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Nerve Pain post op disectomy L5/S1 & Wallis Implant

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,002
hi all,
just joined today so best give a bit of history:
10 weeks ago I had a disectomy and wallis implant inserted at level L5/S1,
2 reasons why I had the surgery; unbearable back pain for a year and severe leg pain (left leg running all way to foot causing numbness etc), surgery was a last resort as im only 26 and have had a disectomy 4 years ago.
After a year of pain and 4 failed lumbar epidurals I finally opted for surgery, 10 weeks on and the back pain has improved but the leg pain is constant, I cannot sit for longer then 10 mins, the pain is really wearing me down and Ihad really hoped for good results from the surgery. It was performed by a neurosurgeon who is at the top of his field here in Ireland and I am confident I choose the right person for the job but i had hoped to feel a lot better after the surgery. I have been in bed since early february, have not worked since aug 08, have no social life and I have taken so many different types of pain killers that have not worked I feel like I have hit a brick wall at this stage. The surgeon said the leg pain will subside gradually over time as the spinal nerve recovers, on a good day the pain is at a 7 and bad day it is at a 9. my mobility has improved since the surgery but the leg pain is very debilitating.
I just wonder if anyone is in the same boat as me and still has nerve pain post op and how long does it take to improve? My concern is that 4 years ago this happened and it was the same spinal nerve root being pinched and that this neuralagia (as the surgeon called it) may be permanent???

any thoughts or similar stories would greatly be appreciated, feeling very down and worried about my recovery.
Revision Disectomy L5/S1 & Wallis Implant April 09
Disectomy L5/S1 April 05


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  • Hi Pete,
    It originally started four years ago, for no reason, i didnt have an accident or anything like that. Jan 05 it started and by March 05 I couldnt walk with the pain, I had a disc prolapse which was removed in April 05. After that surgery pain subsided but it started again Feb 08 and i started seeing a new orthopaedic surgeon as my other one had retired. I had 4 back epidurals over a 26 week period last year, got no relief from any of them and then he suggested a fusion so i went for a second opinion. I seen one of irelands top neurosurgeons in March 09 and the rest you know from my last post. Im concerned as this Wallis implant is very new to Ireland and at my 6 week check he had expected me to be pain free, he is now on holidays and the pain ranges from a 7 to a 9 and in the last 10 weeks i have not had one good day or a pain free day. I had hoped this second surgery would reduce the pain and give me some normality back. feeling very exhausted and everytime i try to do something, even go to the shops I arrive home with serious leg pain and am back in bed!

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  • Hi Pete,
    6 surgeries, wow u have really been through alot. i feel silly for complaining about 4 years compared to 40! what is an electronic spinal stimulator? does it stimulate the spinal nerve root?
    Since there is still leg pain, at my 6 week check up he didnt recommend any physical therapy, just to walk as much as pain allows.
    any position that eases the leg pain, i guess when lying flat is the least pain, standing for short periods is ok but would constantly be shifting my weight from leg to leg and holding onto things etc. sitting down is just a complete nightmare pain wise. I think the reason im not meant to do any physical therapy is because of the implant. my doctor is away till next week but wants to schedule a scan to check everything is ok.
    I also have slight sculleosis which i only found out recently and DDD .
    The implant was put in to try save the disc and stabilize the reason to avoid fusion. do ur fusions restrict your mobility?
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  • Thats great you have found a viable option for you, i looked up the link you sent me and the information on the site is very good, i will definately keep it in mind. When are you getting yours?
    I really hope the nerve isnt permanently damaged and as you say there is no test for it its a waiting game for me i guess. I have to ring the doctor on tues to arrange an MRI so hopefully will have some news for you in a couple of weeks as to what he recommends. on my 6 week check i had pain below my scar and he said it was facet joint pain, this was all new to me and then he informed me that it had been inflammed all along he could see it on the scan, he also told me id slight sculeosis (cant spell sorry) too so at my 6 week check he threw lots of new stuff at me and then went off on holidays! Im ringing him tues and interested to get this scan and see what shows up but for now i just need to try and manage this nerve pain! lyrica does not seem to do anything for it. someone recommended Gabapentin (brand name Neurontin), i might ask my doctor about that, maybe it would give me some relief
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  • Nerves are interesting. While there are laws of averages on permanent damage based on how long a nerve was compressed, it doesn't mean the nerve won't regenerate. It just takes a very long time.

    I hope that with time, things get better.
    Has the doctor talked to you about any medication that can help reduce the pain? There are a few options though I say it with caution because they, too, have side effects. I would give it more time but there are nerve blocking medications (used for epilepsy) that the doctor, if he thinks it is suitable for someone your age, might be able to recommend. There are drugs like Lyrica and Neurontin that are nerve blockers. They don't work for everyone but essentially they are supposed to block the brain from sending the pain signal. However, I know people have experienced lousy side effects like weight gain, blurred vision which doesn't come back, and other things.

    I think give it some time. If it's been 4 years, your nerve may need some time to recover from the surgery too.
  • Hi

    My mum has gone through the same thing she is suffering with cronic pain due to the Wallis implant on her lower spine.
    Her Nerve is giving alot of trouble as thats where all the pain comes from. She has been on every medication (endones, oxycontin, lyrica...) and the highest dosage and she is in excruciating pain. I can see her like this anymore. she just turned 50 and she could bairly walk, sleep or even go to the toilet sometimes. I ask if there is anyone one out there that could help my mums condition please contact me on

    What ever it costs i am willing to pay (even if i cant afford it il get a loan). i cant see her in this much pain anymore and I really need an answer. The doctors have sent her to pain management and all but it hasnt helped much like the medication after the operation. Its been nearly 2 years she is suffering now. If someone knows an option or an answer. Please Help! it would be overly appreciated.

    God bless!

    Julian Ru
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