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leg paralysis after each lumbar surgery

I have had 2 lumbar surgeries and most recently a CT Myelogram. Upon waking in recovery and a few hours after the Myelogram, I lost the ability to use my left leg. I need to explain that I could feel the leg, I just couldn't move it and I lost the ability to urinate without a catheter. After the most recent time, they told me the MRI, with and without contrast, looked good, the EMG looked good. They have no reason for this paralysis, (I did get bladder control back). The first time this happened the leg was paralysis was about 24 hours. The second time was about 10 days. When the use came back there was searing pain in the leg. I have drop foot this time and am starting to get muscle atrophy.

If there is anyone that can help me I would so greatly appreciate it!


  • Jackie,

    A couple of suggestions for you, first I would see a urologist and get a complete workup as to what happened. There are test they can do to see if it is related to the spine. As to the leg issues and the atrophy, you might want to see a neurologist as they seem to investigate further as to what is going on. If you were seeing neurologist when this happened then go see a spinal surgeon. Emg studies are not a perfect world, and can give false negatives. A doctor should be doing a full exam to see what is causing your leg issues. The fact that you have muscle atrophy says something. Take a look at a dermatone chart and see if the patterns follow any of those areas. While I am from the cervical side I did wake up with arm paralysis and through lots of hard work, it came back. I suggest the urologist as I have bladder issues related to the spine and had the complete work-up to show it comes from a spinal nerve. On the myelogram you didn't mention anything about headache and needing a spinal patch, so while it could have been when they did the injection, that is rare. Sounds to me like there is a under lying condition and they just aggravated it. However I am no doctor and only a doctor could make that diagnoses. If your loosing muscle you need to keep pursing what is going on. Of course with physical therapy they could bring the muscle back with lots of work. There are only two muscles in the body once they atrophy they can't bring back and that is not one of them. However if your in tons of pain, bringing the muscles back is going to be hard without some pain control. Hopefully you have something for that. But don't just accept the atrophy as the faster they begin to work on it, the better off you will be. Maybe they need to MRi just the leg, and or hips to see if something else is going on. Good luck I hope you get addressed.
  • JackieG. Hi. You may get some benefit from reading my nerve damage history in my profile. Bottom line, my muscle atrophy is now improving. I am very happy with this. I was not looking forward to having permanent foot drop. PM me if I can help you more.

    Agree with Tamtam. Muscle atrophy plus foot drop = nerve damage.
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  • Hi dave, I too have foot drop in my right foot so pleased to read that foot drop can recover, this gives me hope. I had pilfer surgery in sept and a week later had more surgery to remove a screw and reposition it this is when the foot drop occurred. So glad to hear that your doing well.
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