Hellomy name is Steven, I have severe back and leg pain. I had an operation 5 years ago. The operation took 6 hours but was only suppose to be 2 hours. When my family asked why the operation was taking so long, the doctor said"Your son is a little over weight so the scan xray is having a hard time to see the nerves. At the time my good weight would be 195lb,I weighted about 210lbs. i am 5'11 male so that didn't make any sense. So what could have happened. The operation was for a supplicated disc, a bulged disc towards the spinal cord. When I was in the hospital room my whole right side hurt, I looked and My whole right side from shoulder to thigh was bruised, i also had a cath. in my penis. I was told this was not needed because of the shortness of the operation. Anybody have anything to add please? I now have what the pain management doctor calls scar tissue pinching my nerves. He has done 5 shots in my lower back for pain. These shots hurt a lot. Now the pain doc wants to do three more procedures to burn the nerves, that sounds like it hurts and to what effect? I take ultram 50mg 8 times a day and gabapentin 300mg 5 times a day. Thanks for yor time.
Last edited by veno0881; 04-06-2012 at 07:54 AM.
Reason: WANT TO BUT IN DIFFERENT CATORGY
Hi there! It sounds like you need to be asking your doctor more questions, such as what exactly he is treating you for, what your prognosis is, what the treatments hope to accomplish, what reasonable expectations are, etc. Also, make sure you get several doctor opinions. Doctors are human, and sometimes they are wrong. But, overall I don't have the medical background or personal knowledge to know what is going on in your situation or give you specific advice.
Something that could also be helpful is to get your medical records. You have a legal right to these, although you need to sign a release at each place and they are allowed to charge you an admin/copying fee. This could give you some insight into what your doctors think about your case and what they hope to accomplish.
If your pain is not under adequate control (50% is a reasonable goal), you need to be mentioning this at each appointment. Saying something like my pan is at X/10. My current treatment gets me about X% relief. What can be better be doing to improve my ability to function?. Best wishes.
yep, get those medical records asap just so you can read thru what would be the more critical for you 'op notes' of your surgery. anytime a surgery goes over what you and the family has been told it was going to, something more unexpected is usually more often the underlying cause. the surgeons op notes ARE a transcript of sorts of that surgery you had done and should state in them exactly why and what took place during that much more lengthy surgery.
i have always gotten every single copy of all of what is in whats called your 'central file' whenver you are just even IN any hosp at all(all of my six surgery documents i DO have in my possession). but for surgery, there are just alot more records that by law, certain medical personel HAVE to make as their 'op notes' too depending. if you actually had what is referred to as "intraoperative monitoring" done with this type of so close to the cord surgery, that neurophysiatrist who actually does ONLY the monitoring of the motor and sensory nerves during your surgery, would also have to make his or her own op notes as well. there just can be alot of good real solid info in that central file along with some possible answers. since these ARE considered to be 'legal documants' they have to state what occured too.
i also ALWAYS obtain my very own copies of ANY testing results, from my needed ongoing labwork to any scans i have had to have, of which there are MANY as well. this way you can simply keep track of your own medical history at home, or for other docs to see too. just never ever give up your OWN copy of anything you have, make THEM make their own copy so you do not 'lose' yours.
but just doing this one thing may give you a much more clearer insight as to why a two hour surgery actually took six. could it have been that you had to be in the actual recovery room for some type of problem or was this actually OR time only?
the one huge thing we also have to keep in mind is that even as good as some types of scans like MRIs are, they are STILL 'only'an actual 'scan' of an area and NOT at all an actual 'picture" in detail of an area. this too could be the reason your surgery took so long if the surgeon went in and found something that did not actually show itself upon your inital or pre op MRIs. there is a poster here named sammy01 who went in for an ACDF on only the c 5-6(per MRI showed as the only issue that needed attention), but once her surgeon got in there and simply 'visualized" with his own eyes another critical finding, found out ONLY then that she had a c 7 disc that had dried up then fragmented all over the place around the c 7-8 and NOTHING ever actually showed up about this particular finding on her very recent before surgery MRI. there were even fragments of this disc under the very protective ligament(the ligamant of flavum) that runs over the spinal cord that had to also be 'dug out' from underneath that ligament there too. but she and i were both just stunned that something THAT really significant either did not show itself or the overall clarity of the MRI was crap.
this just is something that 'could have' easily occured with you and many others who go into surgery too who find out that things were much worse than the 'scans' actually showed. this does happen more often than one might think. so that could be the reason or possibility. and that is why you just DO seriously need to see this surgeons op notes to even know just what he did to you compared to what you were actually 'told' he was going to do when you saw him pre op.
while in some states they do charge for copying records, i know here in Mn where i live i have never ever had to pay a penny for all of the many many records i have obtained. i do think that varies from state to state. but even if you do have to pay for those hosp 'central file' records, it IS worth it just to really see/read what occured during your surgery. that was really a seriously large bruise to have that far up if this was a much loswer spinal surgery. they also did pop a cath into you since they at some point realized the surgery was going to take much longer too. something just does not sound totally 'right' about the whole surgery to me anyways. even after five years, they STILL have your records on file that you need to obtain. this really can help you alot right now with some types of answers(or possibly impacted areas you were NOT ever told about too). good luck and please let us know what you find out. marcia
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.
The Following User Says Thank You to feelbad For This Useful Post: veno0881 (04-07-2012)
I cant add much more to what marcia said, get the op report and it will explain things like the excess bleeding required to cause that kind of bruising. Did you wake up with any type of drains, if you bruised that much, you must have bled a lot and it would make sense to have woken up with a couple drains. I guess if he didn't use drains that too would cause the bruising.
I'm 5'11'' and 3/4's just shy of 6 ft tall. Every BMS chart I see says I should weigh between 155 and 170, That was my weight in my 20's but at 46, I feel bloated walking around at 195. I honestly would feel frail at 160 again, but 175-180 is my goal and to heck with BMI charts. I'm at 190 now and working on it. I Just watchd a 5'11 UFC fighter at 154lbs, he didn't look frail and didn't kill himself to make weight so you are either very thick with muscle or perhaps you need to take a more realistic look of your weight. Somewhere in between where the docs say you should be for your hieght and where you are now is probably a comfy walking around weight. If you have a bad back, the best possible thing you can do is get back into shape, get your core strong and back down to at least a 36 inch waste. I just can't see 205 stuffed in my 36's and feeling I had my core as tight as possible, been there and it doesn't work.
Good luck and welcome, Dave
Yep, it also matters where you have that extra weight and unfortunately many men carry it in their middle which as Shoreline mentioned, is the worst possibly place as a strong and lean core is essential for a healthy back.
I agree that you should get a hold of your medical records but at 5 years out, it sounds like you have normal pain for someone who has had previous surgery, has scar tissue, is still a bit overweight, and who has disc issues.
Unfortunately many of us who have had one surgery, have had other problems with our spine....and some of us have had to have numerous surgeries to keep fixing mechanical issues. This never takes away all our pain.
The rest is managed with medication such as opiates, muscle relaxer, sleep medicine, nerve pain medicine, depresssion medication, PT, yoga/stretching, massage, acupuncture, injections, TENS unit, aqua therapy, counseling, biofeedback, exercise, eating healthy, not smoking, etc. Just to name a few....LOL...
The story with my last surgery for my neck....it was an anterior and posterior surgery that took over 8 hours...I woke up with a big black eye and other bruising. It turns out that while I was on my stomach for the posterior part, the breathing tube fell out and I stopped breathing..the anesthesiologist was at the other side of the room, and my surgeon reacted so fast that he knocked into my eye/face to get the tube back in...
I think it's quite funny now...as obviously I was sound asleep and didn't know a thing...My family of course was alarmed as the surgeon had to come out and say why it was taking so long. Didn't have any lasting damage or any issues....I adore my Neurosurgeon!...
It sounds like your PM Dr. is going through the appropriate steps...Starting you on the lowest "opiate like" medicine of Tramadol and a nerve pain medication...As well as the injections/epidurals...
It's always best to start slow and gradually try each thing. The goal of PM (chronic pain) is to be at about 50% reduction in pain. Never pain free unfortunately....
I live with a 5-7 depending on the day and using all the modalities I above listed together....
Just wanted to add....maybe you can speak with your Dr. about moving to the long acting Ultram...(Ultram ER)....then you don't have the ups/downs with pain relief and having to take it 8 times a day...
Very good idea about the Ultram ER. You may want to phrase it such that you find with the meds you are needing to take it so often and finding there isn't a level amount in your system, so would there be a more long acting medication that could help both (not mentioning it by name). Best wishes.
Hello, thank you for your post. When I had my operation done, 5 years ago I worked a job where I kept physically busy. I was 10-15 pounds over weight but my pain and effects of the bulged disc did get worse. If I was at my optimal weight the pain would have been there and the effects also. I did go over these things with my surgical doctor and he said the weight would not make a difference. I may have been able to take the pain,but not being able to have total control of my legs but me in danger of falling down the stairs at work. I work in a super max prizon, "I see the spelling mistake did on purpose or will not get post." I gained weight after the operation because of side effects. Sometimes I feel like their are rubber bands attached to my legs.
The ultram 50mg tabs make work and life bearable and the gabapentin, i.e neurotin. My daily job is very serious and I need to look like I am not in pain. I not sure how much longer I can keep going like this. I also have ADDISONS disease and hypothyroidism. I will beat these things but I am in pain and need help. I take 60mg of hydrocortisone a day and 0.1mg of florineff. Thank you for your post and thoughts. Happy Easter
hi veno, sorry it has taken so long to just get back to you. i just have a couple more questions to ask if you don't mind.
have you obtained those hosp/surgical records yet? you seriously DO NEED these just to find out more specifically what in the heck happened during that surgery. i just cannot even imagine the 'whys' in how you could have ended up with that much bruising so way UP from the surgical area to your shoulder??? so that you DO need to find out too. but ONE possible that did occur to me, they just "could' have had you placed in a rather odd posistion for your type of surgery too. this is something that i was not aware of before like my spinal cord surgery done way up in my c spine. once you are 'out cold' they CAN posistion your body in certain types of ways as with my surgery i just mentioned. i was actually placed into/onto some type of an actual 'chair' configuration(was not told this pre op) but they also had to place a head frame to just hold my head in place(screwed into my actual skull in three places, and one screw caused me right facial trigeminal nerve damage too) since they cannot actually paralyze you as they usually do during surgerys so they CAN monitor the motor and sensory.
they just "could have" placed you in a more downward posistion with your upper body so they could really 'get into' the area they needed to go in(could simply make the surgical spot more easily accessable). if they actually had you placed like that, any more "inner' blood loss would naturally follow gravity and kind of 'pull' the blood upwards towards that shoulder to a certain degree,ya know what i mean? that just is a possible considering. it also works the opposite way too with people starting out with some type of real bruising that shows post op that over the course of days actually 'appears' to be getting bigger but more 'down' the body? it is gravity that simply makes it appear that you are possibly still bleeding but 'only' because of that natural gravitational 'pull down". some types of OR gurneys are actually made to 'move" for whatever surgical body part is being worked on to usually bring it closer to the surgeon kind of like the way hosp beds do using hydrolics?
but if they DID actually have you lying totally flat onto your stomach, THEN something else had to have occured to even DO that that far upwards. the posistion of your body during surgery would also pretty much have to also be stated in the op notes too as well. this was the ONLY place i read about how MY body was actually posistioned during the cord surgery, no place else and my NS did not ever mention it to me post or pre op either. so that info would certainly help alot for you too. but just that overall time in the actual OR really NEEDS to be read about too. i am hoping you have at least started this process since you just DO need to know what happened in there period. and also whether or not there just WAS the intra operative monitoring too.
just how close to your cord was that herniation/bulge? was it actually even touching your spinal cord at all? have they actually EVER done what realistically just should be done at some point post op as a brand new MRI? if not, it IS needed now just to really see what IS going on in there now, at five years out.
it is the way you are describing your legs as feeling like you have "rubber bands' in them? that could be either actual spasticity which i have too, or if the surgeon actually impacted your spinal cord during that surgery, or if the bulge was touching/impacting, it can cause its own form of more hyper reactive upper motor neuron damage too. but either way, if that cord was at all impacted, it would be referred to as 'hyper reflexia", meaning your reflexes are more hyper in the legs. just some "possible" reasons for what you are feeling in your legs.
or do you mean by the 'rubber bands' statement that your legs are very unsteady/unstable, kinda wobbley? just do need to know what you ment by that since as you can see it can be taken two totally different ways. if there IS instability present, that too can be from cord impact depending totally upon just where the area was impacted. anything just IS possible here when esp going into that spinal area from the back moreso than the front. did they have to do a laminectomy thru your vertebre or did they "go around' that column towards the impact point in some other way? if they had to actually do that lami and go into that lil 'window' it makes, that cord would be at higher risk for being impacted. but of course, depending upon how bad and possibly into the cord this was, just even lifting compression off the cord can also, just during the surgical lifting of it, the surgeon can also damage or the hernation itself could have generated "some' level of damage too. ya know, simply getting one test called an 'EMG/NCV would REALLY show if there just IS any actual nerve flow impiarment too(they would do this on your legs at specific nerves and into muscle that is innervated by those particular nerves too). this IS like the only real 'thing" that this particular test WOULD show, flow velocitys within each nerve tested, and also muscle reaction from nerve too. this WOULD show ANY velocity losses you could just have suffered during your surgery,or what could have become damaged in some shape or form FROM what you simply HAD wrong pre op too.
exactly what were your 'pre op' symptoms?
but you CAN actually check your own leg reflexes by simply using the more heavy end of a basic butter knife by taking that heavy end and try tapping(and i do mean 'tap' not a big 'hits') the area of right below your kneecap on both knees one at a time and just watch for how your lower leg bounces out. it should be a more subtle lil 'bounce out' if normal. but if it has "hyper tendencies", it would definitely be much more rapid in response with a very sudden more pronounced kind of 'kick out' that is NOT more subtle at all. if you show brisker than norm reflexes in either leg, you DO have some level of hyper reflexia from at least "some form' of actual cord impact. it really IS one of the easiest things to tell if one just has it or does not have it. sometimes it does take a few tries with the tapping just to really 'find' that reflex spot, so just try lil changes in the area til you actually get any real type of reaction. if you DO keep tapping and do NOT have any type of even subtle bounce, this could mean a possiblity for some level of actual motor/muscle nerve damage. but either way, this is 'usually' found only in one of the legs not both. so if you have it in both, you really did have some impact but very 'central enough" to even impact both legs at the very same time
but DO get your hands on those records veno. it seriously would be the only real way of knowing what actually DID take place during that surgery. and if there just was the intraoperative monitoring done, it WOULD state it in the NSs op notes so if done that neurophys also HAS to by law make HIS own op notes too. if it was done,but for some stupid reason those particular 'op notes' are NOT in your file(unfortunetly this does seem to happen with certain 'op notes' there ARE ways to track those down like i had to too. mine were 'supposed to be' in my file, but somehow missing from MY file. if yours are not there, that right there would be kind of a red flag. just DO find out what you not only NEED to know here veno, but also have the RIGHT to know about what the heck occured during your extra long surgery. i personally would be dying to know if this were me. since "something unexpected" just HAD to have happened that would have dragged any surgery out THAT much longer than what your surgeon stated stated it would be pre op. there just IS one huge difference between two and six freakin hours. not to mention that large area of post op bruising goin on too.
please let us know what you find out once you actually get those records from the hospital. marcia
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.