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Scar tissue following back surgery

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Old 05-31-2005, 08:09 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 10
Silver2sea HB User
Scar tissue following back surgery

In 1997 I was having severe pain in my back, abdomen and legs when I stood for longer than 15 minutes and walking was becoming painful. To digress slightly, I've had severe vascular disease for 22-years and in 1991 and 1992 I had surgery to open the artery going to both of my legs which involved an incision from my breast bone to my groin. In 1997 the back pain started and my PCP sent me to a back surgeon. He told me I had a spinal Stenosis at L-5 and that surgery would relive the pain.

He operated in October of 1997 and said at that time that the Stenosis wasn't as severe as he originally thought. At the time of the surgery he didn't insert a drain tube and by December a massive infection set in and in January of 1998 he had to go back in, completely open the previous incision, to clean out the infection. My back continued to hurt. After seeing a number of back specialists, it was decided that my original pain in my back, abdomen and legs was actually scar tissue in my abdomen from the vascular surgery.

Today I have a mass of scar tissue in my back that pushes against the nerves and causes me tremendous pain when I walk. It has come to the point that I can't walk further than a block. At that point, both legs, hips and my buttock begin to hurt, go numb and last week I momentarily (5-minutes or so) lost the use of my left leg.

I have been told that there is a surgery that can remove scar tissue from around the spine. Has anyone here had that surgery, was it helpful and did the scar tissue reform?

I'd appreciate any insight you could give me.


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Old 05-31-2005, 10:11 PM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,291
Quietcook HB UserQuietcook HB User
Re: Scar tissue following back surgery

I have a major scar tissue problem, so my spine specialist uses ADCON-L when doing surgery and a similar product when they had to enter anteriorly. They have a different gel for the abdomen to reduce or inhibit the formation of scar tissue.

When my 10 level fusion was done just almost 6 months ago, yes, there was some scar tissue that had to be removed, but that wasn't what they went in for. However, before they came out with Adcon-L and other anti-scarring gels, I had major arm surgery. The prosthesis had to be removed and nerves and muscles shortened and rerouted because of scar tissue. Now I know to tell surgeons to always use one of the anti-scarring gels, and I don't hesitate to remind them and their staff even when I am in pre-op, at their office to schedule, etc. The big thing is, I wouldn't recommend that the surgeon be messing with removing scar tissue from around the cord and other nerves unless they are a spine specialist with the spine fellowship and lots of years of patients under their belts!!!

As for the scar tissue reforming. nothing is going to keep every bit of it away, but the surgeon using the anti-scarring gels will keep it at a minimum compared to what it can be. BTW, even though he had to take a little bit of scar tissue out, I've had to deal with 8 spine surgeries since 1997 and other surgeries for hands, shoulders, etc. Anti-scarring gel has prevented a repeat of the disaster I faced back before the gels were approved.

Best wishes and let us know how things are going for you.

Old 06-01-2005, 10:21 PM   #3
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 10
Silver2sea HB User
Re: Scar tissue following back surgery


Thanks so much for the information on the anti-scarring gel; I am facing at least one by-pass surgery on my right leg and I will be sure that everyone involved knows about my problem with scar tissue. I know the stents in my heart and renal artery were treated with something that prevented scarring. Perhaps the same product?

It is going to be a little while yet before my cardiologist is going to let anyone do surgery on me but as soon as he gives me the go ahead I will consult a spine specialist about the scar tissue in my back. The mass is about the size of a fist and while they may not be able to take it all, possibly they can get enough to ease some of the pain and, more importantly, give me more mobility. As it is now, my ability to walk and exercise is fairly limited.

You sound like me, I've had nine surgeries (other than the 2 back surgeries all of them have been vascular related) in the last 10 years. It is amazing what the body can tolerate, isn't it? I hope your recovery is progressing well and that you are spared any more surgeries.

Again, thanks for the information and support. I can't get over how kind and supportive the people on these boards are. All of you are truly special people.

Old 06-01-2005, 11:12 PM   #4
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 463
TexasWildRose04 HB User
Re: Scar tissue following back surgery

Hi there...

I had a Discectomy/Laminectomy back on June 2, 2005... WOW! actually a year ago today....anyway, when my Neurosurgeon went in to do the surgery, he had to cut away scar tissue that had formed around the S1 nerve root, before he could repair the disc... it had basically grown around the nerve root and attached it to the ligaments in there and such, there was some scar tissue that he could not remove, I was pain free for about 2 weeks after surgery.... then my pain started to return gradually.. and now it has returned completely times 10.. and it not only on the right where it originally was, but now on my left as well....My Neurosurgeon has said that my pain if comming from nerve damage that was caused by having to cut away the scar tissue on that nerve........ When I ask him if it could also be partially due to more scar tissue forming he said... Yes... but he will not go in and remove the scar tissue because he said that when you do that it just comes back worse then it was... but like Quietcook said... ask for the ADCON-L... that was something I did not know about, or I would have ask for that as well.....

Best Wishes to you, hope you are pain free soon... Let us know how things are going for you...

Take Care


Old 06-02-2005, 02:20 PM   #5
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,291
Quietcook HB UserQuietcook HB User
Re: Scar tissue following back surgery


You are right that we humans can be pretty amazing with what we go through. But, isn't it wonderful that the knowledge is there, and it is even better when we learn and can ask the right questions? Just think that when our parents were little the average age was much less than it is now. Shows that while we do suffer from time to time, we also gain from the wonderful advances.

So sorry you are also dealing with cardiology issues. You must take care and do what the doc's say though. I do wish you well and hope you can get relief before long. Know you have to take all kinds of extra precautions but it is very doable. Please do let us know how things are progressing on all fronts.

My heart problems are relatively minor, but I do deal with my mother's heart failure. Tough is not a good enough word to describe her!

It does indeed sound like we have both been through the mill. Was born at home and was never in the hospital until I was in my early 30's. Now, at 59, I've had 10 surgeries to rebuild a crushed arm, 8 on the spine and some gastric repairs needed because of damage done by perforating ulcers and a birth defect. Back in my 30's when I crushed the arm, was having major surgery about every 4-5 months and that was a blow to the old system. Thank goodness I come from a line of tough old birds because when I retired at 48, I still had more than 2 years of sick leave accrued!!! Never missed a lot of work even with all the reconstruction on the arm, as I learned to write left handed.

Even though times can get tough, isn't it great that we can take those times when things are going a bit better and enjoy going and doing to the fullest? That's one of the first things Mother taught me early in life while dealing with my birth defects. So glad she did.

Take care and let us know how things are going for you.

Old 09-30-2010, 12:27 AM   #6
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Kaneohe, Hawaii
Posts: 2
islandrosebud HB User
Re: Scar tissue following back surgery

I have been looking into the place in Florida called The Bonati Spinal Institute. I hve the same problems...hve been on hard meds for ten years since my spinal fusion then and subsequent removal of the rods and screws. I have so much scar tissue in there which causes me to remian on pain meds everyday and on disability which is only a couple hundred a month...I have to do more research on this place, BUT I have to make sure that they are not trying to push this procedure which is supposed to remove scar tissue and it turn out to be that procedure called an " IDET"
where they heat up the intravertebral disks with a laser and it melts and then coagulates and hardens afterwards. This IDET has been proven worthless, so I want to make sure when I speak to them that this is not their so called revolutionary procedure that they are famous for and here all along it may be the IDET procedure,,,
I believe it stands for Intra vertibral diskectomy electrothermal therapy. Cause if it is that then they are simply putting a new coat over an old dress, so to speak.

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