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tissue formation around the nerve root after surgery

ChooverCChoover Posts: 49
edited 12/27/2018 - 10:34 PM in Recovering from Surgery

    Hello all! So I have had several posts after surgery, and after 3 MRIS following my discectomy and hemilaminectomy (herniated L4L5) I received an answer why my symptoms are continuing. Apparently I have granular tissue that is now around the nerve root after surgery. This explains why I still have radiculopathy and weakness in my legs. Does anyone out there have any experience with this or any answers? My spinal doctor says NOTHING. NADDA~ or his staff. My pain management doctor says well maybe we will do a few more spinal injections. I did three spinal epidural injections  already prior to surgery as part of my conservative treatment. I am not finding much help when researching this as scar tissue is a normal part of the healing process and at times it can be around the nerve area (thus my problems). Im currently in the process of applying for disability and benefits now as I cant work...I am mostly stuck in bed. This been going on a while now.

   So in short, we did the surgery to get the herniated disc off the nerves and (im assuming scar) tissue now forms around the nerve root causing similar symptoms. Im kind of back in the same boat? Does this go away or are there any treatments out there that help with this? I am HAMMERING physical therapy x3 a week for an hour (its painful but I am doing my absolute best) and walking 3-5 times a day for 16 mins (I cant go past 20 yet).

Thank you in advance for your time and any advice,




  • p.s. I am at the 3 month mark after surgery

  • giving this a *bump*, Anyone have any experience with this? The MRI does not say epidural fibrosis, It says granulation tissue around the nerve root, correlate with radiculopathy.

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  • Can you reduce tissue build up after the healing is complete? I don't know the answer to that - but if you can, nerve glides and other PT stretches, along with walking and swimming, can bring blood to the wound area and may help it heal

  • Did you ever have any relief from the surgery? If so how long after did the scar tissue become an issue? 

  • Thank you for your responses!!! So right now I cant sit for more then an hour, or stand for more than an hour. If I cant lay down my pain levels shoot up to crippling levels. Driving to far is dangerous because my right leg goes weak. That being said, I am doing PT X3 times a week, and doing small walks and icing every day (usually 3 or more, 10 minute walks). I agree Androo I have to try!! My therapist tells me to learn to stay ahead of the pain...and that's what I strive to do.

    Mamamc40 I had TOTAL relief for about 10 days, maybe 2 weeks right after surgery. It was amazing. No radiculopathy or weakness. Then my old symptoms and some new ones just settled in. Im going to continue focusing on specific stretches and exercises for recovery along with short walks and icing. 

    I didn't know if anyone had any knowledge on this. MRI says granulation tissue encasing nerve root causing radiculopathy. The MRI did NOT say epidural fibrosis, or scar tissue. Its confusing to me....I hear granulation tissue is scar tissue, I also hear it isn't, its just what forms in the healing process. UG.

    My surgeon wants me to do a nerve root block, and suggest possible surgery to remove scar tissue or a spinal stimulator (he leans toward a spinal stimulator). I haven't been able to work now for so long and my insurance is about to term so before I do anything im applying for disability and state insurance.

     I wonder if with time this will just get better on its own (this is what I would like to do). Ive read the body can "absorb" scar tissue, Maybe it can with granulation tissue, or the tissue will just adjust itself to better accommodate the nerve?

    Thank you for your replies,


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  • Hello Chris,

    I have stayed away from the forum for a little while but find myself back here, searching to see if anyone has had a similar experience.  I had 3-level ACDF in September.  Per my last check up in December, everything was on track.  I have continued to have the shoulde/arm radiating pain reappear, but it is a come and go and is usually mild, and very rarely moderate.  Always in the back of my mind is the question, "Will it go away again?"  Today, I woke up with moderate to severe pain.  It hurts to lift my arm, even after OTC drugs.  I am back to where I was before surgery.  So, I think, "Did I sleep on it wrong?"  Or, did I pull something, even though I am still on light lifting restrictions?  How do you know if it is muscle or nerve?  Or worse, did something not fuse or come unfused?  Usually, it calms down within a few hours, but not today.  The pain is back to interfering with my daily activities.  So, to me, your case is interesting and possibly the first I have heard about scar tissue causing pain so soon after surgery.  Please keep us informed as to what you decide to do about it.  And maybe I am stupid, but I did not think they could do an MRI with hardware in your back.  Good luck and wishing you pain-free!

  • Hi there, I'm also having some similar symptoms 5 months after my microdiscectomy (although still better than pre-surgery) so I feel for what you're going through!  I haven't had a follow up MRI so I have no idea if it's due to scar tissue, a damaged nerve taking its time healing, reherniation, or what. How long ago was your surgery?

    But my (non medical opinion!) thought is, if you can afford to have an injection done now, why not try it?  I wouldn't go by its effectiveness or lack thereof prior to your surgery because your situation and the cause of your pain is different now.  It may be that inflamed scar tissue is easier to treat with an injection than a herniated disc - I have no idea if that's the case, but it may be worth a try.  If it's going to be super expensive for you then I'd definitely be more cautious.  But an injection isn't too invasive so if you can get it covered, I say why not.  I also agree with other posters encouraging you to keep up with the PT... I know it's easier said than done but it can only help your physical and mental health. 

    If it were me, I think I would hold off on doing another surgery for a while just to see if things improve on their own over time... I'd be nervous about just creating more scar tissue in the area and it becoming a vicious cycle.  Then again, it sounds like you're in really bad shape so if they think it could help (definitely get a 2nd opinion if you can!) maybe it's worth it!

    So sorry you are still in pain. This back stuff is really hard to beat.

  • Kand im sorry you are still experiencing bouts of pain I wish that wasn't the case!!  I hope your pain subsides and gives you lasting relief :) Spinal problems can be so complicated lol. Also, too add to that, ive heard that literally different people heal in different ways so that makes it hard to tell whats going on. Also, from what I know, the only way to know (usually) whats going on is another MRI and there not easy to have. I hope today is a better day!

    Shanhou3 I think you are totally spot on. Honestly I think all the replies are. I had 3 injections completed prior to surgery, but now my condition is from something different so I shouldn't be opposed to it, because they may help. Right now though I have to decide today if im going to cobra insurance which is expensive and im not working so im not sure if I can do them (although I really do think if I had an income and good coverage I would have them).I am still not 100% what im going to do, but I do know this. I am working to stay ahead oh the pain and focusing on pt, my walking and keeping the swelling down with icing. Today I have a sharp throbbing pain probably about a 7. Pain meds and muscle relaxers only take the edge off when im in pain, I have spent so much money and since my surgery was 4 months ago I want to just focus on pt and hope to get better. 

  • Choover- Are your therapist uding ultrasound to help break up the scar tissue?

  • challenger - this is an awesome idea!!!! is that a possible option for me? do you (or anyone) possibly know if this is an option and where I could have it done? btw I drive a challenger lol

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