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Lumbar/right leg pain after fusion

hello all. I am a new member, thank you. I recently had a l4-l5 fusion, 4 months ago, and am still in tremendous amount of pain, I still even have the weakness, pain, and tingling going down my right leg. My pain management doctor says I should be getting better, the surgeon says to wait 8-10 months after the fusion as fully developed... has anyone else went threw this? I’m stuck between 2 different doctors telling me 2 different things and it seems like no one understands. I also have herniated discs at l3-l4, and l5-s1. I have a few annular tears according to my MRI but according to my surgeon those where no addressed because they are not the source of pain.



  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 991


    To me it seems very odd that your surgeon would fuse your L4-L5 level... but not do anything about the L3-L4 and L5-S1 levels that are herniated.   To me that's kinda like saying the handle of the shovel is damaged in 3 places... but I'm only going to fix one spot and hope the damage in the other areas doesn't get worse with time.   However having said that healing from lumbar fusion surgery does take a long time... and 4 months isn't really all that long. The fusion process is very very slow and nerve healing is also very slow... and what you are experiencing could just be a slow healing... we all heal differently.   If you are still concerned you might want to seek the opinion from another spine specialest.    

    Harry - 65 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • Yes camaro, I was kind of in a similar situation a couple months ago 4-5 months after 3 level fusion.   I had a hard time with leg and feet pain in both, but I didn’t have the disc tears you had.  My PM dr insisted I see a neurologist, do physical therapy, Accupuncture while I wait for neurologist. He even suggested MM.  I went full into PT-Accupuncture-some light massage, some MM experimental activities—and 3 months later I did, at last, finally see the neurologist referral last week who said surgery pain. Stick with it, what hvhills said. 

    L3-S1 ALIF Feb 2018 and 

    L3-S1 PLIF Laminectomy and Fusion March 2018

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  • dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,072

    There is almost a magical number at 3 months post surgery (almost any spinal surgery) and the initial problem and pain starts to subside and you slowly get back to normal.

    However, that does not take into account any nerve pain.  That can last up to 18 months before it starts to feel better.  Some get better in 6 months, some 9, etc

  • Thank you all for the reply. The surgeon just fused my l4-l5 because there was a massive herniation pushing up against my spinal cord. On the flip side, most days I’m in so much pain I feel like surgery hasn’t really helped. I still am in a lot of pain even going on the toilet, sorry if that’s too graphic. I saw the surgeon last Thursday, and he feels it’s all nerve pain because the nerve was compressed for roughly 14 months. My pain management doctor says I should be getting better, and said that after 12 months if I am in pain it might be nerve damage. Most days I fear to even wake up, I can’t sleep for more then maybe 2-3 hours at a clip because I wake up with my damn leg hurting me. It feels like it’s surging down my leg. And I started to get that burning feeling again on the right side of my back. I was thinking about getting a second opinion with a neurologist...
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