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Advice needed l4/l5 laminectomy discectomy 20 days post op no follow up appointment made with NHS ye

mazza74mmazza74 Posts: 21
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:47 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi my name is Marie. This is my first message on this forum.It's a long message so my apologies in advance but really need advice from others in the same/similar situation. I am so glad to find others to help me but also feel very saddened that so many of us are out there.

On 17th September 2010, I had emergency l4/l5 laminectomy and discectomy for a broad based disc bulge (slipped disk) that was causing some of the red flag warning signs for cauda equna. I was rushed to the QE hospital in Birmingham Uk. I also have another slipped disc and degeneration at L5/S1 but only L4/L5 was treated - to my knowledge.

I was allowed home after a day and half as I could just about hobble to the bathroom. I found it difficult passing urine at first but now this is no longer a problem and I know when I need to urinate. But I am having constipation issues, but was warned that this may be a problem as they have given me codeine and paracetamol to control the pain. I am currently only able to 'go' once or twice a week despite having been prescribed laxatives by my GP.

Before I was discharged from hospital I was told that an out patient appointment would be made and sent through to me within 2 weeks of my discharge. It is now nearer 3 weeks and I still don't have an appointment date sent to me. I telephoned the consultants secretary and asked if an appointment was made for me and she said that I may not need one and would look into and get back to me... this was a week ago and I have not had a reply. I don't know whether I should call her back or not. It seems a bit odd to me that I would not have a follow up,she also said that the nursing staff on the ward should have made an appointment for me, yet they told me that the secretary would do it and post it to me. Surely I should have some kind of follow up after a laminectomy especially as I had the early warning signs of cauda equina syndrome? What are your thoughts/experiences? And how long after this procedure did you have a follow up with the consultant?
Anyway, I have now had a physio therapy appointment come through the post for next tuesday the 12th October at my local hospital (Russells Hall) but still no follow up with the consultant in Birmingham.

Normally I wouldn't be worried, but there seems to be little improvement in terms of pain and back spasms since the op. I am getting increasingly concerned as straight after the op and for the first 3 to 4 days the pain seemed to have gone in my legs (which is why I was allowed home). However it is now back, and I cannot walk very far before my hip, thighs, calves and feet hurt. I have difficulty lifting my left leg and for the past 3 days each time I have tried to put on my left sock my back has gone pop and had a painful muscle spasm. I don't know if this is part of my recovery or whether it is something I need to get investigated further. At the moment I feel as if the hospital I had the surgery at have forgotten me.
Help, what would you do next and what should I expect in terms of appointments, pain, physio etc. (My original expected return to work date is just 3 weeks from now.)

Many thanks.


  • Marie I'm in the US so I don't know exactly how your health system works. Here you would have had a follow up with the surgeon about 7-10 days after surgery to have stitches or staples removed.

    Considering how you feel I think you need to call that secretary again and get an appt immediately. They really should know what is going on.

    As far as the constipation...how much are you walking? Alot of times post-op we sit around which makes your system slow down. Did they give you any instructions when you left the hospital?

    If I were you I would push for more answers. Good Luck and let us know what happens.

  • First, welcome to Spine Health. I am glad that you found us, and hope that we will be able to help and we will certainly support you through the recovery. :H

    I am also in the UK and had a laminectomy with fusion on L4/L5 back in March of this year.

    Firstly, have you had your staples/stitches out yet?
    Perhaps you had them taken out by someone other than your surgeon.

    You mention that while you are trying to put your sock on you are getting pain and muscle spasms. Are you bending your back? What instructions have you been given while you are recovery. People here can tell you what they were told, but often each surgeon has slightly different ideas (some are more cautious than others), as they know what they did and what rules are needed. For this reason, you need to have directions and restrictions by the surgeon who did your surgery.

    As you are still having pain and back spasms, and don't have an appointment yet, I would contact your surgeon's secretary and let her know. Tell her of your symptoms and let her know that the nurses on the ward said that she would make the follow up appointment, and so you are afraid that you have been missed.

    I think this is a case of the squeeky wheel getting the attention. Be a squeeky wheel!! ;)

    If you still can't get any joy, I would make an appointment with your GP and ask them what you should do. They may contact your surgeon and ask for an appointment for you.

    I hope that you get to see someone soon. I can imagine that this is a worry as you want to hear that all you are experiencing is normal.

    Do let us know how you get on. :-)
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  • Thanks for your responses I don't know why but I seem to have lost all my confidence in seaking help lately.
    Your replies spurred me on..I have just managed to get through to the secretary of my consultant.... I have explained what is happening and she is going to pass it on to the consultant. I reminded her that I am awaiting a follow up appointment and that I had spoken to her about this previously. She told me that they are dealing with a 'floor-full of paperwork at the moment'... is this supposed to make me feel at rest!?! She has taken my details again so I guess I can wait and hope I hear back from them soon.
    I think I will make an appointment with my GP anyway as she is pretty good with these things... I will keep you posted what happens.
  • hi marie

    I would get onto the secretary asap and ask what is the consultants normal practice in regards to follow ups. I was seen and discharged 6 weeks post op (i then had to be re-referred 3 days later as i began experiencing problems, which i still have to date ). Another alternative is to call the ward you was discharged from, although your records may have been filed and removed from the ward.
    Im from Lancashire, but i wouldnt think the trust in your area would be much different in post-op follow ups.

    Being yours was an emergency, i would question definately if your surgeon see's emergency's earlier than elective surgery patients.

    carol x
    L5/s1 discectomy & decompression 2009
    ALIF l5/s1 2011
    Awaiting X-ray & consultant to see if fused, but experiencing a lot of pain again :( 2013
  • Thanks for your messages. I have been going for weekly hydrotherapy sessions for 4 weeks now, which seem to help a little but leave me very sore for half a week afterwards.
    Dare I say that the back spasms have subsided now?!
    But some good news is I have finally got a follow up appointment through to see the consultant next week... that will be 8 weeks post surgery!
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