It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....



Arachnoiditis Message Board

  • Laminectomy Surgery Results

  • Post New Thread   Closed Thread
    Thread Tools Search this Thread
    Old 01-18-2008, 08:17 PM   #1
    djohn1026
    Inactive
    (male)
     
    Join Date: Jan 2007
    Location: Boston
    Posts: 7
    djohn1026 HB User
    Laminectomy Surgery Results

    Hello,

    I am a relatively new member to the forum. I am starting to research surgery options for my spinal stenosis, and I'm wondering what type of results others in the forum have had with laminectomy surgery for spinal stenosis ?

    My situation is a stenosis problem primarily at L4-L5. I have been receiving epidural injections about every three months for the past 2 years with pretty good success. They provide pain relief for a period of 2 - 3 months. Once the injection wears off I have fairly strong nerve pain down the left leg.

    I live in the Boston area and met with a surgeon today at New England Baptist Hospital. He was very confident that a laminectomy surgery would relieve my nerve pain, with a short recovery period of 2 weeks to go back to work, and 6 - 8 weeks to resume normal physical activity. He indicated that he does about 50 of these types of surgeries per year.

    It seems that from what I have read in the forum, that many have had poor results from surgeries with continued pain. Or it might be that the majority that have had successfuly surgeries don't spend time in back forums after their successful surgery and recovery.

    Any thoughts on laminectomy results would be appreciated.

    I was also referred by another back doctor to an aggressive back and core exercise and stretching program directed by New England Baptist.

    Thanks
    DJ

     
    Sponsors Lightbulb
       
    Old 01-18-2008, 08:28 PM   #2
    ms_west
    Senior Veteran
    (female)
     
    Join Date: Dec 2006
    Location: western us
    Posts: 7,265
    ms_west HB User
    Re: Laminectomy Surgery Results

    Hi DJ!! I think you hit it on the nose. Those that have successful surgeries, do not spend time chatting on the boards. I mean if you were not in pain would you be out with your friends on a Friday night or sitting here chatting on a board???

    I had a laminectomy and it helped me for 4 months until I reinjured my back. Many people do fine with this surgery. Just keep in mind that once a spinney always a spinney. Your back is weakened and you need to be extra careful with it for the remainder of your life. Avoid heavy lifting, watch the weight, and strengthen your core muscles once your doctor gives you the go ahead. I would also walk everyday.

    Good luck and if you have any specific questions, I would be happy to try and answer them as well as many other members on the board.

     
    Old 01-18-2008, 09:33 PM   #3
    Justoneofus
    Senior Veteran
    (female)
     
    Join Date: May 2006
    Location: Berryville, Virginia
    Posts: 2,380
    Justoneofus HB User
    Re: Laminectomy Surgery Results

    Ditto to what diet said, but also that that timeframe your doctor gave you, is for the premium patients. Realistic return to work timeframe is 6-12 weeks and resuming normal duties is how one defines normal. Some people get really really lucky and they are the perfect surgery and recovery we wish we all were. While you are not having a fusion done, etc, they would go in there and drill/chisel/hone out bone in your spine and working right at your nerves there, which often causes serious inflammation and that takes a bit to all calm down.

    Hopefully your surgery recovery time will occur just as dictated by the doc, but please don't expect it and if it then happens for you.. what a lovely surprise.
    __________________
    "believe in the beauty of your dreams"- E. Roosevelt

    L5/S1 bulging @ 18, now 46; still there (but no pain)
    Fusion at L4/L5 Apr -2006
    Solidly Fused Nov-2006
    A Success, but still improving!

     
    Old 01-19-2008, 05:00 AM   #4
    Baybreeze
    Senior Veteran
    (female)
     
    Join Date: Jun 2006
    Posts: 2,072
    Baybreeze HB UserBaybreeze HB UserBaybreeze HB UserBaybreeze HB UserBaybreeze HB UserBaybreeze HB UserBaybreeze HB User
    Re: Laminectomy Surgery Results

    I had laminectomies on L3 thru L5 and it was successful in that I no longer have neurogenic claudication and I can walk upright again. However, I still have spinal arthritis and DDD, so keep herniating discs constantly, plus I have alot of scar tissue in there, which has contributed to some pain i've had. The good thing is my bad pain is not constant. THe epidurals help me alot with the nerve pain I get from the herniations or scar tissue issues. But when they wear off, almost my entire spine is soo stiff and achy and I still get some pain in both hip areas when walking or standing for 30 min or more. Thing is now I have worsening facet joint thickening, which is being accelerated by the laminectomies. Since part of the spine is gone, it's causing that much more stress on surrounding bones/joints, and causing more spurring and such. But I knew that could happen before I had surgery.

    I am also surprised you were told you could go back to work in 2 weeks!! Of course everyone heals differently, but I was out of work for 10 weeks after mine. Though I have some other issues going on & caused me great fatigue. If not for the other things, I probably would have went back after 8 weeks. Even my surgeon said 6 to 8 weeks is the usual time frame. So if you do have the surgery, I just urge you to be very careful and let your own body tell you when you feel better.

     
    Old 01-19-2008, 05:44 AM   #5
    deb53
    Senior Veteran
    (female)
     
    deb53's Avatar
     
    Join Date: Jul 2007
    Location: Richmond, Va. USA
    Posts: 1,062
    deb53 HB User
    Re: Laminectomy Surgery Results

    Hi Djohn,
    I had a laminectomy in June 2007. I would say my actual surgery was a complete success. What I am dealing with is residual nerve pain, not from the surgery, but from the injury which is the cause of my permanent nerve damage. The surgery was not bad at all. There is some pain and discomfort but it wasn't half as bad as the nerve pain I was experiencing! I agree that your surgeon is very optimistic about your return to work! It is VERY easy to re-herniate for several months after your surgery. It's not the pain that will keep you out of work....it is the healing time that is needed. So even though you will feel great, really, really take it easy and give yourself time to heal.
    Good luck and keep us posted!

    Deb

     
    Old 01-19-2008, 07:48 PM   #6
    djohn1026
    Inactive
    (male)
     
    Join Date: Jan 2007
    Location: Boston
    Posts: 7
    djohn1026 HB User
    Re: Laminectomy Surgery Results

    Wow...thanks very much for the great feedback....I really appreciate it!!

    I'm making a list of questions for this surgeon and I want to schedule another appt with him to discuss.

    What are your thoughts/opinions/experience with the following:

    1) Will spine surgeons give references or allow a prospective patient to speak with some of his prior surgery patients ?

    2) I play golf quite a bit and I noticed that Greg Norman and Peter Jacobsen both had spine surgeries within the past couple of years, and have resumed their golfing careers. They seem to have done well with their surgeries and their back health is obviously critical to them.

    3) Is it generally the case that once one has a spine surgery there is a high probability that more surgeries will be needed in the future due to the back being weakened ? Can this be counter balanced through a strong daily core exercise and stretching program ?

    4) How big of a problem can scar tissue from surgery be with spinal stenosis ? How is scar tissue from spine surgery addressed ?

    5) I think that the surgery this surgeon was discussing with me may have been a micro laminotomy, as he said it would be an out patient procedure of around 1.5 hours, back to work in 2 weeks, and return to normal activity in 6-8 weeks.

    6) Does spinal stenosis generally get worse even with an agressive back and core muscle strengthening and stretching program ?

    7) I wonder if I'm better off in the long run just staying with the epidural injections and the strengthening and stretching program without the surgery. I've been doing the strengthening and stretching twice a day for about 4 weeks, and it might be my imagination but my lower back seems to be responding positively.

     
    Old 01-20-2008, 05:03 AM   #7
    Baybreeze
    Senior Veteran
    (female)
     
    Join Date: Jun 2006
    Posts: 2,072
    Baybreeze HB UserBaybreeze HB UserBaybreeze HB UserBaybreeze HB UserBaybreeze HB UserBaybreeze HB UserBaybreeze HB User
    Re: Laminectomy Surgery Results

    Hi John,

    1) I think a surgeon should be willing to give references or let you speak to some patients, if they are willing. I was lucky in that, even tho my surgeon was a bit far away, I met a few of his patients by chance in my Physical Therapy. My PT knew some people had their surgeries by the same surgeon I was going to and he asked them if they would come talk to me about it. One woman was soo nice, she even gave me her phone # for support if I needed it. THey gave my surgeon high praises. My PT has also heard alot about him over the yrs, so If you have a PT, definitely ask them who seems to have a good reputation. Also, ask the nurses in the hospital where the surgery will be done. I had nurses tell me I was in good hands & they would use him too.

    2) Spine surgery (as with any surgery) is always a risk, but many times its for the better. Not everyone who has surgery ends up with more problems or pain. There are many people who have success and maybe never a problem again. There is just no way to predict that.

    3) Not necessarily. I really dont know what the percentage might be, though there are many on these boards who've had to have more. I was told, since I had multilevel laminectomies, that it's possible I might need fusion in the future. That is b/c bone was taken away from a major support structure (the spine) and it puts more stress on the surrounding spine joints that are left. This can cause more or worsening of arthritis. That seems to be whats happening to me, though it doesnt mean it would happen to you. I already had spondylosis (spinal OA) and nothing can cure that. So that is with me for life. So if someone already has OA in there, it might be more likely for them to have more problems,just my guess. Also, if you have alot of nerve problems in there or hardware, it seems it might end up causing more pain or problems with each surgery. You should definitely strengthen your core as much as possible, I know it would help with something. If nothing else, it would still help with your posture and activities that you do. I went to PT for about 6 months before I had surgery. I was in alot of pain but I did what I could anyway. I am positive that by doing this, it helped in my recovery AFTER surgery. It probably helped me heal better , etc. I do still go the PT (which has been over a year & 1/2 now) but I keep getting herniations and scar tissue problems. But then I think, if I never did the exercising & strengthening, how much worse might I be???

    4)The scar tissue probably depends on how your own body heals, plus how large of an incision and where & what they are cutting. My scar is about 5-6" and of course they had to cut thru all the fat and surrounding muscle. From what my surgeon said, I also had some disc material snipped away also. THe best way to lessen the chance of scar tissue is to follow your post surgery instructions to a Tee!! Dont sit longer than 20 min. at a time. Make sure you walk as much as possible. This cant guarantee you wont get scarring, but I would think if one just sits all day doing nothing, that gives ALOT of time for scar to form and just stay there. If you are moving or carefully stretching (In a way that your PT tells you is ok), it may lessen it. I did exactly what I was told but I have alot of scarring anyway. So it's another thing that one cannot predict.

    5) Ohhh, okay...micro laminotomy, if it's outpatient, then is not quite the same a laminectomy. I dont know much about the micro surgery, but that would explain why your doc gave you such a short recouperation time. I guess the tinier the incision & less that has to be removed, the quicker the healing & probably the greated chance of a good recovery.

    6) It depends on what stenosis you have , whats causing it. If its from a disc herniation, many times that might resolve on it's own over time. The disc material can just reabsorb into the body. But there are some people who have a herniation for a long time & try everything else, then have surgery.
    If you have stenosis from osteophytes and ligament thickening/buckling, then it will never go away. For some it might not worse much, but for others the bone overgrowth will continue until one can no longer walk, which is what happened to me and several other spineys on this board.

    7) Do you have surgery date scheduled yet? If you think the strengthening is really seeming to help you, you should probably give that more time then. Usually the EPI's will be able to relieve enough pain to allow you to exercise. How long ago was your last EPI? If it was recent, then that could be why you feel better. If it was a while already, then chances are it's the exercise that's helping.


    Hope this helped in some of your questions and feel free to ask more if need be!

     
    Old 01-20-2008, 05:32 PM   #8
    djohn1026
    Inactive
    (male)
     
    Join Date: Jan 2007
    Location: Boston
    Posts: 7
    djohn1026 HB User
    Re: Laminectomy Surgery Results

    Baybreeze....thanks very much for your comments and insight.

    I've been getting the epidural injections about every 3 months for the past 2 years. They have been very helpful with the pain and allowing me to exercise at a gym every day. Working out I can do a good 45 minutes cardio workout and 45 minutes of weight training. One of my questions for the surgeon is whether I would be limited in what I can do at the gym, particularly with weight training.

    I start a core / lower back physical therapy program this coming week that goes for about 6 weeks. I want to see how the therapy goes before I schedule the surgery. I've been doing a consistent core strengthening routine twice per day for the past 4 weeks which seems to help. Hopefully I can pick up some additional exercises from the phys therapy sessions to add to my daily routine.

    I also plan to meet again with the surgeon to discuss questions and to see if I can get some references from him to speak with. I'd also like to find out from his experience how frequently additional surgeries have been done after the initial one.

    Thanks again for the comments and feedback!

     
    Old 01-20-2008, 05:55 PM   #9
    mznell
    Inactive
    (female)
     
    Join Date: Nov 2007
    Location: usa
    Posts: 836
    mznell HB User
    Re: Laminectomy Surgery Results

    You need to be careful with the repeated use of the epidural injections. If you enjoy doing research, please check out the word arachnoiditis and read up on this condition. It may give you pause about ever having another esi.

    Many doctors will not allow a patient to have more esi's than 3 per year. In many cases, the repeated injection of a steroid into a muscle or ligament will cause that muscle or ligament to eventually break down.

    You might want to schedule an appointment with a physiatrist who specializes in the spine. They do everything an ortho or neuro surgeon will do except for performing surgery. They do esi's; they design therapy programs, etc. Or you might want to find a sports orthopedic surgeon who would know your special issues concerning golf.

     
    Old 01-21-2008, 04:45 AM   #10
    Baybreeze
    Senior Veteran
    (female)
     
    Join Date: Jun 2006
    Posts: 2,072
    Baybreeze HB UserBaybreeze HB UserBaybreeze HB UserBaybreeze HB UserBaybreeze HB UserBaybreeze HB UserBaybreeze HB User
    Re: Laminectomy Surgery Results

    The PT will definitely give you different strengthening exercises than what's available to use at the gym. I do alot with the exercise balls to strengthen my abs. It's amazing how many exercises one can do with the ball and how you feel exactly where is being worked. It's not an aerobic workout, but it sure can work your muscles.

    As far as asking about being limited in the gym & w/ weight machines, do you mean after surgery or all the time? One thing you can do is ask the physical therapist as they are experts at what one should/can do with what conditions. They will probably have weight training machines in there and can show you what would be best for you. And if you ever have problems with aerobic exercise, the best thing to do for what would be swimming b/c there is no stress on your spine or other joints.

    Definitely follow Marlo's advice about the injections & read up on it. Some say not to have more than 3 per year, others say it's okay to have 3 per 6 month period. I dont know which is right. Just do your researach about it, plus about the surgery and keep yourself well informed. I wish you luck with the PT and hope it helps enough so you dont need surgery.

     
    Old 01-21-2008, 05:41 AM   #11
    Moldova
    Senior Veteran
    (female)
     
    Moldova's Avatar
     
    Join Date: Dec 2006
    Location: NYC
    Posts: 3,716
    Moldova HB UserMoldova HB UserMoldova HB UserMoldova HB UserMoldova HB UserMoldova HB UserMoldova HB UserMoldova HB UserMoldova HB UserMoldova HB UserMoldova HB User
    Re: Laminectomy Surgery Results

    Welcome on board! You in a good place here; you can get a lot of information regarding any type of surgery.
    As far as I know and based on information I got from my DR's, research I done - laminectomy surgeries have the highest sucess rate along with discsectomies (sp?) to compare to fusion ones.
    Sounds that your DR is very confident and the most important you have a lot of trust in him - just do what you have to do to feel better.
    Patients with this type surgeries usually recovering pretty fast, they go on with their lives, that is why you don't read much here about their sucess stories.
    Good luck to you!

     
    Old 01-21-2008, 06:55 AM   #12
    djohn1026
    Inactive
    (male)
     
    Join Date: Jan 2007
    Location: Boston
    Posts: 7
    djohn1026 HB User
    Re: Laminectomy Surgery Results

    Wow....arachnoiditis is scary stuff. Thank you for the information on this condition. It looks like it can result from multiple or complex spine surgeries, as well as chemical injection. The epidural injections have risk and I realize that they are not good to do long term.

    Baybreeze....I agree about the exercise ball. I love doing core exercises with the ball. You can also do some spine decompression with the ball as well.

    I'm looking forward to meeting with the surgeon again soon and discussing the questions that I have. During my first meeting he clearly showed me on the MRI films where the stenosis is occurring at L4-L5 with bone (not disc). The MRI films are amazing with the detail that they show on what is going on in the spine area.

     
    Old 01-21-2008, 09:01 AM   #13
    mznell
    Inactive
    (female)
     
    Join Date: Nov 2007
    Location: usa
    Posts: 836
    mznell HB User
    Re: Laminectomy Surgery Results

    You seem like someone who is interested in learning as much as you can about your condition. There are wonderful resources available on the internet.

    My fusion was at L4-5 2 weeks ago today...so if you have questions about that area, I might be able to help.

     
    Old 01-22-2008, 05:36 AM   #14
    laf761
    Senior Member
    (female)
     
    Join Date: Dec 2007
    Location: Old Greenwich, CT
    Posts: 264
    laf761 HB User
    Re: Laminectomy Surgery Results

    Moldova...did you have a laminectomy AND the fusion this time? I know you have had several surgeries. So happy to hear that your latest with Dr. C. went better than the others.

    LAF

     
    Old 01-22-2008, 11:03 AM   #15
    mznell
    Inactive
    (female)
     
    Join Date: Nov 2007
    Location: usa
    Posts: 836
    mznell HB User
    Cool Re: Laminectomy Surgery Results

    Hi,

    I happen to know quite a bit about the x-stop. I found it online several years ago when I was first told I would need surgery. It is new enough that it is not yet commonly used all around the country. I went to a doc at the Univ. Wisconsin medical clinic who was doing clinical research on it and who trains other surgeons in its use. As it turned out, I am not a candidate for it due to my spondylolisthesis. If your doc said you are a candidate, I would definitely look into it...and if it were me, I would be willing to give it a try. To me there are only positives...and it just makes sense to me. If it doesn't work for you, or if it pops out, you can always go back and have a fusion or whatever procedure you need. The implantation of an x-stop does not require the removal of any bone, so you are no worse off for trying it.

    The X-Stop is new enough that there isn't any information beyond the 5-year trials...so you are taking a gamble...but I felt the gamble was small and was worth it!!

    Hope this helps. If you have more questions, let me know!!

    xx MM

     
    Closed Thread

    Related Topics
    Thread Thread Starter Board Replies Last Post
    5 level cervical laminectomy & fusion, anybody? cotton1 Spinal Cord Disorders 161 05-21-2011 02:30 PM
    Pain debilitating...laminectomy in a week! LVNV Back Problems 3 04-06-2009 08:58 PM
    scared of cervical laminectomy...help! Misty67 Spinal Cord Disorders 10 01-19-2008 04:50 PM
    Laminectomy versus Fusion SMike Spinal Cord Disorders 42 05-25-2007 07:40 PM
    8 Weeks Post Op Laminectomy paingoaway Back Problems 5 02-21-2007 10:55 PM
    laminectomy, pros and cons mookymonkey Back Problems 10 01-17-2007 04:52 AM
    Decompression laminectomy Van de Bogart Back Problems 6 02-27-2005 09:44 PM




    Thread Tools Search this Thread
    Search this Thread:

    Advanced Search

    Posting Rules
    You may not post new threads
    You may not post replies
    You may not post attachments
    You may not edit your posts

    BB code is On
    Smilies are On
    [IMG] code is Off
    HTML code is Off
    Trackbacks are Off
    Pingbacks are Off
    Refbacks are Off




    Sign Up Today!

    Ask our community of thousands of members your health questions, and learn from others experiences. Join the conversation!

    I want my free account

    All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:40 AM.





    2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved.
    Do not copy or redistribute in any form!