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Internal Scar Tissue

airborne72airborne72 Posts: 245
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:52 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Just curious everyone - has anyone had issues with scar tissue developing internally after a spinal fusion?

My fusion was performed in late January 2011. For the past three weeks my legs have felt like I just completed a marathon (I use to be a runner so I use that as my pain barometer). I did not have this discomfort for several weeks after the surgery, it just beset me lately.

Anyway, I had my second post op consult with the surgeon on Monday of this week and shared that with him. He checked both feet and said I had a strong pulse. I then told him that I have a history of developing scar tissue internally after surgery. He ordered another MRI and prescribed a dose pack of steroids. Had the MRI done on Monday evening and just finished the ROIDS. He will review the MRI and consult with me on Tuesday of next week.

Incidentally, my history of developing scar tissue involves the palm of my hand (Dupytrens Contracture release X 2) and in my urethra (radical prostatectomy). I have had to have multiple outpatient surgeries to cut the scar tissue out of my urinary tract. When I explained this to the surgeon he really started listening.

As I told him, I am not "borrowing trouble" but I don't want to ignore symptoms in my back that have plagued me after other surgeries. Again, has anyone experienced the development of internal scar tissue after a fusion that impacted their nerves?


  • I have had 4 back surgeries, 3 of which were fusions and I have an incredible amount of scar tissue, plus scar tissue from a 1975 surgery that went thru my front to my spine. It sticks out and I hate it but I have never had pain from it. I would love to get rid of some of mine, what type of surgeon cut your scar tissue out?? I am still recovering from my 3rd fusion so anything can happen but so far no pain like you talk about. Good luck, I hope you get this resolved.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • Janiski:

    My scar tissue was cut out by my urologist. I was almost shut down to the point where I could not urinate. They did what I refer to as a "rotor rooter" procedure on me. The thought of it is painful; thank goodness I was under general anesthesia.

    I am scheduled to undgergo the same thing next month, as the scar tissue has returned from my last procedure (Nov 09). What, if any, spinal fusion issues I may be experiencing from scar tissue is yet to be determined. We'll see.
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  • i had a l-4-5 fusion in 93 i have leg numbness,pain,lower back pain left side groin,testicle pain,the dr says its scar tissue inflaming the nerves,no surgury will help,it will just come back he said its the best it will get now taking fentnayl patch,doesnt help much ,but the percs help. Rick in pa
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    Scar Tissue occurs after every type of surgery. Pain can develop when the scar tissue is excessive, impinges nerves or other tissues, etc.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,347
    Internal scar tissue will always be present after surgery. In order to prevent it from causing problems, you need to work on it as soon as possible.

    After six months, it becomes difficult and after 12 months, the scar tissue may become to rigid to be worked on.

    Not knowing enough about all of this, with my 4 lumbar surgeries , no fusion done (1978-1986), scar tissue built up and became rigid, that I still have problems today because of this.

    I have had great success with my shoulder replacements. I know I had a good surgeon, physical therapy helped, but why I have so much range of motion today is because of the weekly 'work' that my deep tissue expert did on me.

    I have heard of people having surgery to remove scar tissue, but so often that just creates new scar tissue that needs to be addressed.

    The major point, is that we can not ignore the internal scar tissue.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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  • I tried to have scar tissue removed three times after my fusion and it only made it worse. More scarring, more pain, and more neuropathy. I was told by my surgeon that I would be 50% better, but instead I had to take 5 times the meds that I had been on. I also did not read much of the data explaining that these procedures seem to only help short term. He used the caudal approach which now feels like it is on fire around the coccyx area. After these three procedures (over 7 weeks) he refused to treat my pain. I had to fire him, and my NS helped me and did not want me to have another lysozyme of adhesions. The was a pm doctor that I had worked with in the operating room and his anesthesiologist in his office was a dear friend. They treated me like I had addiction issues instead of 9-10 on pain scale. I had never even taken a percocet ...ever, before my fusion. I so hated that treatment. My collegaues have fallen off the face of the earth. Just me, a few family members, and few people on the forum.

    Sorry to hijack your thread, it is just those procedures made a negative impact on my life. Hate to see that happen to you.

  • Sleeprgirl:

    Please know that you did not hijack this thread. Actually it has been very dormant for several months. I appreciate your input.

    Techonology has yet to determine if I have any scar tissue to be the source of my leg pain. My surgeon (a very loyal and conservative doctor) is frustrated by my residual pain. Yea, me too!!!!! Our current approach is to remain as patient as possible and let Mother Nature heal. I'm trying to be positive and increase my "holistic" good feelings to accelerate the process.

    By the way, in late June I did have to have another "roto rooter" procedure to cut out more scar tissue in my urinary tract. Your comments about similar surgery results and reactions X3 resonate with me. If I do have scar tissue impacting my spinal nerves then I probably will not resort to surgical intervention. It's akin to hitting/kicking a bee hive. Undesired events result.

    Thanks for your response. I don't feel hijacked.
  • Scar tissue can be just as bad as the original herniation that causes the operation. I have almost all the same symptoms as I did before my first lumbar surgery. My surgeon tryed to release the nerves from the scar tissue with my last lumbar surgery, however, my last mri shows that the scar tissue is again impinging on 2 nerves in my back.

    My last meeting with him (after cervical fusion)I asked what could be done and he said that there is nothing more that he can do. He did say that as soon as I'm ready for pt he's going to order therapy on my back also to try and loosen things up.

    But please make sure you get a second opinion, or at least get checked out, as I had other issues that needed to be dealt with besides the scar tissue.
  • My first back surgery was 30 years ago at age 25. I've had 6 lower back surgeries and 2 years ago, I had fusion at C5, C6 & C7. I was having aching pain in my right arm {felt like my BONE was hurting} , slope of shoulder and pain in neck. I was keeping terrible headaches. My arm was so weak before surgery, I could barely grip a fork and my arm wouldn't lift very well. So, I had my fusion and I also had a terrible time swallowing after. When they "move to the side" the esophagus , something that when you were made, it was attached by tissues, and the MOVE it a little to the side. They bruised and irritated mine to the point I got choked on most things - had to have my esophagus surgically dilated twice.

    I will be 2 years out this coming January - the neck, shoulder and arm pain did go away. Sometime in June this year, I noticed "memory twinges" in my arm?? This last month, the aching pain wakes me up several times a night , I'm getting "catches" when lifting something with my right arm. It is weak, when I'm typing its like my arm is not working right so it feels like it pulls from the shoulder but my arm goes loose.

    Anyone have a post fusion / cervical situation like me? I had 2 lumber laser surgeries to burn scar tissue which was very painful - just like a rupture, even though the disc was gone. I'm wondering if my pain repeat is scar tissue? Someone said something about treatment to "break up scar tissue" ?? Anyone know anything about this? Thank you for any suggestions.......
    Patty Smallwood
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