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post op l5-s1 genital/groin numbness...help!!!

waynuswwaynus Posts: 45
Dear All,

Bit of a dodgy subject to talk about but im going mad with the pain im suffering post op from a huge L5-S1 disectomy and decompression (left laminectomy) back in April 09. I had a caudial epidural and the docs reckon the disc totally herniated and i was not operated on for a week!!! I have since come off morphine and co-codomol and suffering nothing but pain.

Im getting pains in the groin and numbness in the left side of the scrotum and along the penis and left buttock is completly numb and down the rear of the leg. Regarding bladder funtion im not getting that strong urge to go to the toilet when im full and even when i do go i cannot feel alot...plus sexual dysfunction and feeling.

I have also been getting muscle spasms and pains in both legs and was admitted to hospital for a check up. I had an mri but it showed up no acute changes. The Ortho surgeon said it is sciatica but this does not feel like this to me and feels the nerves will settle down in due course and with yes you guessed it pain killers.

I feel like im being thobbed off by the docs but i feel i may have some possible nerve damage, has anyone else experienced this problems????

Any help and advice would be great

Kind regards,



  • i can imagine your concern.
    you have only been 3 months out of surgery. you have two good things going for you...a good mri and improved urinary function.
    for up to a year you can get weird sensations. they are caused by the surgery but dont necessarily mean nerve damage. i am afraid you'll have to wait it out. i had trouble with tingling and numbness in my stomach after lumbar surgery. i didnt have those troubles before surgery. but all that stuff went away. i think if it was my penis i would have been more concerned. i hope it will all go away.
  • I don't know what the word "thobbed" means...but I get the drift of your post. It seems like in almost every case after surgery, the surgeon tells the patient that the "nerves will settle down." In some cases, that is true...but I think in most cases, they simply do not know what else to say.

    If I were you, I would also be concerned and a bit unwilling to just sit around and wait and see what happens.

    It is not common, but in the case of a herniated disc, sometimes all the pieces are not removed at the time of surgery and the little pieces do not always show up on the MRI. Someone on the board had that problem. When the surgeon went back in, he found a piece of disc fragment pushing into the nerve. Unfortunately I can't remember who that was...sorry. Anyway, the fragment was removed, and the person recovered and is not pretty much pain-free.

    Not to alarm you, but please look through the information here: http://www.caudaequina.org/definition.html
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  • Ya your not alone, same general syptoms, but not as many, dang insurance wont pay for me to see a specialist. does it happen after sitting for a period? and get worse real quick?
    good luck too ya and dont forget to mention it to your doc.
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • I had decompression surgery 5 months ago for spinal stenosis on L3/4 L4/5 and L5/S1 Bilaterally. The doc forgot to tell me that there could be post surgical problems due to the fact that nerves are moved and replaced during the procedure. In the event I was firstly incontinent for two days post op and after that I could not pass water at all. I was catheterized with a Foley Catheter for two weeks. Following that I tested again to see if I could pass water by having my bladder filled through the catheter. That did not work either and I had to self catheter for the next month assisted by Flomax capsules. It took a month for me to get back to being able to empty my bladder on my own with the aid of a now permanent medication (Flomax). The urologist that I went to see told me that it is very common for people who have lower lumbar surgery to suffer in this way and in this general area due the muscle disturbance. In fact he has many patients who have a whole range of post op problems in this general area
    and it seems that there is no fixed time for a full recovery. If you are in any doubt perhaps you should see a Urologist as they cover the entire area that you are referring to and I am sure that will help you.

    Good Luck
    John B
  • Hi Pete,

    Many thanks for taking the time to write.

    Your spot on about the weird sensations especially in the stomach, funny enough ive been getting pains from the groin up into the left side of the stomach..weird sporadic pains that go, its just the constant numbness down below and the lack of feeling which is frustrating. Glad to hear your problems have settled and hope the pain is low!!

    thank you once again for replying.

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  • Hiya,

    Many thanks for taking the time to write.

    Firstly "thobbed off" means the dr is telling something so you go on your way but doesn't provide you with any helpful information. Sorry for my English slang phrases :-)

    Your spot on, they don't know what to say..it seems to be a waiting game and in the meantime take painkillers to resolve it..however time is the best healer!!

    Many thanks for the info of the details about the mri not picking up fragments of disc, sadly it shows you how much the health service rely on technology and interpretation of the visual findings..least the board member got it sorted out, sadly he/she had to undergo further surgery.

    I was looking into Cauda Equina which i appear to have alot of thd symptoms ie. saddle pain/numbness etc. My local dr was also concerned of this who wrote a strong letter to the ortho surgeon and questioned why my disc was not fused even though a disc bulge is still there. I am going to request a copy of my notes and mri's and take them to a neurologist.

    Many thanks again for your helpful comments.

  • Im not alone from all these posts...seems to be a huge problem in the US with health insurance. The UK is quite good at seeing a specialist but sadly takes along time to see one and whether they can sort you out is another matter!!!

    If i sit on any hard surface/chair the pain is instant especially in the groin and sharp pains along the genetalia. Even though my left buttock is numb i can still feel pain/bruising down the leg. I find i have to keep moving as the pain builds up..the left hip/sciatic nerve goes mad. Plus after sitting for a while my left calf is tight and the limp develops more and the increased numbness.

    the dr is going to put me on aniltriptiline (spelling probably incorrect) in the next 3 weeks to help with chronic pain. I have found diazipam helps especially at night to relax the nerves which seems to be at its worst.

    Bloody backs :-)

  • You might want to have an EMG and a nerve conduction study to determine if and where you have nerve damage. You could also figure out if you have a radiculopathy or if the pain in the groin might be coming from a peroneal nerve.

    Here is more info on CES:

  • for me (minus the penis...I don't have one, lol) but I've not had surgery yet. But my...ahem..crotch does get very numb and tingly and I have an occasional intense sensation down there that I can best describe as fire.....but that's not exactly it either. It saddens me to hear you are going through this post-op, because I have been lobbying for surgery in the hopes that it would remedy my discomfort. I find I cannot sit directly on my tailbone on any hard surface without my "stuff" going numb and tingly. Not to mention the leg/butt/hip pain. I hope things begin to turn around for you. How long exactly does it take to see a specialist in the UK? I chatted briefly with someone a while back who had been waiting months for an MRI. I thought I was being put off by waiting 1 week. I have a sister who is an OB/GYN and she is pulling string to have me see a colleague of hers (neurosurgeon) on this coming Friday. I am really trying to resolve my issues to retain some quality of living and to be able to work and be productive again. I'm asking, because, at this point, I'm not an advocate for socialized health care. I'm not sure that it's an improvement to our current system.
  • Yeah...I still get some nasty sensations in that area. Not often, but it's disconcerting when it happens. Hurts like hell. Not fire, more like pinching, and not the good kind. Stupid back stuff.
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