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Post-op questions after l2-l5 fusion

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Old 05-28-2011, 06:46 AM   #1
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Post-op questions after l2-l5 fusion

Hi everyone, I had a Posterior l2-l5 Revision Laminectomy and fusion with instrumentation almost 5 weeks ago....I am doing great and so far so good ..My questions are I am still very swollen-numb and sore below the incision from like left butt cheek to right butt cheek is this common and is it basically the nerves all screwed up and will it slowly go away ??? I am walking at least 1 1/2 miles a day and increasing every day in the beginning it was hard as my hips and thighs would just ache it is alot easier now. Also I got a bad itch like rash after surgery and the Doctors thought it was from all the meds I am off all pain meds now for 2 weeks and I am taking an antibiotic for the itch and Benadryl but I still itch and it is only on my neck-chest upper arms and around my ears and is going on ..if anyone has experienced any of these symptoms please help...

Thank you, Bob

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Old 05-28-2011, 07:20 AM   #2
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Re: Post-op questions after l2-l5 fusion

Glad to hear you are recovering well from a BIG surgery.

I'm not sure what your surgeon told you about walking, but it is possible to do more than your body is ready to accommodate, particularly in the first weeks after fusion. Since you are still so swollen, I would think that perhaps you are being a little bit too ambitious. Have you tried laying off the distance for a few days to see if it helps any?

The point of walking in the early stages is not so much to develop strength and endurance, but a more basic purpose: to provide freshly oxygenated blood to the surgical site and most important -- to stretch out the spinal nerves so that developing scar tissue has less opportunity to attach itself to the nerve. For these reasons, it is really better to take more frequent, shorter walks, than one longer walk per day.

Some of this depends on how much you were able to walk and exercise prior to surgery. If your pain converted you to a couch potato, then I would think that adding on to the distance every day is percentage-wise, too much too soon. I think this could be the reason for pain you have in both buttocks.

Remember that since you are now fused from L2 to L5, you have a big block of the lumbar spine that cannot move. This results in the levels below the fusion having to carry the brunt of any movement...and it may be that your SI joints are not happy about this situation. The fact that the pain is on both sides, makes me think it could be the SI joints that are generating your pain. It is also common for the piriformis muscles to get tight after this type of surgery. If I were you, I would back off the walking a bit to see if it helps. Also, are you icing after you walk? That may help as well. You can ice 15-20 minutes every hour around the clock, and it remains one of the best pain relievers.

Can't comment on the rash. Did you have steroid injections as part of conservative treatment for your back problems prior to surgery? Perhaps you are having a reaction to the steroids they use when they are closing after surgery....just a thought...I really have no idea what might be causing the rash.

Just keep in mind that recovery from multi-level fusion is a long process, and there is little you can do to rush it along. Try to be patient and positive...and remember that you need lots of rest so your body has the resources needed to lay down new bone!!

Since you had a three level fusion, I will surmise that you had a number of things wrong with your lumbar spine, and I am assuming you had nerve involvement. It is normal for there to be some numbness and for it to take a long time for the nerves to regenerate if they were badly compressed.

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