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Old 01-02-2011, 09:49 PM   #1
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Question post-surgery symptoms???

Hi,
It has been almost 3 months since I had my second surgery at L-5 S-1. My left leg is still twitching and spasming. I am wondering if this is "normal" during recovery???? Any ideas? My left foot is better, but still numb. Also, I still walk funny. Does anyone else deal with any of this? No matter how hard I try, I am unable to walk like I did over 9 months ago.
TiffanyL

 
Old 01-03-2011, 05:32 AM   #2
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Re: post-surgery symptoms???

Could you provide a couple more details? What type of surgery did you have, both the first time and this time? What were your main symptoms prior to surgery and are they the same now? If not, what has changed? Did you have relief from the symptoms after surgery and they have now come back?

 
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:32 PM   #3
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Re: post-surgery symptoms???

Thanks for your response. My symptoms before my first discectomy were severe left leg pain and cramping in the leg. My left foot was numb. Also, lower back pain. My first discectomy involved L-5, S-1, but when they got in there, the doctor found that I had 3 other herniated discs that had left a lot of scar tissue. Disc fragments were removed along with scar tissue. I felt better with my leg issues for the first week, and then the leg pain and cramping came back. The foot numbness stayed the same. I had to wait over a month, and then I had another MRI, which shed that another disc fragment had come out. So, I had another discectomy done in October, which involved removal of the fragment and more scar tissue. The leg symptoms are still the same along with the back pain, but still better than the first surgery. My foot numbness is a little better in some areas of my foot. I also can stand up much straighter now. However, I am concerned about how I walk returning back to normal. I walk flat-footed and with fairly straight legs. I feel like I am walking on stilts. Lol! Does anyone else have walking issues? Thanks for your help.
Tiffany

 
Old 01-04-2011, 03:27 PM   #4
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Re: post-surgery symptoms???

Tiffany, it sounds like you haven't gotten much relief. After 2 discectomies with continuing difficulties, I think I would go for a second opinion, making sure that the doctor is a spine specialist. Taking out all those disc fragments and removing scar tissue, could have left you with some instability.

It sounds like you have had nerve involvement....was anything said to you about that? Nerves do take a long time to heal sometimes....even up to a year. Have you talked to your surgeon about this? Hopefully, as your nerves heal, your gait will straighten up. I know how uncomfortable it is as I am recovering from major spine surgery in Oct and the nerves are still healing. Can't walk upright completely yet and like you I feel stiff-legged when walking. I am hoping to see improvement as time passes.

Please stay in touch and let us know how you are doing.

Carol

 
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Old 01-04-2011, 10:13 PM   #5
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Re: post-surgery symptoms???

Carol,
Thanks for your help. I do feel like there are neurological issues going on. I am reluctant to talk to my doctor, because I am afraid he'll order another MRI. I think I glow in the dark as it is. Lol! Also, I have put off a couple of other surgeries that need to be done. My doctor did say that if this second surgery didn't work, that I would have to have fusion. The fusion would not surprise me since I did have 4 herniated discs. I know that I need to quit procrastinating, and need to follow up on all of this. A second opinion is a good idea. Thanks again.
Tiffany

 
Old 01-05-2011, 12:28 AM   #6
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Re: post-surgery symptoms???

I was going to mention the f- word, but most people panic when the word "fusion" is mentioned.

It is always a good idea to get a second (or third or fourth) opinion when contemplating such a big surgery.

I imagine the walking flat-footed feeling is from whatever involvement you have going on with either the L5 or S1 nerve. Nerves recover at an excruciatingly slow pace...and my physical therapist told me last week than when you have a second surgery, the recovery starts all over again...healing from the site of the surgery out...so the toe or foot will be the last area to recover...at the rate of 1 millimeter per day.

I have numbness in both feet, so I know how it can effect things like gait and balance. I had a second fusion in June. I suspect I have some permanent nerve damage but I've been advised that I won't know for sure for almost 3 years!! But now that I am not in pain for the first time in 5 years, I am walking every day and it is getting easier and I feel like my gait is returning to something close to normal...however some days I still look more like I've had a couple cocktails for breakfast!

So my advice would be to first determine what to do about your continued lumbar issues and not worry too much about your feet....

 
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:10 PM   #7
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Re: post-surgery symptoms???

I called my neurosurgeon today to let him know about my symptoms, and am hoping to hear back tomorrow. It will be interesting to hear what he says. Maybe another MRI, and then take things from there.

 
Old 01-06-2011, 07:51 PM   #8
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Re: post-surgery symptoms???

Tiffany- Just a few comments on your posts.

1. Sometimes nerves have been so compressed that they take a while to get back to normal function. Think about standing on an empty garden hose for about 20 minutes. When you remove your foot, it's still compressed, and takes a while to resume a normal shape. You might ask your Dr. for something to help with the nerves, like Topamax or Neurontin. Some people have side effects, so read up on the different meds available.

2. If it's been over a month, it might be time to see your NS for an EMG to see which nerves are the problem.

3. MRIs don't add radiation to your body, they're magnetic. Just stay away from the TSA. If you have another, you'll need to make sure the doctor specifies for a lumbar MRI with contrast, the use of gadolinium to provide contrast for the surgery scar material.

4. If the doctor suggests a multi-level lumbar fusion, ask if you could be considered for ADR (artificial disc replacement).

Good luck, don't wait to ask for help.

wb

 
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