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Anyone successfully healed from a dural tear?

Will I AmWWill I Am Posts: 43
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:48 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
On Nov 11 I went in and had a Laminectomy and decompression done. I Woke up from surgery with a severe migraine, and the Nurses and Ortho resident said it could be from the anesthesia or a Spinal leak.

I was discharged the next morning. My migraine and I went home, and felt I was doing fine with the exception of the headache and drainage that was coming from my incision every time I got up.

I called my surgeon’s office, and his nurse told me it probably was a dural tear, and if it didn’t get any better, then call them back.

Of course it didn't, so I call the next day, and was told to go the ER. Got to the ER, and saw the ER doctor and was told to wait for an Ortho resident. The resident came in and advised me that they wanted to admit me for a FEW days so that I could lay flat on my back with a large compression on my incision with a FULL catheter.

While in the hospital I wasn't receiving my pain meds on schedule nor the calming medicine my doctor wrote in his orders. (I wasn’t very happy to say the least with all that was going on)

Finally, I couldn't take it anymore after a day, and told the nurse to remove the cath before I do it myself. I was about to turn into the Incredible Hulk and hulk-smash through every wall until I was outside.

She paged my surgeon, and he immediately came in and let me go home since it looked better. He was also very angry at the nursing staff for not keeping me comfortable.

3 days later my headache has come back and my incision is swollen. My question is this; has anyone self healed from a dural tear without medical intervention?

I am told not to move at all to use the bathroom or anything. Of course we all know…. I have to use the big potty a week after my surgery. We have all been there, and there is a fair amount of pain the first time you take the kids to the pool. How am I supposed to get that task done? He gave me a bed pan to wedge underneath myself, but let’s be serious, I am a 32-year old man, and I can’t just poop in my bed, so forgive me.

Sorry for the rant, but I am more than ticked off. I don’t want to go back to the hospital, because they take your meds that you are prescribed, then you have to depend on THEM to bring them to you every 2 hours.

That’s not 3, not 4, not 2 ½ either.

Thank you.


  • Did they offer to do a blood patch while you were in the hospital? As I understand it that is what they are supposed to do. It doesn't sound like the resident had a clue.

    Can you call your Surgeon again, he should be the one in charge of your care! Tell him that your care has been substandard and you don't know what else to do.

    Maybe of you go back you wil get better care? I know my husband had to scream at some nurses before- they are either very short staffed or lazy. My thoughts are the day nurses seem to be better than the night nurses when it comes to treatment.

    I just had a simple myelogram and my NS said if I got a bad migraine it would be a SF leak and to go to the hospital and he would perform a blood patch. He said they take some of my blood and pump into the area where the suspected leak is- it should congeal and stop the leak. I am wondering with your surgery if that is not an option?

    Feel better,

  • I am having decompression surgery this month and my surgeon warned me about the possibility of a dural tear. He said if I had a headache to immediately contact him and he would do a blood patch which was described exactly as Julie has above.

    I can't beleive you have been treated so inconsiderately....it beggars belief. I sincerely hope this is resolved for you as soon as possible. Take care of yourself.
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  • Just got back from a "black-ops" mission at the hospital. I went through all of the back corridors to get to the MRI room. Once there, a resident flipped me on my stomach and literally ripped my staples out right on the MRI table.

    Since it was an MRI room, they didn't have steri-strips, so he just slapped some gauze on it and flipped me over to lay on it for the MRI.

    MRI showed a dural tear and a puncture. Long story short, I have emergency dural reconstructive surgery tomorrow morning, and will be in the hospital for 4 days with a drainage tube and cath.

    I am angered beyond belief.
  • I had a dural tear that required a large patch that was fitted onto the dura like laying a big layer of tape on it. It took about 48 hours for it to "set" and then I was able to get up and about with the leak repaired.

    Sorry you've had such an experience. When I have those types of experiences I just use them as a lesson learned for myself and the medical staff. My hope is that in the future they won't allow a repeat of the bad stuff and only focus on ensuring the good stuff.

  • Sorry Will,

    Is there anything the hospital is doing to compensate you? Anger won't make you feel better I am sorry to say. Thank goodness they are finally doing something. You must be in terrible pain.

    Try to stay positive after this is over maybe you can talk to an attorney.

    Good luck and I hope that you feel better soon.


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  • I was wondering how you got on. Hope that you are all healed from the blood patch now and that your recovery is going well.

    Happy and Healthy New Year!!!
  • I didnt go through anything like you described but during one of my surgeries a orthopedic surgeon performed supposedly he " encountered" a dural tear and repaired it. since Ive had some sharp pain from time to time that escalates to a ripping feeling when I would move certain ways ( scar tissues? )

    I wont trust an orthopedic surgeon ever again with my spine or spinal cord. This is solely because of this experience. The worst part about it is this guy never said a thing to me about it. I found it in the surgical report myself.

    Keep us posted on what happens! I'm sorry to hear you have been treated this way.

  • Hello, sorry for the absence. I had emergency surgery on November 21 for a dural tear AND puncture.

    The surgery was called a "Dura Reconstruction", and was done by a neurosurgeon. He repaired everything, and inserted a tube just North of the repaired area. The tube stuck out of my back, and went to a machine that took so many milliliters of spinal fluid over a certain amount of time.

    I laid in the hospital for 7 days in very bad pain. I don't remember too much of the stay, but was told I wasn't very pleasant to be around. (MY BAD!!!)

    They sent me home with a PICC line sticking out of my left bicep because I now had a full blown infection in my spine.

    At the beginning I went to the hospital twice a day for my anti-biotic infusion, but ended up qualifying for home care. A nurse came out and showed my wife how to administer everything, and she took it from there. The infusions lasted 2 weeks.

    Today, as I sit here, am still very sore. They went in through the same incision as my laminectomy, so I imagine that has a lot to do with it. Hopefully I will be able to start PT soon, but they aren't releasing me yet.

    Sorry for the long post, just kind of an update. 3 back surgeries in 1 year. Is that a record for this site?

    AxiaLif 2 level fusion in January
    Laminectomy, Ligament removal, bone shave(to relieve nerves)
    Emergency Dura Reconstruction

    Happy New Year!!!! :)

  • Will I am, you have really been through the ringer!

    Hopefully now, after more than a month, things are improving and you are feeling better. The soreness should continue to disappear and hopefully before too long, you will really start to feel the benefit of your surgery.

    Has your infection gone now? I know sometimes, it can take a very long time to go. I had an infection of my incision after my surgery, which finally cleared up 6 weeks after surgery. I didn't need IV antibiotics, just tablets that did the trick.

    Now we are into a New Year, I hope it will be a Happy, Healthy and Healing one for you.

    This is the year you get your life back! <:P <br />
    I really hope and pray that for all of us. :D
  • These posts look to be a year old but one of the few I have seen on Dural Tears. I had mine 8 days after a microdisectemy and am now 5 days out from my dural tear repair. Two stitches and glue. I am scared to death I will do it again (surgeon says it was my fault for being too active after the microdisectemy). So I was wondering how the patient was doing and if I have a chance of a life again?
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