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Old 01-23-2013, 02:37 AM   #1
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Unhappy URGENTLY seeking advice re: laminectomy & facetectomy surgery PLEASE HELP

My mother started having increasingly severe sciatica sometime in October. It's gotten so bad that her right knee will often give out and she has fallen a few times. Now she hobbles around like Quasimodo. I don't think anyone she spoke to took her seriously at first because she was recovering from a bunch of other heath issues.

She had tissue expanders put in for reconstructive breast surgery following a double mastectomy. One became severely infected and had to come out in October. Around that same time, by chance I guess, she had a collapsed lunged due to a badly placed aspiration shot into one of the expanders and had the whole chest tube deal put in etc. On top of that (same month) she had an obstructed bowel and needed a nasal tube etc. In November or early December she had the tissue expander reinserted into the breast that had the infection. So with all of this nobody gave much attention to her complaints of pain and dismissed it, giving her PT referrals and pain meds.

She was just admitted to the hospital last Friday for another bowel obstruction and while there, they gave her an epidural of cortisol that had no impact on the now unbearable pain in her back/leg. So now she is scheduled for surgery tomorrow morning for her back.

They are doing a partial facetectomy and a lumbar laminectomy decompression for the L4 and L5 vertebrae. (with fusion...?) Not sure if I got that all right. But the more I read the more terrified I am at the impact this will have and if it isn't an impulsive response by the physicians..? She never had any back issues before October 2012. She has mild osteoarthritis but it's always been isolated to a couple of her fingers. Seems like an intense answer to something that didn't know about until yesterday and something they still can't explain the sudden onset for.

Sorry for the length but if anyone has any insight I would be happy to hear it.

Thanks in advance

**********************************
If it matters, her medical history (roughly) for the last 3 yrs or so consists of the following:

57 yo 5'4" Maybe 110-120lbs
Stint in heart for heart attack
Mild osteoarthritic, restricted to fingers
Radical hysterectomy for Stage III Cervical Cancer (rad/chemo - full recovery)
Diverticulitis
Obstructed Bowel (twice)
Collapsed lung
Sepsis and several post op infections etc
Double Mastectomy and undergoing reconstructive treatment
High cholesterol
Recently mildly elevated BP
BIG smoker for over 20yrs but quit 6-8mons ago
Drinks white wine daily (fair amt)

Last edited by unleaded619; 01-24-2013 at 07:21 PM.

 
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:30 PM   #2
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Re: URGENTLY seeking advice re: laminectomy & facetectomy surgery PLEASE HELP

Hi unleaded, Im so sorry for your mother, she is truly blessed to have a son that cares so much. I know it must be so scary for you i was very scared when my father had cancer. How did she do through the surgery? She did have nerve compression right?

 
Old 01-24-2013, 07:20 PM   #3
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Re: URGENTLY seeking advice re: laminectomy & facetectomy surgery PLEASE HELP

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply Gmak. Yeah she had compression in the 4th and 5th lumbar. And I got more details on the procedure. I guess she had a partial facetectomy and lumbar laminectomy (L4-5 decompression with instrumented interbodyand posterior lateral fusion with bone graft)

That was yesterday morning and I guess it went well. She isn't ice skating quite yet but she says the back pain is better already. Now she just has the associated pain of the surrounding muscles that have been compensating for the nerve compression for three months. I guess they are still spasming pretty bad but they are working on figuring out the right muscle relaxer regimen for her to handle that one.

 
Old 01-24-2013, 07:31 PM   #4
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Re: URGENTLY seeking advice re: laminectomy & facetectomy surgery PLEASE HELP

[QUOTE=unleaded619;5122561]Thanks so much for taking the time to reply Gmak. Yeah she had compression in the 4th and 5th lumbar. And I got more details on the procedure. I guess she had a partial facetectomy and lumbar laminectomy (L4-5 decompression with instrumented interbodyand posterior lateral fusion with bone graft)
That was yesterday morning and I guess it went well. She isn't ice skating quite yet but she says the back pain is better already. Now she just has the associated pain of the surrounding muscles that have been compensating for the nerve compression for three months. I guess they are still spasming pretty bad but they are working on figuring out the right muscle relaxer regimen for her to handle that one.[/QUOTE]

Hi unleaded, Wow, she has really been through it, that is a big surgery in my opinion! Hope the drs find the right mucle relaxer & im glad she is feeling better from the decompression. I never had a fusion only laminectomies which believe me were bad enough i can remember how it felt even now. I know that you will take good care of her & hope she gets better soon.

 
Old 01-25-2013, 12:05 AM   #5
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Re: URGENTLY seeking advice re: laminectomy & facetectomy surgery PLEASE HELP

Thanks for the kind words. Is it a pretty serious surgery? That's kind of what I was trying to get my head around but couldn't really tell because in reading about other people's experiences it seems there are an endless amount of variables that can personalize the procedure. (Like how many vertebrae are involved, whether fusion or not and if so whether from bone graft or other, etc etc)

Surgeon said it went well but that the vertebrae underneath the one being treated "didn't look so hot either" but that it wasn't worth messing with yet. Just may crop up down the road...ugh...

What exactly is the laminectomy part and what was your experience like? Long term, did you get the result you were looking for? I hope the fact that you used the plural form of the word is not an indication of the lack of efficacy of the treatment.

Thanks again

 
Old 01-25-2013, 05:10 AM   #6
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Re: URGENTLY seeking advice re: laminectomy & facetectomy surgery PLEASE HELP

Hi unleaded, I had spinal fluid leaks & 32 fat grafts b/c when injured a disc exploded into bits that rubbed holes in the dura. Each laminectomy was followed by a surgery to regraft a leak so it was complicated. Your mom had a fusion, bone graft, which in my understanding has plates, screws & the bone graft must take & each time a level is fused now it makes the strain of moving the neck fall on the level above or below the fusion & it takes months to recover. There are many people here that have had fusions & much has been posted about them with PLIF,the lamima or bony back of the vertebra is removed in a laminectomy to make more room for the nerve root so that the nerve compression is relieved & i have had chronic pain for 20+ years.

Last edited by gmak; 01-25-2013 at 05:13 AM. Reason: typo

 
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