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L5-S1 spinal fusion nightmare - HELP anyone else have this happen

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,002
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in New Member Introductions
Not to scare anyone but I had L5-S1 spinal fusion 1/07, after which pain didn't go away. After waiting for healing time, I was told that It appeared that the new bone that had grown grew outside of the cage and was pressing on the Sciatic nerve. After which 7/08 I underwent 2nd surgery to remove hardware and bone was shaved down to decompress nerve. Upon wake up from surgery, my foot was in extreme pain. I told the hospital staff and doctor and was told that it was probably the positioning on the operating table that caused pain and that it would subside in a few days. No, it never went away and I have loss of feeling in side and back of lower left leg, 3 toes don't move, and I have to use a Walker because I have loss of strength in leg. The Neurosurgeon told me "well it appears you have permenant nerve damage, sent me to a Pain Management Specialist whom immediately told me I needed a Nerve Stimulator implanted in my back in order to have a
"better sensation of feeling" in my leg. He did not suggest any tests, or offer other treatments. He also told me I needed to see a Pschiatrist for a Psychological evaluation due to insurance requirements for implant and he would like to have it in his file. Well it's now October and I finally got a 2nd opinion. I had 2 nerve tests done today and was told that the S1 Nerve is damaged. Is it permenant??? I am in the process of getting a new MRI to see if something else is pressing on the nerve or if the nerve was damaged during surgery..... I did not suffer any leg pain, numbness, loss of strength prior to 2nd surgery and was told both times that I had an 80% chance of full recovery. I am now Disabled and on Social Security. Mind you I am only 42 Years old and in good health otherwise. My best suggestion to all of you is to get a 2nd or even 3rd opinion before getting Back Surgeries. I pray for all of you suffering and wish you all the best. ****** If anyone else out there has gone thru similar situation, please comment back***** I am so frustrated and just want my life back again!!! ~X(


  • :) hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. Oh my, i would always suggest a second and a third opinion. i guess hindsight is not the best, right? sorry your surgeries were a failure. i do not have your current problems, but i do have pain!! ~X( perhaps it is time to start thinking about and building a new life!! moving forward can be so much more rewarding than thinking of the past!! good luck with your new pain program! Jenny :)
  • Hiya
    Welcome to Spine Health >:D< My heart goes out to you. Check out the Chat room here . :H

    Angie x
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  • I have had a failed surgery and only wish that I would have found this forum before surgery. Most people here will tell you to save surgery for the very last resort as there are no guarantees. Especially with fusion I think it is about a 50 % success rate. For the 50% that is successful it was well worth it. The other 50% are usually in more pain than they started with. I am so sorry to hear that your surgery was failed and hope that you find a non surgical alternative for pain relief. Good luck and please keep us posted.
  • would have liked to find this site before surgery. Wouldn't have helped with my particular problem (had MVA) but I would have known how to take better care of myself. Post-op instructions from docs seem to be very limited. I saw a list of post-op instructions on a hospital website that was very imformative and fit everyone.
  • Hi,
    I woke up after my first surgery with the numbness and pain in my left foot. I don't have the push off capability anymore, not the feeling in many other parts. After my fourth surgery things got worse for my foot. I lost feeing in almost all of it. I was told to give mine time. Now we are looking into my foot and ankle in case the problem happened there and there is something pushing on something. I should know the results next Wednesday and all I want is to have them figure out what the heck is going on cause trying to walk on a foot that screams non-stop at me really wears me down.
    Sometimes other opinions don't matter as I got them. My nerve roots were compressed and inflamed and I guess sustained damage. I just had never even known that my foot could or would be affected from back surgery, especially since it was normal beforehand. I am beginning to think that this is more common than I thought cause of all the people on here I have met that have the same problem.
    I have yet to figure out what my new life will be but there is a reason for me having to go through this and I hope in the end I learn that reason. Please feel free to PM me if you want to talk. There are many of us with the same issue and together we can help each other get through the long days.
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  • Hello all, I am new to this forum and have enjoyed greatly being able to read the posts and rejoice with those who are celebrating and feel the pain of those who need it.

    I am preparing for a spinal fusion surgery at the end of this month for spondylolisthesis. L5-S1 is the problem area. I currently have constant lower back pain, sporadic shooting pain in one leg and if I stand for more than one minute, my other leg goes numb/tingly.

    I have been working with my current doctor for about 18 months and feel like this is the right choice for me. My doctor told me that this type of surgery for this type of problem has a better than 90% success rate. I was disheartened to read your post that states only a 50% success rate. I was aware that not all surgeries have the same percentages, but this sounds pretty similar to mine. I'm hoping that your figures are for maybe spinal fusion in 'general' and that my doctor is still right about my kind of surgery 'specifically'.

    I'm 35 with two teenagers at home and would really like to think that I'm going to have an awesome recovery and healthy and active life after this. 8> :SS
  • think that 50% is based on stastistical analysis. I have heard that the figure is more like 70-80%. BUT! that is also something I heard and not based on stastistics. Please don't let any figures scare you...every person and every surgery is different.

    If you are concerned with it, ask your doc what his figures are. Mine told me. She was proud of it.
  • Although it seems that things are just going down hill, I am thankful that I only have to use a Walker and am not in a Wheelchair. I have to keep mu chin up and be as positive as possible. My family would fall apart even more that they already are if I didn't. Good luck to us all and take care of yourself! #:S
  • Hi, thanks for the welcome, this is my 1st forum and so far very helpful. How are you doing now? Are you able to function at all? I can only guess probably not. I just had my 2nd and 3rd opinions yesterday and looks like permenant damage to S1 nerve whatever that means. The new doctor's think that the 1st made a mistake???? They'll continue to do additional testing and we'll go from there. Hope life gets better for you and that someday there will be an instant cure for our issues. Take care and stay in touch,
    SoCal Susan :H
  • Sorry to hear about what you are going thru as well. My Surgeon told me that my recovery rate would be 80% and that was for both! I finally got a 2nd opinion and what did I hear rate for success??? oh 50% for 1st and 30% for 2nd. To think, he wanted me to have a Nerve stimulator implanted right away ($50.K for the machine alone per me new doctor) plus whatever thousands they would make doing the surgery... The new doctor finally had a Nerve study done on me and we're getting a new MRI (since one was never done after 2nd surgery) New doc thinks that the 1st doc made a mistake and cut the Sciatic nerve during surgery, imagine that. Finally I feel like a doctor cares again and that if there is something that can be done to fix this, he;ll find it. I truly hope things get better for you and want to keep in touch. Take care... SoCal Susan :H
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