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My Dad is suffering post-op infection from L5 surgery

JenipherJJenipher Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
HELP!!! My dad has been recently diagnosed with a post-op infection in his L5. He had his second surgery on April 15, 2011. There was slight releif of pain, however it has since gotten worse to the point, he had to be admitted to the hospital on July 11, 2011 for IV pain meds and Vanco + Zosyn. He is home now, however there is no improvement. The pain is so bad that Norco 10mg barely touches the pain. He is not septic and the samples they took from his spine are negative for MRSA or Staph, or any other "bug" that they know of. Basically, he is being treated with these antibiotics, but there is no proof that they will kill whatever is causimg this infection. Can anyone give me some insite as to what is going on? We are confused and worried which is normal, but there is nothing "normal" about what is going on with this mysterious infection. His labs revealed that he has a touch of anemia, and the doctors told us that this was a result of the inflammation in his L5. The X-ray/MRI showed that the area is merky. Please respond if you can help us with some info. Anything will help, as we have no answers from the doctors because they don't know what is going on. We do know that he contracted this infection from his second surgery.

Jenipher Garcia


  • My dad has a PICC line and is being treated with Vanco and Zosyn here at home. It has been a week and there is still no improvement.
  • How do they know he has an infection?
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  • blood cultures to determine infection? What is his WBC's? Does he have a fever?

    There are other narcotic medications that are stronger that can be given if the Norco is not helping to relieve pain.

  • His blood test show an elevated ESR. His WBCs normal - xray shows murky lines on L5 unlike earlier xray taken after surgery - sharp clean line - severe sweats in legs - cultures taken from L5 have not grown a culture - A CBCC infectious disease doctor is treating him with Zosyn and Vanco - after one week - still in excruciating pain - Norco 10 - doesnt touch the pain - any insight from your experience - greatly appreciated
  • MetalneckMetalneck The Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,778
    Sed rate is a weak indicator of infection

    No elevated white blood count.(strong indicator of infection)

    Is there any redness swelling discharge at the incision site?

    Any history of diabetes?

    Is he staying off of the wound site?

    Could be viral which would cause a no growth on a bacterial culture medium.

    Why does he have a pic line .... what other sigificant medical conditions does he have going on as a pic line is most often used for regular infusions of medication(s) Chemotheraputics and the such. Is there additional significant medical history that we haven't discussed??

    The changes in the x-ray could be bone growth or a dirty roller in the processor.... Need more information !!

    They certainly could be managing his pain more efficiently

    With Concern,


    I am not a doctor and anything I might say or imply should be basically used as food for thought or discussion with appropriately trained credentialed medical professionals. These are only my opinions or conjecture based on limited information and reading of too many comic books.
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  • Only the first week of antibiotics IV is only the start of probably 6 weeks(just a guess of length of time) not a Dr. you understand.. Please have your Father call the Surgeon and let him know the narco isn't helping his pain or he's having too much pain not relieved by this medication. The Surgeon may be able to review his pain medication. There should be someone available 24/7.

    Also I agree with D above if he has a fever sometimes they do need to check the PICC line. Narco has Tylenol which can mask his temperature also but if he had a temp before the PICC line? Make sure it's not red or hot to touch along the PICC site but surely the RN is checking each time meds IV are given. The Infection Control Dr. or Surgeon should be able to answer the questions you have for them. I hope he starts feeling better soon. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
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