After almost six months, it turns out that I have a screw from my fusion very close to my L4 nerve root. Two out of three neurosurgeons say it needs to come out, so that's what's going to happen. I was even told that the screw might be reason for my foot drop and why it has shown no improvement since June.
While they are in there, they're going to shave back some of the L5 vertebra. Seems that it is more narrow than usual and could also be the cause of my foot drop and other issues. The surgeon I saw yesterday said that when the fusion was done, it could have tipped my spine just enough to cause a bit of compression on the L5 nerve root, which just might cause the foot drop.
Regardless, three screws on the left side and the laminectomy are going to happen over the holidays (I'll know when as soon as the doctor finds a time he can fit me in). He said that I've fused enough that the three screws won't matter a bit and that this is a relatively minor surgery (30-45 minutes and one night in the hospital). I asked him about risks (this is not the same guy who performed my fusion) and he said that, aside from the normal risks, the chances of my foot drop getting worse are negligible (less than 1 in 200). Waiting just runs the risk of permanent damage occurring to one or both of the nerve roots.
So, maybe this will take care of my post-op problems. I sure hope so. I know my foot drop won't disappear right after surgery, but it might start healing and give me my physical life back sometime in 2012. That would be a good thing.
If anyone knows anything about going back in after a fusion, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
What a great way to spend Christmas vacation. Which surgeon is going to do the surgery? Someone from Mayo? This is about the first sensible thing I've heard, makes a great deal of sense to me. Also, while he's in there, he may see something else that is amiss that isn't showing up on MR imaging. That's what happened in my case, and it was the cause of all my nerve pain.
I am really excited about this possibility for you and hope that it is providing a ray of hope for you, too!!
I haven't had a simple revision done, so can't comment, but the 2nd surgery is easier all the way around. My third surgery, 2nd fusion, was a much bigger surgery than the first fusion, much more complex, more levels, etc. and it was so much easier. I was off all pain medications by day 12. I felt so good that my husband had a hard time keeping me in the house. I kept wanting to go out for lunch.
People who have had their hardware removed or fixed have reported that recovery was much easier, and the procedure in general was much easier and less painful.
I think this just may be the answer to your prayers!!
Last edited by teteri66; 12-06-2011 at 10:36 AM.
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A doctor from St. Luke's is going to so trhe surgery. He used to be at Mayo and trained under one of the finest surgeons there. I hope this is the answer and an trying to be positive. It is a bit depressing to think that I might be just now getting ready to start the foot drop healing process, meaning that I've wasted six months. Instead of possibly being much better by this summer, it might be a few months into 2013 before the foot drop heals. That makes me angry. I need to look on the bright side here and hope for the best. Maybe it will help with the pain and perhaps the foot drop will heal more quickly. If the nerve is compressed, it might not take the 18-24 months to heal. When you've been told 3 months, then 4 months, then 6 months, then by summer, it's tough to imagine that it could take up to two more years -- all because of a poor job done the first time around.
Well...I'll be excited for both of us, because I think you now have a great opportunity that you didn't know about a week ago. This is the first, sensible reason you've been given for what caused the drop foot, and, there is a good chance that this will resolve your pain issues.
You have an opportunity to find out what is causing the drop foot, which is something most people in the same situation never have. I'm really very happy for you.
Just sending a hug and hope that this helps. No real insight into the medical side, but it is great to have a bit of hope. I thought of you yesterday when my PT and I were talking about fusions and he mentioned drop foot as one troublesome outcome sometimes.
I totally "get" the anger. I get a LOT of that over my endo issues...no cure, only attempts to control (and I can't help wonder if it would get more attention if it hit men too). It IS justified and I think it is worth getting it out sometimes...I believe both rants and wallows CAN help. But I also believe in moving on after it....and I think the hope of a fix is a great place to move towards!!