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In April I had L5 S1 Fusion with many complications along the way

Cathy MCCathy M Posts: 12
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:56 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a L5-S1 fusion in April the day I was discharged from the hospital I noticed that a small part on my foot felt strange the nurse said it was probably the ted hose causing that part to fall asleep.. I went home at about day three home that spot moved up my lag about halfway to my knee. I took the Drs. about 2 weeks to figure out what was going on . I had made an appointment to see them and they put me on Gabapentin telling me that it was the nerve inflamed probably from the surgery. I started the Gabapentin and it did no good at all. the pain was unbearable and all I could do was cry most of the time. I called back a few days later and they Dr told me to come back in and they scheduled a Cat scan., Later that evening the Dr that saw me called to say he had not seen the results of the Cat Scan but that my Dr had and he would be calling me in the morning .. I thought well that does not sound good I was right he called me the next morning and told me that a some of the bone graft had moved and was sitting on the L5 nerve. no wonder every of movement was painful every step I took was excruciating. He told me that we needed to go back to surgery. later that same day the nurse called to schedule my surgery for the next morning May 5th. After the Second surgery I could tell a huge difference in my back but my foot an leg were the same , they told me it would take a while for the nerve to heal so I stayed on the meds including Narco on an every 4 hour basis which helped some but never took the pain away completely I ended up having to go to my regular dr too to get anti depressants because I was so depressed from all of the surgery's I never dreamed I would need two. I saw the Dr two weeks later and we talked about the nerve in my foot and how that was doing . it was bad It hurt so much that I could not even have fabric or anything touch it. I have never felt anything like this in my life. The Dr put me in PT for something called desensitization therapy oh how much fun that was. NOT!!! for a long time nothing changed it still hurt all the time and I was still not able to even wear a closed shoe I was able to wear a flip flop sandal and even the parts of that shoe that hit my foot hurt. I did therapy for a couple of months, So again I am back at the Dr office for a follow up and x rays to be taken I was beginning to feel better by now still had some pain but was bearable I knew by the look on the Drs face that something was wrong .. The news was not good My Rods and screws were moving and had already moved my spine forward and we needed to go back in and fix them and he would not even know if he was going to be able to replace them until he was in there so on July 8th 2011 we went back to surgery to fix the rods and screws.. once again as soon as I woke up I could feel a diferance and felt so much better I did not need the morphine pump as long either I was able to get up and move without a lot of pain I was released to go home 3 days later from there things improved and even though I still was told I had to walk with the walker becasue they did not want me to fall since the nerve in my foot was still messed up . .The Dr told me that during the last surgery he removed scar tissue from my L5 Nerve I saw in 2 weeks later and he took another x ray and said everything looked good and I could come back in two months , that I was to wear my back brace while I was up and about but in bed I did not have to wear it. everything thing was going great until about a week and ahalf ago when I started getting pain in the exact same spot that I had it before the third surgery and my foot has never really changed I called the Dr office to let them know that the nerve in my foot had changed and was feeling like when the dentist gives you that shot to numb your mouth that was how my foot was feeling the nurse called me back and said the Dr wanted to move my appointment up to friday September 9th. I am so worried now that since I am hurting more and more again that when I see him he is going to say the rods have moved again .. and not to mention that the sensations in my leg and foot are always changing so many times it feels as if my foot is swollen and fat and then it burns and feels like its on fire. I have found that Ice packs help with the burning sensation but nothing helps with the swollen feeling I guess I am just wanting someone to understand what I am going though My husband and kids are great but they really do not understand how I am feeling they try but not haivng been there or have had nerve damage they just do not completely understand. Sorry if I rambled on to long


  • Sorry to hear about your leg numbness and sensitivity and I hope your Dr. will know more to help with that Sept. 9 at your appointment. 3 surgeries in such a short time has been a lot for you. I hope your Dr. will sort out what's needed for treatment for you. Have you seen a Pain Management Dr. yet after surgery? Take care. 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
  • NO I have not seen a pain management Dr no one has even suggested it. Right now the only two Drs. I am seeing are my primary care Dr. and the Surgeon. I too am hoping for good news friday but bracing for the worst too. As the pain I am in now feels like it did before the third surgery. I tell you I am at the point that I am afraid to do anything but I have to do things otherwise they will not get done.. this has been such a hard road and its not even over yet. My Dr has not even put me back in PT yet I was told to go home and do nothing that I have pretty much done. I hope to get the support I need from the forum.
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  • and welcome to Spine Health. :H

    I am so sorry that you have needed to come here, but I think you will be glad that you found us.

    You have had a very difficult surgical story so far, and hopefully the end of the problems is in sight and you will start to move forward to that goal of less pain.

    I wish you well on Friday and hope that the new symptoms you are having are just from nerves healing rather than a continued problem. Please do come back and let us know how you get on.

    This is a great place to get support and understanding while you are in pain and dealing with all the other issues that spine problems bring. We 'get it'!

    PS You didn't ramble on too long, but I would suggest that you break up your posts to help people read them. :-)

  • And "NO" your not rambling. :) I don't post allot here, mainly because like you, I've been the surgery route many times. It gets frustrating when you have been through so much and then have to turn around and go through more. Guess what I'm trying to say is; it helps to come here and talk with others who may be dealing with things similar to what you're going through. I don't know how old you are, but I'm 61, and have been through 3 major and 2 minor surgeries on my neck and lower back in 13 months, and now have to have surgery on my shoulder in about a month. "You" have really encouraged me in your sharing the battle you have been going through. I was getting a little depressed thinking I couldn't face another surgery in such a short time, but know it has to be done. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I do hope they find the answers you need to get you on the road to recovery and keep you there.
  • You really have been going through a difficult recovery. Glad you found us and we'll give you support where we can.

    Hope your appointment tomorrow goes well and the surgeon can help you.

    Did your surgeon give you advice on bending-lifting-twisting restrictions? Mine didn't, but I'd already found Spine-Health before my surgeries, so I knew what I could or couldn't do and also how long recovery was going to take.

    Hope you'll have less pain soon.



    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
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  • I hope you are doing well. If at all possible I would try to get a second opinion. This current surgeon had to go back in twice for things (IMO) should have not happened in the first place. What kind of surgeon is he?

    I really hope everything starts going better for you soon. Hang in there :)

  • Hi Julie,

    The first complication is a rare complication, where the bone graft moved and landed on a nerve. It is very rare according to the sources I have already contacted. I have tried to get a second opinion already however due to the fact that I am still recovering no one will see me. I am seeing the Surgeon tomorrow and am hoping for good news. The second complication seems to beI really do not know anymore. I just know one thing. I am unable to do anything even walking with out pain after 10 minutes. as long as I am not moving at all be it laying down or sitting still I am good.. otherwise forget it.. I honestly do not know what to do at this point.

    Thanks for the welcome.
  • Hi Cathy and welcome, 1 surgery is bad enough but going in there each time just creates more scar tissue build up. Hopefully things are healing now and nerves will calm down. And yes you can get a referal to a pain clinic who might be able to help you manage the pain beter while recovering.

    The way i always understud things is the sooner a person can start pt the less chance there is of scar tissue building up and ending up on the nerve or where it dont belong.

    Good luck , wish you the best in fast recovery in this rotten stinking surgery and pain that none of us know how to deal with.
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Wanted to wish you all the best at your appointment today.Please let us know how it went, when you can.

    Hopefully, all will go well and you can continue on your healing journey. Recovery after going through multiple surgeries in such a short time will probably take longer. Hang in there, join us here and post. It helps talking to others who understand, ask questions, and pass the time.

    Numbness can take a long time to heal. My foot and calf are still numb 9 weeks post op. Depending how long your nerve was compressed as well as I imagine being irritated with three surgeries may affect the time as well.

    We are here for you. Look forward to hearing how things went today. As others have said, when you are able to please try to get another opinion (tough when you are under another surgeons post op care)

    >:D< Karen

    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
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