How long does it take for the pain from the surgery to go away after a fusion of the l4/l5?

I am a 32 year ago old man, good shape not overweight. I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease of the l4/l5.  I had a fusion in September 2015. Before surgery, I was dealing with left leg pain down to the foot. It would start high in the back of the leg and disappear at the knee and calf and then come back at the ankle area and the bottom of the foot. This is not a sharp shooting pain but a constant dull heavy sensation that does not go away no matter if I'm standing, laying, walking, sitting. I also had an intermittent sharp shooting pain on the lower back Left side along the belt line. This will happen when I am standing for too long. This does not travel to my butt. So now after surgery I am 5 and a half months out and I am still dealing with the pain from the actual surgery. Is this normal? Does it take a full year for the surgery pain to completely go away? I do not smoke or drink and I have followed my PT program to a T. And in November, the pain I was dealing with in the lower left back, has returned. I feel like the surgery has failed me.
can anyone relate to either of these situations, and also, my leg pain has not changed at all either? Was this a possible misdiagnosed issue to begin with?



  • It's definitely not nerve pain. This is the same pain in the center of the back that I feel like it from the actual surgery. Like the bone ache. I know it can take a full year for full fusion but I would have thought that after this much time I would be able to stand lengths of time and not have pain when bending.
  • Hi Aaron - I had L5-S1 fused at the beginning of November and am still in a lot of pain.  It is making me very nervous as well - some is leg pain, some is low back like pre-surgery, and some is the actual surgery site.  So far, I have felt worse post-op than pre-op.  I am hoping it improves but I am getting impatient!  I've had X-rays and an MRI and so far my dr says it looks OK but doesn't give me an explanation of why recovery has taken so long.  Good luck I hope you improve soon.  
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  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 809


    For sure I can relate... fusion recovery is a really longgggg and tough road.

    What kind of post op xrays and/or MRI's have you had done and when?  What did your doctor say when he reviewed them?

  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 4,299
    edited 07/23/2019 - 1:08 PM
    hello aaronm8! and welcome!
    please click on link for helpful information!
  • I have had x rays and ct scans last month. Doc says everything looks normal, but claims he thinks that the hardware I have in currently may not be stable enough. He recommends going in again from the back and reinforcing with more hardware. Does this sound right?
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  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 809

    Hey Aaron...

    I've not heard of going back in and reinforcing the hardware before... especially with a single level fusion...but I'm not a doctor so I guess it's certainly possible and in some cases has been done.  Maybe somebody here on this forum has had that experience and will speak up. You might want to seek a second opinion if you have doubts.  Either way... if I was in your shoes I would definitely want to address it as an unstable fusion will most likely not fuse/heal properly.

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