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Intermittent bulge after L4L5 PLIF

Shell2ySShell2y Posts: 80
edited 10/11/2012 - 11:59 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
One of the things I am finding hard about the fusion recovery process is knowing what is normal and what isn't. I am week 4 from a PLIF and thought things were going ok. Over the last week or so though it seems that when I have been sitting for too long, or may have curled over a little bit more than I should in my sleep that my spine at the surgery site seems to bulge out for a while and only go back to relatively straight and flat after I have been standing for a few minutes. I am 300kms from my surgeon and my local doctor believes its probably just muscle spasm, although to me it feels like none & metal.. Is this normal? It's very painful. Any similar experiences anyone?


  • So you're saying it literally bulges out of your back and you can feel it? That would concern me. Especially at 4 weeks! I realize that the muscles at the surgical site are quite traumatized, what with being cut and peeled off the bone, but I've never heard of one bulging like that. Sounds like a hernia maybe? Definitely not normal. Listen to your instincts about your body - if you think something is not right, then you're probably correct. You should have a post op visit coming up in the next week or two, right? If you are unable to get it checked out before then, just be very careful and try not to replicate the movement that causes the bulge any more. At the very least, put a call in to the surgeon - they might bump up your post op check up appointment or even tell you to see a local doctor immediately.

    Best of luck. Please update us when you are able - in very worried about you, and also quite curious as to what's going on.
    L5-S1 Fusion, Discectomy on 7/10/12
    Herniated Discs at L3-L4-L5-S1, Spondylosis, Spondylolethesis at L5, DDD, Partial CES, Lumbar Facet Arthropathy
    Chronic back pain since 12/2010 (slip and fall on ice)
  • Let the professionals, make professional calls! I had severely swollen painful lymph nodes in my groin about a week or 2 out of the hospital. I went and saw my GP who suggested I call my surgeon. My surgeon said to go to the ER and get some blood work done right away. Granted I had already been on massive amounts of IV meds due to lung infection...but better safe than sorry. I went to ER (after regular doc hours when I called surgeon) The ER doc happened to know my surgeon and they chatted on the phone...she took great care of me, I left feeling confident I didnt have an infection or some rare form of lympoma....easier to rest and heal with that knowledge. Be diligent in your healing. If something feels really wrong...get it checked. You are the best tool the docs have now to make sure you recover the best you can. Take care of yourself and keep us informed. its a hard, slow, sometimes horrible recovery...take as much guesswork out of it! Peace, ellen
    3 level fusion L3-S1 July 23, 2012
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