of the same issues, & even at the same L4/5 level, which is a very "active" level of your spine, hence the pain from any instability there.

  • I am a post fusion UK patient.

    I had an unstable spine but was a difficult case!

    Not sure what to say about the weight gain - being immobile won't help you but walk as much as you can, within your limits and reduce your calories down to reflect your lack of output.

    What type of fusion are they suggesting? Interbody?

    Please be mindful that lots of people here are ppl with residual problems and the vast majority are busy getting back on with their lives.

    Good Luck!
  • I lost 45 lbs this year... I pretty much just cut down how much I ate at one time. I still eat junk and fast food, lol. I didn't actually cut down on purpose... My Wellbutrin SR kills my appetite, so a lot of times I have to make myself eat because I know I need to... Other times I just crave burgers or chocolate and eat it. For me, the key is not making forbidden foods. If you restrict yourself too much, it generally ends in failure. If you just cut down certain things, and certain times let yourself splurge, you should be good :)

    I'm sorry to hear about the wait you've got a head of you. That's gotta suck :( I used to take Gabapentin, and it did nothing but fry my memory. I still have a hard time remembering things. I'm always losing thoughts, and words just escape my tongue. I hate it so much. I was taking 1200mg a day for a bit, but ugh... It wasn't helping so I wasn't going to keep taking it and fry my brain some more. Lol.

    Good luck with your appt and your surgery! :)
  • Hey thanks for all of you who have come here and posted their stories - it is so encouraging to hear of others going through or have gone through simular things!!

    I now have lost 1 3/4 stone - and it is still coming off slowly - through diet and aquafit. This is the only exercise I can do as the pain is too much without the support of the water. I only manage about half an hour a week but I am hoping to make it twice a week soon. I get increased pain for about 24 hours after but then I usually have increased energy and less pain and I am able to walk much farther.

    I have also got a brace to wear for work (I do clerical work) and it has been helpful although it doesn't straighten my back as the it sits too high in my view but being a lady with a 'in and out' figure -the brace is unisex and doesn't fit exactly to my shape - but it is an improvement.

    Gave up with the Gabapentin - couldn't work or drive so had to give it up - but the vertigo attacks and odd sensentions I was feeling have abated and only occur if I allow my self to get very tired and or stressed.

    I have had an appointment through for a review next month - and I am hoping that he will agree that I have lost enough for him to do surgery. I was sent to see a dietician who looked very young(!) and didn't tell me anything I didn't already know - and wouldn't give me any advice on losing weight quicker in order to get surgery - in fact I got the impression she wasn't interested in the reason why I had been referred to her in the first place!! X(

    Sorry for the long post - but it seems to help to write it down and share it with others - I don't feel as though I am struggling alone. I try to keep to a normal life as possible and keep on working etc. But as you all know - it is a struggle some days.

    Thanks so much for bothering to read this! I do appreciate it!

  • Good to hear your update Mimijo,

    Sounds like you are on the right track with the diet. I read many posts here where people had to lose weight in order for the surgeon to touch them. But besides the wight loss, make sure you eat right, you want to be in good condition at the time of your surgery, as afterwards it may take some time to regain your appetite.

    Please keep us posted of your progress.

    Best wishes,

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