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Old 09-15-2011, 05:08 AM   #1
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Question Swelling in Knee/Leg and Between Incisions - 7 weeks post-op

I am 7 weeks post-op from a L2-L5 ALIF and L2-S1 Posterior Lateral Fusion. My knee started swelling when I was in the hospital and was given a cortisone injection. The swelling did not go down, and I was given another injection two weeks ago, again with no result. She said there was just a little bit of fluid in it that time (did an ultrasound). Yesterday my PT and I realized the extreme swelling in my leg and knee right now is fluid. I also have some swelling between the lower incisions on my back that feels exactly the same as my knee, so am thinking it may be fluid as well. Thank goodness I have an appt. today with my orthopedic surgeon and also with my back surgeon, and ending with an appt. with my family doctor. Hopefully between the three of them they can fix the problem!!!! Has anyone else had this problem following back surgery?

 
Old 09-15-2011, 09:27 AM   #2
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Re: Swelling in Knee/Leg and Between Incisions - 7 weeks post-op

Please let us know what you learn today at your appointments. I don't know why you would develop fluid in your knee from your surgery, but am curious to know what the doctors think.

By the way, my suggestion to you would be that if today is typical of your level of activity, you may be trying to do too much! You have had a huge surgery and for only seven weeks out, I think that is too much stress for one day.

You do not want to get inflammation going -- it is easier to avoid it altogether than try to treat it once it gets going.

 
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Old 09-15-2011, 06:25 PM   #3
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Re: Swelling in Knee/Leg and Between Incisions - 7 weeks post-op

Today was unreal!! I left my house at 10:30 am and didn't get home until 7pm! This is not my typical daily activity, and I am sure I will pay for it tomorrow! I saw the orthopedic surgeon and he said that I did have swelling under the kneecap, but the swelling above it was not fluid, nor was it inflamation. He ordered a stat doppler scan to rule out a blood clot and an MRI. Then I saw my surgeon, his assistants, and a new doctor that just joined the practice (they are in the same office). They looked at my knee/leg and my back and I got the same story. They are all unable to give me any answers and ordered a Stat MRI on my back also. They are unable to tell me why I am in such pain whenever I try to move while in bed or get out of bed, also.

They did agree that neurontin could cause swelling/ water gain, so I am to decrease it and see if the nerve pain in my foot/leg comes back.. if not I can decrease it more. Then they put me on 25 mg topomax at night and after 5 days I will increase to twice a day. My daughter has been taking it for several years and loves it, so I have my fingers crossed! Between everything, I had to call and reschedule my appt with my family doctor till next Thursday. I will let ya know when I hear any results, which should be sometime tomorrow by early afternoon!

 
Old 09-16-2011, 07:11 AM   #4
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Re: Swelling in Knee/Leg and Between Incisions - 7 weeks post-op

What type of condition had you been in prior to surgery? I would think, looking at how many levels you had fused, that you couldn't have been too physically active due to pain...but perhaps that assumption is incorrect!

I am also assuming you had an open procedure, so you have a relatively long incision...would that be correct? If so, I can understand why you would have pain when turning over in bed, or trying to adjust your position. I would think that the little muscles that support your spine have been battered during surgery and are not yet fully healed...and that there is still some weakness there.

Some people are very susceptible to swelling from neurontin or Lyrica. I could only take it at a very low dosage, but I mostly had swelling in my ankles. I know others have it in their feet, but I've not heard of it affecting the knees and upper legs.

 
Old 09-16-2011, 08:32 AM   #5
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Re: Swelling in Knee/Leg and Between Incisions - 7 weeks post-op

[B][I]What type of condition had you been in prior to surgery? I would think, looking at how many levels you had fused, that you couldn't have been too physically active due to pain...but perhaps that assumption is incorrect![/I][/B]

Before surgery I just had a lot of back, leg and arm pain. Some days it was so bad that I could hardly walk. I have degenerative disc disease and when he did the surgery, he was surprised at how "small" my discs were due to the degeneration. All of the pressure was basically on my spinal cord and nerves on my L2 thru S1. I was on a lot of strong pain medications which pretty much kept me in a state of a "medicated high" until they could get all the tests they needed to run taken care of before the surgery.

[B][I]I am also assuming you had an open procedure, so you have a relatively long incision...would that be correct? If so, I can understand why you would have pain when turning over in bed, or trying to adjust your position. I would think that the little muscles that support your spine have been battered during surgery and are not yet fully healed...and that there is still some weakness there.[/I][/B]

Actually, I did not have an open procedure. It was minimally invasive. I have one incision on my right side that is about 6" long that was used in the first surgery to remove the discs and place the plastic artificial discs (cages). Then I have an incision that is about 6" long on my left buttock where he went in during the second surgery and installed the screw thru the S1 into the L5. Other than that I have 8 small incisions on either side of my spine that were used in the second surgery to insert the rods, screws, etc. He just went back in through two of the lower incisions during the third procedure. His assistant described that procedure to another doctor yesterday as pretty much performing a laminectomy to clean up fragments of the discs that were removed and other disc matter to make sure that they was nothing compressing on or had cut through a nerve.

[B][I]Some people are very susceptible to swelling from neurontin or Lyrica. I could only take it at a very low dosage, but I mostly had swelling in my ankles. I know others have it in their feet, but I've not heard of it affecting the knees and upper legs. [/I][/B]

We discussed this exact thing yesterday, but they aren't sure that is what is causing it. I wish there were a way to post pictures on here... I would show you a picture we took last night of my legs (after a day of not being on it)... it is quite swollen. Will see the difference tonight after having a normal day today. We did, however reduce the dosage from 4x600mg per day to 2x600mg and 2x300mg. If I don't get any of the nerve pain back in my feet and hands, I can reduce it further in a week. They did put me on topomax, though.. 25mg before bedtime and in a week I will change that to every 12 hours. I am kinda excited about that because I also suffer migraines and my daughter has taken it for 5 years with huge success, so I am helping it helps with that as well.

 
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