Re: Does post discectomy surgery numbness go away?
I had microdiskectomy 6 months ago with numbness over 1/4 of my foot along with burning pain in the same area and up my leg.
The doctor told me it was nerve irritation from my activity after the surgery, but I was in bed most of the time after the surgery.
I later found out from a neurologist (one I sought out myself out of town) that I had nerve damage and lost about 1/4 of my strength in that foot.
As for the numbness, it has gotten a little better. Instead of the numbness being in my big toe and side of the big toe area, it is mainly now just on the top of my big toe.
But I still have a great deal of nerve related pain. Stabbing pains, sensations that the foot is being restricted of blood, feeling like there is something digging into parts of my foot. These continue. All of these symptom are usual when nerve damage is present.
I never got an explanation from the surgeon about this because I had my husband go back and get a copy of my file. He had written lies in my file, saying I told him I had been extremely active right after my surgery, and that I was without any problem at the post op visit, when in fact I could hardly walk.
I went back to my primary doctor. He did an MRI. It showed my back was full of fluid, not as the surgeon had said, "irritated nerve". But my primary doc. made the mistake of sending me to another surgeon in the same area. Surgeon #2 just took over with the same bull, I believe to cover for the 1st surgeon. He was going to aspirate the fluid but after his "courtesy call" to surgeon #1, he said it was no longer an option, saying it would reabsorb by itself.
He didn't tell me the fluid would block results of any further tests, or how long I would be in pain from the fluid. He led me to believe other tests would help explain the numbness and pain.
When he finally ordered a CT & Milogram, and another month had passed, the scans showed "soft tissue density". the nerve area blocked from view. It could have been scar tissue, but because the previous MRI had showed fluid, I believe that's what it was that blocked the scans.
The doctor wasn't even going to tell me about the blocked view, but I kept asking questions. He just said he couldn't see anything wrong. Of course he couldn't. The area was obscurred. He said it was scar tissue, but the scan report didn't say this. It said, "Soft tissue density". That means anything that isn't bone. But what did I know at the time? He didn't tell me. CT SCANS don't specify the type of "soft tissue density" like MRI'S do. It could be blood, other fluid, flesh, or scar tissue, anything but bone. I found this out later.
I also found out from info from a blood researcher that "Blood caught between the cells will cause cell damage and pain. This is why I believe I was in such pain about a week after the surgery. But that "bleep" wouldn't aspirate it. Instead he put me through a long wait & having a huge horse needle put in my spiral cord for the MILOGRAM and another huge needle put in for a cortesone epidural, anything but take out the fluid.
(CT'S & Milograms are good for seeing bone but not good for seeing soft tissue, Another MRI would have seen that the fluid was still there. I later learned from a neurologist that even swelling would have blocked the nerve on those scans.
I went through those tests for nothing other than to allow enough time to pass so that scar tissue would naturally cover the nerve, (I later learned this happens after 2 1/2 months by itself whenever there is nerve damage) After this point further tests will yield no useful information nomatter was tests are done.
By having the nerve blocked, no connection of nerve damage could clearly be seen as a definite result of surgery. So therefore there can be no absolute proof of surgical error.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have called my insurance company told them something was wrong & that I wasn't feeling I could trust this surgeon, gotten a name of another approved "out of town" surgeon, (went back to my primary doctor, gotten the referral and an MRI).
Most important I would have never told the next doctor who did the surgery or where I had it, telling the doc., "If they had contact with that untrustworthy surgeon I wouldn't be able to trust their treatment."
It's terrible what a person has to go through once that have sustained nerve damage through surgery. Because of lack of medical knowledge I suffered a great deal. It wasn't until much later when my pain began to improve that I was able to use less drugs and do some research to find out all kinds of things that would have made a difference in my choices. I also didn't suspect what surgeons could do if they suspect, during the surgery, that the patient will have nerve damage.
I hope this isn't the case with you, but it could be. Often pain drugs hide the full extent of the damage keeping someone who is going to have long term problems from knowing it, or asking questions or seeking some other doctor to help to find out what's wrong.
Also, it's hard to problem solve when one is using pain killing drugs, is in pain, or having their mobility affected. It's so easy to be led like a puppet by a surgeon who fear a lawsuit.
I wish a better experience that I have had due to my numbness.
Best wishes, Ricebird
Last edited by ricebird; 12-27-2003 at 11:25 PM.