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Old 12-09-2012, 10:11 AM   #1
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Getting ready for cyst removal on December 20. Advice?

Hi,

I was diagnosed with a Synovial cyst at L4/L5 about 3 months ago after suffering from intense hip and leg pain for several months. I have had two injections that worked great but only for 1 - 2 weeks each so now I am scheduled to have it removed in a couple of weeks.

I am hoping any of you that have gone through this can tell me what to expect. I have a business rip on January 9 and am planning on going. Is this possible?
How much pain can I expect? I am most worried about the strong possibility that these cysts often reappear and then a fusion is necessary.

Please let me know your experience and give me the good, bad and the ugly.

Thanks in advance,

Wendi

 
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:15 AM   #2
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Re: Getting ready for cyst removal on December 20. Advice?

How far is the trip? I have not had a cyst removed. Is it being done with a minimally invasive procedure? Is anything else being done? If it is an open surgery and anything but the speediest of recoveries, I think you will be pushing it a bit to be ready to go on the 9th...but maybe it is an easy surgery. (I don't believe it is....)

Usually after lumbar surgery sitting is very difficult and many surgeons tell patients not to sit for more than 15-20 minutes at a time. Sitting puts 30% more stress and pressure on the discs...and in your case, on the incision area, so it is best to limit sitting until better healed. Even then one should get up and move a bit every hour or so...just to give the discs a break.

 
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:05 PM   #3
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Re: Getting ready for cyst removal on December 20. Advice?

Hi Wendi,

I had a cyst removed on 12/14/11, and also had a lot of other stuff done, but the cyst was the main problem.

In about 3 days I was able to do anything I wanted. I didn't lift anything heavy, or twist, as directed, but to me it was a piece of cake. I never felt any pain at the incision site.

My problem, however, was sciatica. I was told it would take a year or a little more for the nerves to straighten out and quit hurting, and that was absolutely the case. I have just very little pain at this point, almost unnoticeable. But it took this long to get there.

I would suspect you will be OK to travel, just take it easy, and I hope your surgery goes as well as mine. My cyst had wrapped around the spinal column and calcified and had to be scraped off.

Best of luck. I wouldn't worry about the fusion. I was told nothing about that, and I don't see the need for it ever.

 
Old 12-10-2012, 05:18 PM   #4
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Re: Getting ready for cyst removal on December 20. Advice?

I have a cyst at L4-L5 also. I had a lot of sciatic pain all summer, and it was a relief to finally know the cause. I'm getting mine out this Wednesday - 12/12/12. CAN'T WAIT! I am having minimally invasive microsurgery. I really hope he can get it all out of there and that it won't recur.

One interesting note: I had a Kenalog injection into the L5 facet joint in June 2011. The synovial cyst formed in that area sometime over the next year. I found a post about a woman who had something similar happen; a synovial cyst appeared where she had steroid injected. Maybe Kenalog suspension crystals clog up the one-way valve that facet joints have to handle synovial fluid. I guess it's a remote possibility.

I am assuming some physical therapy will be necessary, so although I'd love to take a winter trip, it's on hold till early February, at least.

 
Old 12-14-2012, 12:50 PM   #5
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Re: Getting ready for cyst removal on December 20. Advice?

I got my cyst out Wednesday, two days ago. I have not seen the doctor yet other than briefly after surgery when he said "it was big." Presumably bigger than on my MRI, as I had a steroid injection into it with an unsuccessful rupture attempt a month ago. The sciatic pain skyrocketed after that injection into my back, hip, leg, and ankle area, so I would never again try or recommend a rupture attempt for a synovial cyst. The contrast fluid and steroid they injected into the cyst just made it bigger and much more painful. Often the contents are too thick and gelatinous for a successful rupture, and there are often calcifications.

The pain in my hip, leg and ankle is gone. The back is still sore, kind of like when you overwork and sprain your muscles. Wednesday and Thursday were painful, but the pain is much improved today. I have been walking around regularly since right after surgery; no cane needed. One thing I am very glad I bought is my grabber/reacher, as I can't bend. Also my gel ice packs which I keep in my freezer and apply for 15 minutes every hour, at least.

The physical therapist in the hospital told me to walk at least 3 times per day for no more than 20 minutes. It prevents fibrosis, which you could get if you lie around on your back all the time.

The nurse on the floor told me to remove the special bandaid they put on my incision site the day after surgery. However, it is really glued on there with some surgical adhesive; I have trouble even lifting a corner. So maybe the surgeon did not intend for it to come off quickly. Now I'm unsure what to do, as I don't want to yank out any sutures trying to pry this bandaid off. I guess i can leave it on till I see him next week - but that will be 8 days that it's on.

 
Old 12-15-2012, 08:11 AM   #6
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Re: Getting ready for cyst removal on December 20. Advice?

CT06405 ~ Call your surgeon's office on Monday and ask what you should do about the bandage. Do not take the nurse's directive without checking with the surgeon. If it is that difficult to remove, chances are the surgeon wants it left on the incision. Also, the growth of scar tissue has nothing to do with lying on your back. You need to walk to stretch out the spinal nerves, which keeps the scar tissue from attaching to the nerve as it is forming and filling in post surgery.

It isn't a matter of how long you walk at a time. In fact, it is better to take frequent, short walks as you are stretching out the nerves that much more often. Sometimes healthcare professionals just tell people a certain amount because it is faster than explaining the reason for the whole process.

I'm delighted your surgery went so well and hope it will resolve your issues. What a nice holiday present!!

 
Old 12-15-2012, 08:59 AM   #7
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Re: Getting ready for cyst removal on December 20. Advice?

This morning I noticed a larger transparent bandage which I hadn't seen before covering the white bandage - so that is why the white bandage had been impossible to lift! It's hard to see your back using just mirrors. I lifted a corner of the transparent bandage and the whole thing came off, so now that is solved. I was able to wash the incision and apply antibiotic, etc.

Less than 72 hours after surgery and 95% of my pain and soreness is gone! I just went out driving and doing errands for over two hours and had no issues whatsoever. I feel much better than pre-surgery. Thanks, Teteri, for telling me about walking frequently; I had been getting up almost every hour while awake and walking a little bit around the house. So I will keep walking frequently and add some more to it.

 
Old 12-15-2012, 09:20 AM   #8
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Re: Getting ready for cyst removal on December 20. Advice?

PLEASE resist the urge to go out and do everything you haven't been able to do while in pain. This is the #1 mistake people make when their pain is resolved almost immediately post surgery. You are still feeling some of the effects of the steroids that are pumped in as they are closing...which can create a false sense of "lack of pain" for up to ten days post surgery. So, just pace yourself. And give yourself plenty of time to rest and recover.

 
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:45 AM   #9
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Re: Getting ready for cyst removal on December 20. Advice?

The surgeon said he used no steroids in my surgery, as we both agreed that the pain mgmt doctor had injected enough Kenalog two weeks before into that area - and some more into the synovial cyst just 10 days before that! So the potential risks of injecting more steroids outweighed the potential benefit. I'm still doing very little compared to my usual routine and spending plenty of time resting and watching tv; also taking naps, etc.

 
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