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Need your input, please!!!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi, Everyone--

I'm sort of new to this site, I've only posted a few times. But, I would really like to ask you all for your advice and info about your experiences. I'm not asking for any medical advice; I know the "rules" about that; [( I just need some ideas about how to procede.

In September, I had a PLIF L4-S1. I had this surgery after 2+ years of pain in my left hip area, along with pain/numbness which "traveled" down the lateral portion of my left leg, into my 3 smallest toes.

I did fine for a couple of months post op, although I kept having what I called a sense of "heaviness" in my hip area of my back, esp. on the left side. Then, about a month ago, I started having severe, excruciating pain in my left butt cheek. The OS told me it it was b/c that was the area of the bone graft harvest site. He gave me Neurontin and told me to continue my Soma, Pecocet, and Celebrex. The pain has continued. Now I have excruciating additional pain in my hip area, the exact same place I had it prior to surgery, only it is much worse. Before surgery, I could at least stand up for a little while and walk through a grocery store. Now I cannot walk to my mailbox & back without extreme pain. I also have the numbness & pain in my leg again.

The OS sent me for a myelogram & CT scan. The doctor there told me I have a "pinched nerve." I felt so relieved that something had been found to be causing the pain that I didn't question him any further about it. But, when I saw the OS the next day, he told me he doesn't see anything on the films nor in the report that would explain the pain I am having. However, the report that I have a copy of says something about a "vacuum disc phenomenon" (whatever the heck that is!) "at L4-5 and L5-S1." It also says "right posterior bulging/disc osteophye compltex L5-S1, left posterior buling disc L3-L4 associated with prominent left posteriolateral fat" (does that mean I have a lot of fat there?), "small left posterior protruding herniation L1-2 without neural compression", and "left convexity lower lumber scoliotic deformity."

One part of the report further reads "There is asymmetric decreased filling of the right S1 nerver root sheath. Best appreciated on the reconstructions, right posterior disc bulging/osteophyte complex is present. This is in conjunction with the medial aspect of the L5-S1 facet may slightly compress the S1 nerve root."

OK, my OS says he doesn't think ANY of that is causing my pain! However, I am now in much more pain than I was prior to surgery! I cannot sit very long or stand up very long or walk very far without excruciating pain. I have to sleep in a recliner, b/c the bed is just agony. I am now taking Oxycontin 40 mg 2x a day, plus Soma 4x a day, and Neurontin 300 mg 4x a day. NONE of it helps! It just zonks me out.

I am tired of either hurting or being asleep. The OS wants me to go for an ESI at L3-L4.....but I don't really want to do it, as all of the ESI's I had before did NOTHING to relieve any of my pre-op pain, which was no where near the post-op pain intensity.

Does anyone have any ideas or a similar experience? I just want to stop hurting and to be able to do all the things I had surgery to be able to do! ~X(

Your input is greatly appreciated!!



  • I am so sorry to hear that you are in pain again, and this time it is worse. With all that stuff you posted from your MRI surely there is something there to explain it. I have found in my life that some doctors are quick to medicate and it's not really there intention to do so, but sometimes it can be the case. I have had it done COUNTLESS times, and in my experience I had to get "pissy" with my docs so they would hear what I was actually saying. I used to be the patient that was in the dark, took there word as being gold because they had the degree, then after a few mishaps I dont let them do anything without the third degree haha, im a pain in the rear patient. Also if I am not satisfied with there answer I research what I am feeling and I come at them with some knowledge. Typically they start to listen and then we start making progress. Maybe you need to get...pissy with the doc. I dont know your situation with him. But with all that in the MRI I would be asking what the hell do you mean NONE of this is causing me to be in pain and WHY do you just want to medicate me, find another test and find out what's wrong its your JOB. Thats me though. Best of wishes, let us know how things progress.
  • a few days ago I started having some of the same pains. I've talked to my dad who has had massive back issues since an on the job injury in the military 30 yrs ago. he said it might be the nerves starting to heal after being messed up for so long prior to the surgery. my understanding is that it will hopefully go away. I've found today that a nice hot shower and letting the water just flow on my back and legs helps a lot. hope it helps.
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  • ....shouldn't I have felt that before now? I had my surgery on Sept. 16, so it's been 14 weeks. This pain did not start until about 3-4 weeks ago. I know when I had my ACDF I hurt immediately & intensely after surgery at the bone graft harvest site, which gradually got better. I'm just confused as to why I didn't have pain before now. Even in the hospital, the nurses commented that I wasn't using the pump very much. I didn't need to use it for pain, just when I wanted to sleep. I also forgot to mention that I have a VERY high tolerance for pain, several doctors have mentioned that to me, so for me to say I'm hurting means it REALLY hurts! :''(

  • Hi Robin,
    I hope you get relief soon. I think if I was having the same problems, I would get a second opinion. Especially, since you have the MRI. The surgeon that did my fusion on the C5/C6 did not seem to want to discuss my L4/S1 issues. So I moved to another doctor that saw my problem and would help with the pain. I was fustrated at first, because I liked the surgeon that operated on my neck, but now I am very happy with my new doctor and he is working to help me, and he is trying very hard to not take me to surgery. Take care.
  • Did your doctor use BMP during your surgery? This is a compound that helps bone grow between the vertebrae(fusion.) Sometimes things go wrong and the bone grows in weird ways and can compress a nerve. Since your symptoms started a few weeks after surgery, that would be a classic time for BMP induced bone growth to cause nerve problems, and you have some sort of boney growth going on(osteophyte.)

    If you had BMP used, it could be the culprit and that would mean that the boney growth needs to be removed as the bone is not growing in the right place. Please post if you had it used.
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  • I don't know if he used BMP or not...I will have to ask. By the way, the testing I had was a CT & myleogram, not MRI. The OS said an MRI would show too much "scatter" (whatever that means) to be helpful. I have been trying to research additional testing (via internet). Does anyone know if an EMG or NCV test would be helpful? Thank you all so much for your input!
  • By the way, the osteophyte is on the right side, my pain is on the left.....

    I didn't post the whole of the CT/myleogram report...the whole part where it mentions the "posterolateral fat" part reads as follows:

    "Left posterior bulging disc L3-4, possibly a small protruding herniation. This is associated with prominent left posterolateral fat. These two findings displace and compress the left L4 nerve in the left lateral process. I cannot determine if the epidural fat represents epidural lipomatosis or may partially represent placement of a fat graft."

    Huh??? Anyone have any idea what THAT means?
  • Some surgeons take fat from your backside and place it around surgical sites in your back because they believe it helps prevent scar tissue formation.

    In my opinion, a CT myelogram might show more in your case than an MRI. The hardware creates interference called artifact that makes it difficult to see exactly what's going on sometimes.
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