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Cortisone Injections for Scar Tissue


I am a new member, but I have been finding answers and help for my issues for over a year, so grateful for other people's insights and shared experiences. I have unfortunately, not been able to find answers for my newest issue, and I decided to become a member to see if I can find advice from those who may have had similar issues. 

In June 2016, I found out I had a severely herniated disc at L5S1. My orthopedic surgeon looked at my MRI and wanted to operate immediately. After the laminectomy/discectomy, I felt so much relief and was grateful. I returned to work after 3 weeks. A few short weeks later, I felt the all too familiar leg pain, and returned to the surgeon. Those MRI results showed a reherniation AND a CSF leak from the disc fragment impaling my nerve. I had surgery again in September of 2016. Things have been going well until about 1 month ago. My leg pain has returned and is now in both legs. My recent MRI shows there is scar tissue wrapping around my spinal nerve (he cannot actually see the images yet, just got the report from the radiologist). My surgeon set me up with his colleague for a cortisone injection. When making the appointment, I asked if this would help with the pain I am having, and the PA told me "its like a band aid- it will help for a little while". This seems like a waste of time to me. 

I am feeling pretty hopeless right now. Should I seek a 2nd opinion with a neurosurgeon? Will cortisone injections work at all? I am so tired of being in pain. 



  • I can't speak from personal experience with cortisone, but my brother had it done in his shoulder and he's pleased with the results, but on the other hand a friend of mine had it done for a collapsed disc and he screamed so loud that the doctor ran out on him, and the benefits only lasted for 3 days. I also have an uncle who gets cortisone in his back twice a year and he's good to go, so it's kinda hit and miss, it may help You, it may not, but it is far less invasive than surgery, so you don't have much to lose by trying it.

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,479

    welcome to spine-health

    i agree with badbackjack, it may help, it may not, everyone is different. just like any other injections, some work, some don't. 
    i have never had injections for scar tissue but i have had different injections over the years and only a couple has slightly worked.
    it's also not going to hurt to get a second opinion. you need to be comfortable with any decision you make, even surgery or injections.
    please click on the welcome link below for more information.

    welcome to spine health

    all new members should take the system tutorial 

    take care and keep us posted on how you are doing.
    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator
    Please read my  Medical History
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  • catapamcatapam AustriaPosts: 157

    "scar tissue wrapping around my spinal nerve "

    I am a bit confused with this statement 

    Some doctors are very good in explaining their failure to perform a good job

    I also have scar tissue and is very common after spine surgery as I understood 

    In my opinion if surgery is properly done then should not be immediately followed by second one, then third one, then fusion and so on

    The doctor should understand what is going on

    So, yes, a second opinion could help

  • waltfwaltf Austin, TXPosts: 19

    Hi Susan,

    I am also in the unfortunate group who have had a re-herniation a short time after a discectomy, followed by issues with pain from scar tissue.

    In my case my first re-herniation was the day after my first surgery (first surgery on Monday, second surgery on Thursday) and then re-herniated about 4 weeks after that (third surgery about 8 weeks after first surgery). I finally had a fusion 7 months after the first surgery to stop all the re-herniations.

    I also ended up with lots of scar tissue, although they said mine was 'adhered to the nerve roots' so that as I move, the nerve roots do not move around like they should as they are tethered down by the scar tissue (which causes pain).

    I have had a number of Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections (ESI) but, for me they have never worked.  The only relief I have ever gotten was the couple of hours due to the lidocaine (or other local anesthetic) mixed in with steroid injection.

    I have also tried Epidural Lysis of Adhesions, which also did not work.  This is where they go in just above the buttocks, at a shallow angle along the epidural space (guided by flouroscopy imaging), with a catheter and try and break up the scar tissue, both mechanically with the tip of the catheter as well as by injecting hypertonic saline, hyaluronidase and steroids.

    The problem with scar tissue is that any surgery to try and remove it will usually just end up with more scar tissue. Even if the Lysis of Adhesions had worked I would still have to have had it done a few time a year, same with ESI.  These things are not cures, just short term relief and only you will be able to make the call on whether the quality and length of the pain relief (if any) is worth it.

    But, fingers crossed that steroids work for you and you get some longer term results from them!

    L5-S1 Discectomy
    L4-L5 Discectomy (four times)
    L4-L5 TLIF Fusion
    L3-L4 Posterolateral Fusion
    Revision L4-L5 Posterolateral Fusion
  • RickallenRRickallen MichiganPosts: 91

    HI and welcome. I only had 1 shot And that was just long enough to hold me tell I had my surgery. There right its like a band aid it only last so long .mine lasted 3 weeks then I had to hurry the surgery up my legs gave out on me and I could not walk.That was that was 14 years ago. But sense DEC. of this year I have had 2 more surgerys the frist one falt so I had to go back in and have bone spurs and other bone removed to unpintch the nervers.. I did go threw 2 dr. befor I found one I could trust .its rough going threw this.Good luck

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