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Old 05-09-2013, 04:19 PM   #1
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Back surgery nightmare!

My 30 y.o esentially healthy, son had an L5/S1 microdisectomy at the beginning of january after 3 epidurals in a world class hospital in Atlanta with the chief surgeon. Eight days following the surgery he went back to his surgeon and wouldn't leave the office until the doctor looked at his incision as my son thought it was getting infected.The doctor told him everything was fine and sent him home and told him to come back in 2 weeks. That afternoon the incision ruptured and my son was rushed into surgery with a horrible infectin. Six days and two surgeries later he went home.The physician's excuse was in the 30 years he has been performing this surgery he had NEVER had an infection and it must have happened anywhere but the hospital.
Fast forward 4 months. My son was making mild progress, still experiencing sciatica but no back pain. Then this weekend when he got out of bed he felt the excrutiating back and leg pain again. He called the surgeons office again and they told him that they wouldnt do an MRI for at least another month as he was probably still experiencing normal pain. He CAN'T WALK! He is in excrutiating pain.The office manager went around the doctor and his gatekeeper nurse and ordered the MRI for tomorrow anyways. Now he needs to find a new doctor to read it and possibly do more surgery.
Does anyone have a similar experience and how did you handle it?

 
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Old 05-09-2013, 05:22 PM   #2
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Re: Back surgery nightmare!

I will tell you that sometimes pain can come on out of the blue months after surgery as it happened to me many years ago after fusion surgery. Four months after surgery I was unable to walk. I was in extreme pain and could not even lay my foot down on the floor. It took many more months to recover. There is no such thing as minor back surgery and I don't care how great the surgeon is these things happen. It is just unfortunate that your son has experienced such bad luck.
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:45 PM   #3
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Re: Back surgery nightmare!

Dear barbara, There is an emergency condition called Cauda equina syndrome & the syndrome consists of severe back pain radiating down one or both legs, numbness in pelvic & bottom & top of thighs( like the area shorts would cover), difficulty walking as a sudden onset, bladder or bowel incontinence or retention & other symptoms that can be looked up.The spinal nerves could be suddenly compressed, swollen from infection, imflammation any number of reasons causing them to be compressed inside the thecal sac & causing nerve compression symptoms. If it were my son & after multiple surgeries he couldnt walk& had severe back pain suddenly i would go to the ER with him tonight to be checked for cauda equina syndrome, bloodwork to rule out infection & have them refer or call in new surgeon if indeed my sons dr wouldnt listen to the ER dr & if it isnt this i would try to get a recommendation for a new dr. I have a condition called adhesive arachnoiditis where blood, myelogram dye, infection, steroids from Epidural steroids got into my thecal sac & started the scarring process that is 24 years progressed & nothing can be done but if it is caught the drs can stop it. Ive had severe pain for 24 years. Are you with your son, could you call the surgeon? I would take my son to ER if he couldnt walk. I hope everything works out fine but i would have a hard time trusting that surgeon, infection is a risk of surgery in all hospitals & even after making a mistake is still taking a risk imho.

Last edited by gmak; 05-09-2013 at 08:02 PM. Reason: typos

 
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:57 PM   #4
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Re: Back surgery nightmare!

Barbara, did your son have any antibiotics post op to take at home? I have noticed that the trend now is not to give any antibiotics after the day of surgery, where formerly all surgeries were followed by antibiotics prophylactically for 5 days or a week. I am wondering if this is why he and some others on the boards got post op infections; the new rules perhaps leave people too unprotected.

A radiologist will read the MRI, and if you get a copy of the report and the disc, you can bring this to consults with other doctors. But if there is a problem identified by the MRI, his surgeon should be notified and perhaps he will pay more attention.

Many of us have run into doctors who did not take our back problems seriously enough, although I think it's unusual if the problems happen soon after surgery.

 
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:15 PM   #5
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Re: Back surgery nightmare!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmak View Post
Dear barbara, There is an emergency condition called Cauda equina syndrome & the syndrome consists of severe back pain radiating down one or both legs, numbness in pelvic & bottom & top of thighs( like the area shorts would cover), difficulty walking as a sudden onset, bladder or bowel incontinence or retention & other symptoms that can be looked up.The spinal nerves could be suddenly compressed, swollen from infection, imflammation any number of reasons causing them to be compressed inside the thecal sac & causing nerve compression symptoms. If it were my son & after multiple surgeries he couldnt walk& had severe back pain suddenly i would go to the ER with him tonight to be checked for cauda equina syndrome, bloodwork to rule out infection & have them refer or call in new surgeon if indeed my sons dr wouldnt listen to the ER dr & if it isnt this i would try to get a recommendation for a new dr. I have a condition called adhesive arachnoiditis where blood, myelogram dye, infection, steroids from Epidural steroids got into my thecal sac & started the scarring process that is 24 years progressed & nothing can be done but if it is caught the drs can stop it. Ive had severe pain for 24 years. Are you with your son, could you call the surgeon? I would take my son to ER if he couldnt walk. I hope everything works out fine but i would have a hard time trusting that surgeon, infection is a risk of surgery in all hospitals & even after making a mistake is still taking a risk imho.

 
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Old 05-10-2013, 03:41 AM   #6
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Re: Back surgery nightmare!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CT06405 View Post
Barbara, did your son have any antibiotics post op to take at home? I have noticed that the trend now is not to give any antibiotics after the day of surgery, where formerly all surgeries were followed by antibiotics prophylactically for 5 days or a week. I am wondering if this is why he and some others on the boards got post op infections; the new rules perhaps leave people too unprotected.

A radiologist will read the MRI, and if you get a copy of the report and the disc, you can bring this to consults with other doctors. But if there is a problem identified by the MRI, his surgeon should be notified and perhaps he will pay more attention.

Many of us have run into doctors who did not take our back problems seriously enough, although I think it's unusual if the problems happen soon after surgery.
You would think that the antibiotics given post op will help prevent infection... Well, I was in hospital for 10 days after my fusion (got pneumonia in theatre). I was on a IV with antibiotics for the full 10days. Three weeks after discharge I got infection in my wound...

Barbara, have him checked for Epidural Fibrosis. It causes excrutiating pain. I have it, have bad pain, and my right leg is getting weaker. Half the time I cant walk, sleep or lie down, the other half is spent crying of pain.

I am 6 weeks post op now.

 
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Old 05-10-2013, 09:14 AM   #7
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Re: Back surgery nightmare!

At the time of the new MRI, have your son request a copy of the MRI disc and tell them he wants a copy of the radiology report. He should get the disc immediately but the radiologist probably reads the MRI later in the day and writes the report, so your son may get it the following day or later, if it is mailed to him.

I wouldn't be surprised if the disc has reherniated. If so, he will want to call his surgeon's office and let him know and/or look for a new spine surgeon. It is not all that unusual to have a disc reherniate in the first six months post surgery. Even though your son cannot walk, I am assuming that is due to pain rather than having no movement capability with the leg. If so, this is not a medical emergency and he can afford to wait to get an appointment with a new doctor. But if he develops bladder or bowel incontinence, the situation changes and he should seek immediate medical attention to rule in or out cauda equina syndrome (CES).

 
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