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Failed back surgery are the percentages right.

Started by Sam227 on 05/01/2010 8:41pm

I am having a fusion and leminectomy in July. My pain management doctor said I have a 33% chance of being pain-free after surgery. Does anyone think that percentage is off a lot because people don't want to go back to work? You think people are just looking for the free services for life? Back surgery is a major surgery for all of us. It would be a lot nicer if the percentage was a lot higher that get better. Please let me know your thoughts. I am unable to do almost anything now. My choice is surgery even at 33% .

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AnnieD, I think you are absolutely right! The most important thing is to move, whether walking (which is excellent for back) or pilates which is one of the best exercise movements for the back as it strengths the core muscles. Yoga is iffy since certain poses can make back worse, especailly anything that flexes up like cobra.

Those with nerve pain, I DO FEEL your pain. No position is comfortable, standing, sitting, walking, lying down. There is some nerve compressed somewhere that probably will require a decompression if no relief from epidural.

I wish you all a pain free week!!

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Hello for everyone who is on Community advice.
If some know who offer new treatment for NERVE DAMAGE or know clinics or research that specialize and offer treatment for this problem?

Diagnosis: Post operative root level L5 radioculopathy, foot drop.
After two weeks of severe back and leg pain in April 2009 I had lumber laminectomy to remove a disk fragment impingment of L5. After surgery I have foot drop, numbness and weakness, pain and I experience burning pain and radio wave' sensation in my back and leg. This symptom are gradualy increasing in severity and frequency over time since the surgery.
EMG test on 5/2010 showed: no response AND REDUCED AMPLITUDE IN PERONEAL MOTOR NERVE, AND PROLONGED DISTAL ONSET LATENCY AND REDUSED AMPLITUDE IN TIBIAL MOTOR NERVE CONSISTENT WITH SEVERE CHRONIC LEFT L5 LUMBER AP ROOT LEVEL LESION.
My treatment postoperatively has been focused on managing the symptom with gabapentine, antiiflammatory and pain medication. I wearing an ankle-foot arthosis to help with balance and walking.
Thank you for reading, ( harhun@gmail.com)

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Percentages are difficult to predict because there are so many different pathologies in the spine (stenosis, spondylosis, spondyloarthropathy, spondylolysis, spondylolisthesis, DDD, HNP, etc.) It's like trying to predict who will do well with heart surgery. It depends what you are treating pain wise and what you are treating pathologically.

Typically patients with stenosis/herniated discs and radicular pain>back pain fair the best while patients with chronic low back pain and DDD at multiple levels fair the worst.

http://www.spineuniverse.com/experts/wha...

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Hello
How treat your back after Failure Back Surgery with severe damage nerve L5 ?

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I had a laminectomy in April '10. Still i n pain. After a month I went back to therapy land therapy caused terrible pain. They sent me to aquatherapy I did mich better there but hurt my knee and couldn't go for about a week. When I went back the therapist creature decided that since I have met certain goals such as putting on shoes and socks and bending over I was no longer eligible for medicare. I had such a hard time getting pain pills from the surgeon, he acted as if there should be no pain. Thank goodness I had to change pcp docs and this man was understanding. Gave me hydrocodone 10 mg and it just about gets me through the day. Need to always watch that I don't run out early. My heart goes out to the people on here who suffer the most, loneliness screams out here. I have to force myself to go out of the house every day. I can walk somewhat better since the operation but still have bad pain. I have been suffering with this for about 16 years each worse than the other I got to the point where I could not walk a block with out stopping. Found the pain mangement guy
and went through the shots and received the drugs helped but he even said a I should have the surgery pointed out that my left thigh was degenerating from the nerve compression. I must say that the surgeon did not push at all and was in fact making sure I understood that there was a fifty percent chance. The worst of it all was I was in such pain I had to get meds on my own, I had to do what I had to do ,. Thank goodness for this new doctor. Bless you all sorry to rant on but I did not know so many suffered from this.

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Thank you Ann D because of your post (Hell no but just vegetating on pain pills is debilitating and makes you're world very small to nonexistent. Get moving!!) today I forced myself out of the house drove to a shopping center and walked around the parking lot twice. My world is getting very very small. THANKYOU FOR YOUR POST ypou helped someone today.

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I gotta agree with riverhawk (and Ann D.) Rock on!

I'm just curious if anyone has had fusion (mine was l4-l5) where I seemed to be getting better the followup ct scans and mri seemed to support it, then all of a sudden it changed. I have suffered from edema in my feet and calves since surgery plus a numb area near left crotch. The vascular surgeon checked twice for blood clots and all were normal. There is no apparent reason for this. Yet I cannot wear shoes due to edema and I can no longer stand or walk without tripping over toes which hurt 24/7. I also know now have knee pain I never had before. My neurosurgeon has washed his hands of me b/c he thinks I am so flexible I can do more than 98% of his patients.
I am very thin so I don't know if hardware is causing the pressure/pain. I can deal with the pain thru exercise or pharmaceuticals but NOT the edema and inability to walk or stand for any length of time.

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For Carrie, I too have ankle swelling when I sit for long periods , like at a desk, now one could tell me why my knee swelled like it did and I suffer from pain in my feet also, they are calling it non diabetic neuropathy and for now are treating it with prescription vitamins. I was on neurontin and lyrica , worked for a few days then nothing. If I were u I would see a cardio doc due to edema and even a neurologist and get an eng or emg they test your nervous system. Difficult situation.

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Since I chose to use a wheelchair in June, I've stopped the continued irritation of my back. Because this is DDD, it won't "go away" or "get better," but my life choices have greatly improved with so much less pain. At first I wasn't walking much at all....now, I walk about 20 minutes each day, because I can do it without the shooting, stabbing pains. When I'm in my chair, I make use of the warehouse at work - "running" from one end to the other, using my legs and feet, but keeping my butt planted firmly in my chair. It's actually fun - well, except for the first day when I failed to stop in time, and wound up "ass over tea kettle" in a huge pile of empty shipping boxes. Thank goodness none of the bosses saw that, or my "runs" would be stopped. I chose not to pursue surgery, as in the chair I know what I have, what I can do, and what I can tolerate. After surgery, who knows? After 13 years of continual pain, I'm pretty happy just to be free of it all day!

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I was already unemployed. I don't think it has anything to do with work. I met one guy who said it was almost a year before he was rid of the pain. I had the surgery because like you I could do nothing. Every lifestyle plan had to include how far or how long standing. I would have tried anything to live somewhat normally. I did not know how much post op work on my part that there was but now I am determined to get through it. I walked again today and also included some exercises that we had in therapy. Hate it but I don't want to sit here on this thing all day popping pills and worrying about running short.

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Sam227 Greetings, Well you'll have to let me know if you have had the surgery yet or not,if so please tell me how your doing? I have had problems since 1994 and things are now at the point that something has to give.I was told by 2 Dr's that i have a50/50 chance of paralysis going into the surgery. It really is kinda of scary especially a 60 yr old guy like me. Would like to hear from you... Thanks and goodluck...Joe

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Yes I did have my surgery /laminectomy and fusion and 3 laminotomys (open back) July 22. It was three weeks ago today. I was in the hospital for four nights then a rehab center for four nights. For me it was a lot tougher surgery than I ever thought . The first two nights in a hospital my pain was not controlled at all. According to my wife/ and what I remember, I was screaming and sweating for the first two nights. They said they couldn't control my pain because of the pain meds that I was on. Prior to surgery I was on two OxyContin 60s and six oxycodone 15s per day. The hospital knew that and I was still in massive pain. My wife said than the anesthesiologist wanted to see if my pain was gone after surgery. She said to the anesthesiologist can`t we wait a couple of days to see if the pain is gone. Whatever now I live through that. I'm still on the same meds now as before surgery. I walk about 400 feet to three times a day. I can do everything for myself in the house now. I walk with a cane or walker. I have a grabber which I recommend everybody gets I can't Bend at all. I have a handicap toilet chair and shower chair. For about two weeks I needed the toilet paper holder /butt wiper. Everyone going for a fusion must get these tools. I need the grabber to pull my pants up. Again I thought my recovery would be faster. The pain I have now is different but it's still massive pain. I really thought once I had the surgery the pain would have been relieved. I would've had surgical pain only. My muscles are a real weak. I have a physical therapist come to the house twice a week right now. I have problems with my neck and my hips also some of the therapy I can't do. This is the first night I felt like doing a post. I will start a new discussion about my surgery and where I'm at and what I went through. Thanks for the support. Sam

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i fully believe that spinal laser surgery can help all lumbar conditions except fracture
it can not help the neck and traditional surgery is nessary
unfortunatly i have cervical conditions
after reading all these postings i feel that i probally will have to live in pain
hopefully i will beable to go back to work with pain
the miminally evasive surgeons say LIVE WITH THE PAIN

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Hi Rosey
at this point I chose to do the open back surgery that was my decision. As you know I've had friends that had laser surgery that just got taken for their Money(34,000 to 54,000) There are very few people that would say laser surgery works for them. That`s the main laser surgery centers that we talk about all the time. My posts are my true feelings. I'm far from being an expert. The first two days after surgery yes I had second thoughts I was in so much pain. I knew because of people's posts that I was going to be in a lot of pain. I Thank Everybody for their experiences. Now I'm telling everybody about my experiences. In my last post I said my experience to this day after a fusion. I Wish I Could Sugarcoat Things And Say I'm Doing Great but I'm Not at This Point. I hope I can say I'm doing great in a month or so. Aren't you glad we all tell our true experiences of our surgeries so you know what you would be getting yourself into. Staying with pain was NOT an option for me. My pain level was 10 plus. Your fortunate you can stay/stand living with your pain.You are truly lucky. I will continue to tell everyone my experiences of my surgery. Again I chose open back surgery versus laser surgery. I felt that was the best way for me. I truly hope you never have to have open back surgery. Sam

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Sam,

I'm curious, how could your pain Dr. say that you have a 33% chance and that be off because people don't want to go to work? That makes no sense. Your pain Dr. doesn't write UE checks or disability checks and has no vested interest in you not being employed. In fact if you are unemployed you could lose your insurance and then not be able to see them anymore.

You keep posting about how people don't want to work, like 4 times in this thread.

I can say my position is pretty bad not only on the pain side, but on the work side as I have been self employed for 20 years and never made enough to pay that much into SS so my benefits will be like 140 a month. I'm destined for failure on so many fronts, and I don't want a free ride. I'd love to be able to walk, stand, work, it's just not in the cards.

I am having a fusion and leminectomy in July. My pain management doctor said I have a 33% chance of being pain-free after surgery. Does anyone think that percentage is off a lot because people don't want to go back to work? You think people are just looking for the free services for life? Back surgery is a major surgery for all of us. It would be a lot nicer if the percentage was a lot higher that get better. Please let me know your thoughts. I am unable to do almost anything now. My choice is surgery even at 33% .

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Hi Riverhawk and Sam227, and others It's time to man up..Here;s some straight poop on having spinal fusion surgery: .Post op edema with pain is fairly common since our backs have a poor blood supply and edema in the legs and feet is a response to chronic inflamation from the original back problem and trauma from the spinal surgery itself..Some of the liquid part of the blood accumulates in the back and is drawn by gravity into the legs and feet causing swelling. The solution is to get up off the butt and keep moving around. Daily exercise to get the blood from all over your body to circulate into the back and feet reduces edema and pain. Icing the back several times a day reduces swelling and pain and If you have a brace wear it ! Sitting for more than 30 minutes makes edema worse. To reduce back pain,the core muscles must be developed to take over the work of your eggshell back. .If you dont develop your core muscles, you'll be in pain for the rest of your life.Your back can;t do the work any more, your abs must be developed to take over the work of the back. Diet, serious weight loss and daily exercise are the only solutions that work. Popping pain pills makes you unmotivated to move around or exercise.The're highly habituating so require you to increase the strengh of the dose constantly. If you must take them, do so only in conjunction with exercising. Addiction to salty sugery high fat foods and drinking beer or booze contributes greatly to edema cut all of these habits out or you'll just continue to languish in a cycle of pain and swelling. Smoking pot gives your the munchies and leads to unconrolled eating of high fat, salty sugary junk food. and weight gain. The size of the gut has to be reduced to take the strain off your back..This can only be accomplished through reduced food intake and burning calories through exercise. The choice is in your hands.. There are no other surgical procedures to fix you. You have to take the reins and direct your own recovery. Make some tough changes or your life as you knew it will be over. AnneD

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anne D
just so you know I think you're hundred percent right on weight loss. Even if were at our ideal weights losing 20 or 30 pounds would be great. If we don't do our exercises we will never get better. Why would you think that I was a pot smoker? I've never done any illegal drugs in my life. Now I've heard that if you got high or smoked a lot of pot you would feel a lot better . Have you tried pot? . You seem like a real knowledgeable person. I like everybody's thoughts as long as they don't work for a laser surgery center. Don't you hate it when you tell somebody your true opinion then you find out they are working for a laser surgery center? It sounds like you put a lot of effort into your posts.. Thanks Sam

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went to nyc surgeon , hss.org
he said 95% recovery, 5% failled
the other neuro said 90%
Failed back is a great topic
thanks

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Hey, I GOT QUESTION?

what u think, all people abuse system
I get $3000 a month if i get both
going for neck surgery
BUT IM DETERMIND , TO GET BACK TO WORK!

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Thanks riverhawk. My neurologist doesn't know why the edema nor does my primary care doctor. But I am seeing my primary care doctor for overhaul tomorrow and he mentioned last time that he might send me to an edemaist or something like that. I also have MS which complicates things.

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Hi Carrie, My spinal surgeon said that the edema in my legs and feet was from accumuled body fluid caused by chronic inflammation in the lower back,aka swelling .Our backs have poor blood supply so gravity causes swelling to seep down into the legs & feet. It can reoccur for up to a year after surgery. A couple of successful ways to get rid of leg and feet edema after surgery are taking diuretics & lots of daily exercises to get all of the blood circulating as much as possible. I think exercise is preferable over taking diuretics every day since they cause a loss of electrolytes and tax the kidneys.
Hope this helps good luck to you!

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Prior to my fusion I was told 25-30% success rate by my surgeon even though the paperwork said 50%. I am not sure how they make these stats for the simple fact, nobody ever contacted me for s survey nor anyone I know that has had this. My mother had the same surgery twice and no golfs and lives pain free whereas mine failed. It is hit and miss I think, thus why they call it the practice of medicine.

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My pain management doctor said one out of three people do not see her anymore after back surgery. That's where I get the information that 33% get better, 33% stay the same and 33% get worse. When I first started this discussion I was presurgery. I was hoping the odds were better than what they really are. I'm about a month now postsurgery. I had laminectomy and fusion . I'm really just starting to get on my feet now. I'm walking with a cane which I didn't presurgery. I think the pain I have now is just surgical. I think the pressure is off my spinal cord. I will talk about this more as the weeks go on. The first three weeks after the Surgery were real painful. Postsurgery the first two days of pain is totally unbearable.

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Hi all, In reply to Sam , I had my surgery April 27. I feel worse now than I did first few weeks post op. NOT COUNTING THOSE AWFUL FIRST DAYS. I I was doing ok with the therapy then suffered severe pain after. They sent me to aqua therapy which I thought was helping. Then for no apparent reason my left knee swelled up and very painful. I took off the therapy for a week and it went down somewhat. When I went back to therapy the (oh I just realized I wrote all this already). Anyway I too picked up a cane and just yesterday was able to put it down. This is awful I am tempted to go back to the pain management doc. Next week I have to in the hospital for another procedure (claudication in my illiac arteries, need restenting) That is only overnight. I think I may then see the pain mngmnt doc again. One guy told me he was ok in about two months another said a year. As I sit here at 7PM eastcoast I am in extreme pain. I took 4 advils and am trying to hold off taking a 10 325 vicodin. took 4 already today.

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Riverhawk
I'm still getting my meds from pain management. I trust them over the surgeon. I'm still on the same meds as presurgery. 3 days I took one less oxycodone. I go to pain management September 1. I'm still on a high dosage of OxyContin and oxycodone. I don't believe I can function without pain meds yet. Good luck with your procedure tomorrow. This remember there someone out there worse off than us. Thanks Sam

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My procedure is next week so I'll carry that luck over. I don't go to the pain mngmnt guy now because my regular doc is giving me exactly what the pain mngmnt guy did. However he said to me "I'LL handle your pain meds , stay away from "annomous". But I need to take at least 5 to 6 Vicodins a day . He is good don't get me wrong he gave me 90 for a month at first but uppped it to 120. The phamacist told me that if I need to take more an more then there are othe r things he could prescribe. Damn this is some operation. Hang in there and try to walk some.

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Hi Sam and Riverhawk, Sorry for your ongoing pain issues but have you been taught body mechanics in physical therapy.? Hasn't anyone told you that by keeping the gut sucked in anytime you're doing any movement disengages the back so the pain should be much less to no paiin? Core training(developing the abdominal muscles) along with gut reduction through food restriction and exercise is the key to pain reduction since it takes the work load off the back.. Lumbar stabilization exercises must be done every day. Walking every day , increasing the distance
improves blood flow to the back and speeds up healing. Taking pain meds does nothing to
heal you. It's just a stopgap measure in a going nowhere script.Why isn't your surgeon getting to the bottom of what's causing all of this excruciating pain that you're reporting? I'd go elsewhere to get evaluated. He's just RXing the large number pain pills to shut you up. Nothing happens until you make something happen. I know it's hard but the alternative is to stay hooked on pain pills, lying around in a stupor for the rest of your life. I can't believe that's what you want for yourself!

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Hi AnneD
when was your surgery? What was your surgery? It sounds like you had a pretty easy recovery. I'm five weeks post.op tomorrow. I go to physical therapy three times a week now. I'm almost done walking with a cane. I personally hate being on pain medication. I hope you're right in a week or two I'll be in shape like you. I'm definitely working really hard with a physical therapist and at home. It seems like the more I do the more pain meds I need. I will keep you informed thanks Sam

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Well Ann in my situation u are absolutely right. I have slacked off on all excercise since the creature from the black lagoon told me I had met my goals during aquatherapy. Like a child I became angry and stopped doing the excersize. Even though some how I hurt my knee I could still do the other excersizes. When i complain my wife reminds me that the surgeon said I have to walk walk walk. Thanks for the wake up. The pain I get is like right across the lower back above my butt and around my hips then down my legs. But starting tomorrow I am going to start again.

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HA, I just read this to my wife and she said yeah you are I'll talk YA GOTTA DO IT

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