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Advice PLEASE- postop increased leg pain

anjuanaanjuan Posts: 236
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am just under 3 weeks out from my TLIF. Prior to my surgery I was having some leg pain in my right leg, but not much. I did mention it to my surgeon and right prior to my surgery he marked an x on my right thigh with a pen where I was having the pain.

Well, now the pain in my right thigh in that area is getting a lot worse. There are several times where I am having what feels like electric shocks, and other times it is just really sore and aching. My surgical and back pain are actually decreasing, but this is getting worse. I know that I am really early out still, but do you think this is worth calling my surgeon's office about? The reason I am somewhat hesitant to call is that my surgeon and PA (who are awesome) are on vacation until around Jan 3. He does have partners there who are covering, but one of them came to see me while I was in the hospital and I thought he was a jerk. Also, I do have a PT appointment tomorrow morning and the PT office is on the same floor as my surgeon so I could mention it to PT tomorrow. Should I call the surgeon's office or just mention it at PT tomorrow? Also, Do you think this is just this nerve healing?

I am just bummed out because I am really trying to decrease my pain meds more and I feel like I could do this with the back, but this leg is holding me back. :SS

I really would appreciate any and all thoughts on this. :SS



  • I had a similar experience, where I had increased pain and tingling down my leg after surgery. Mine seemed to disappear around week 10. I'm now at week 17 and have experienced this briefly once or twice in the past 6 weeks.

    I mentioned it to the PA at my 5 1/2 week appointment and she said it was not unusual, that it is typically due to inflammation pressing on the nerves. It usually clears up after the swelling and inflammation go down.

    It never hurts to contact your surgeon's office just to make sure, but chances are it's just a normal part of the healing process. :)))
  • a similar surgery and I am at about the same time line as you because I am one day from three weeks since I had a multi level PLIF. My surgeon, nurse, post op sheet, post op nurse...everyone has told me that there might be some increase in leg pain after surgery even in the leg I wasnt having trouble with before surgery. I have the same electrial shock feeling but I had that with knee surgery and it was as Mark said just the nerves dealing with inflamation post surgery. I was also told that the inflamation in the back could last nearly two months although by that point much less than what you have now. My leg actually hurts worse than my back currently but Ive been told over and over that its normal. If it is a major concern I would discuss it with your doctor as i cant feel how painful it is for you compared to what I personally feel in my own leg. It never hurts to ask Best wishes :)
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  • Hi Julie, I had increased leg pain after sugery (5 weeks) in the opposite leg as pre-op. I talked to my surgeon and got the usual answer. "It is normal". He said the nerves are all inflammed and angry from being manipulated and this sciatic type pain would come and go for a while. I have had it at intervals down both legs but more so on the opposite side as pre-op. It always worries me when it comes on, but so far it has gone away. Now that I have no restrictions, I do my stretches when I am having a flair up and it does seem to help. You are early out and I wouldn't be concerned about still needing pain meds. By all means, if you are concerned and want some reassurance, call those on call docs. Good-luck and keep us posted. >:D< Cali-Sue
  • I would ALWAYS call and report your symptoms. Don't worry every about "bugging" the nurse, that's what you just paid big bucks for. Always, always, always call.

    Chances are it is just normal postop inflammation. I remember getting "taser shocks" to my foot. Chances are you will get better. However, on the off chance that you are one of the lucky ones like Zach or me(I had BMP cause bone to grow on my nerve roots causing worse leg pain than before surgery), you should report the symptoms to the surgeon's office.

    If you have leg pain, don't let your PT have you do exercises that cause leg pain. Make sure you tell your PT your symptoms, too, they can be great to help you communicate with your physician. But, you need to call the doc's office too!
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