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Numbness and pain on right side from ribs to hip after fusion

I had my TLIF on March 1st at my L4-5.  When I woke up I noticed right away that I was numb down my right side and around my hip.  The feeling starts right below my ribs. The best way I can describe it is the feeling you get when your foot falls asleep and then the pain you get when you touch it or step on it.

I brought up this pain at the hospital and was told to not worry about it but they couldn't give me an explanation.  I asked at my post-op and was told the same thing (this was with my PA, not my surgeon).This last week I brought it up at PT and was told it couldn't be from surgery. 

It is very bothersome and I am getting frustrated that I can't get any answers.  Has anyone else had anything similar? Any suggestions on getting better answers? I am scared that it could be permanent because it isn't getting any better.



  • WLLadyWLLady Ontario CanadaPosts: 1,486

    I've had patches like this in several places since my surgery over 2 years ago.  for me it's the sensory roots of the nerve roots that got damaged (mine were damaged before surgery).  The fact that they are painful my surgeon tells me is good because they are still trying to work and a bit "confused".  Right now i have that all across my back at the top of my incision at T9, and then down my left side and over my hip from the bottom of my ribs, and a strip across my hips in the back that is supplied by L5.  If you look up dermatome maps you may find that your numb areas match the maps, and you can tell which nerve it is that is unhappy.  my nerve roots from L1 all the way to S1 were being crushed, so i have several...nerves heal so slowly.  mine are still healing, but i think maybe some of the numbness will by permanent now.  as long as my muscles work i'm pretty happy, but have to be careful with a heating pad and stuff....Hope they wake up for you!!!!

    Veritas-Health Moderator
    Dec '16 T10-S2 fusion with pelvic fixation. Laminectomies L2, L3, L4, L5, facet removal, cages L4-5, L5-S1, severe scoliosis, arthritis and stenosis repair. 

  • PearTree

    You are still very early in recovery from a very rough surgery, nerves were moved and stretched during surgery, muscles heal fairly quickly, but nerves take time, several weeks to months, and as Kathy said sometimes years, I have had 2 lumbar fusion surgeries, after both I had the same symptoms as you, as a matter of fact my hips hurt more than the surgical pain, the things that helped me the most were, ice packs and lots of them, walking as much as i could, in my case the numbness started to ease up at about the 8-9 week mark, the pins and needles feeling took a little bit longer, if I remember correctly about 3-4 month mark, but it did go away.


    Veritas-Health Moderator

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  • Thank you for your responses!  It's such an odd feeling.

    This was my 3rd spine surgery in the past 14 months. The other two were discectomys.  It's been a crazy year! I suppose I need to be more patient. I just really miss feeling normal and I am having a hard time accepting that I might not ever feel fully normal again.

    I will keep using the ice and I am walking quite a bit now.  I push myself every day to get a few walks in.  I also have a torn acl so now that is on fire since I am walking more.  I'm too young for all this! Haha

  • You have been through it, I had 2 lumbar fusions in 13 months so I somewhat understand, I also think having that many surgeries in such a short time delays the healing process, muscles were cut and nerves were moved around so much in such a short time that your body is wore out trying to recover, it took me about a year before I could say I felt normal, but I did, it just takes time and patience, you are probably tired of hearing that, but it's true.

    Stay strong and keep believing.


    Veritas-Health Moderator

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