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L5/S1 laminectomy, fusion, with instrumentation. Confused!

Started by dcangel13 on 10/24/2010 2:25am

In September 2009, I had surgery at L5/S1, which included laminectomy, fusion, decompression, instrumentation (4 screws, 2 plates and a peek cage). I'm very petite 5'1" and I can see the ends of the screws coming out of the bone into the soft tissue. It looks like a lot to me. I keep hearing "don't worry about it." However, several weeks ago, I had a fall (both legs are weak but mainly the left), and my tailbone hit the edge of the brick fireplace (I lost my balance while trying to plug something in). Since that time, my bowel movements have not been as solid, and I feel like there's pressure from the buttocks all the way through to the front vaginal area. Also, it hurts to have a BM and it's very difficult to get my urine flow started. The tops of my legs feel like an ice cube and the whole left leg is intermittently tingling. Other times, both (or one) legs hurt as bad as my back. I'm not a professional at reading CT's or X-rays, but I looked at a CT myelogram and the flat ends of the screws seem to align with the front where I feel the vaginal pressure with the back pain. I get stabbing and radiating pain in the back side too. I've heard everything from "I didn't fuse" to "arachnoiditis" to "inflammation." I don't have a clue what's really wrong. I've been denied meds, another medical opinion and on and on. Work comp is denying any other opinions since a doctor found me P&S (22%) but I'm getting worse. I had an 80 mile RT drive to one of the Dr's that the attorney picked (I had a driver), and I literally couldn't get out of bed the next day because of the pain. A spinal cord stimulator is being recommended, but I feel like there is something wrong that needs to be addressed. I can't seem to get my attorney to call me back. Any thoughts? Thanks to all and I feel for all of you who are in this boat with me. For me, I know I have to keep the faith and try to get back to my old positive, happy go lucky self.

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hun I think it may be normal. My wife had scoliosis surgery when she was 19. She had 10" tertinton rods put in. When I rub her back I can see and feel all sorts of hardware. I also having L5/S1 fused very soon.

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surgeons do have a way to see if the hardware is causing trouble. they inject a pain killer around hardware and see if discomfort improves. if it does he may want to remove the hardware.
i'm concerned with your symptoms after the fall. you should probably go to the ER to see if you damaged anything. problems with bowel/bladder initiation could be a serious issue and need to be fixed immediately before they become permanent.
as for lawyer i would find a new one. .....good luck and keep us poster....pete

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I appreciate the feedback. @Pete, the medical community seems to put more emphasis on the loss of bowel/bladder function and address Cauda Equina Syndrome, but I have the opposite problem and can't get the urine started and since my rear-end hit the end of the brick fireplace, my bowel consistency has changed (does that make sense). I have an appointment in the morning with my Pain Management Doctor (who seems to be the only one that gives a rats you know what. Not to discourage anyone, but this has not been a very pleasant experience and I'm not even sure if I'm considered to be a "Failed Back Syndrome" patient. As for a new lawyer, I thought I had a decent one and now I just don't know. I'm not even sure if I have the energy to look for one. Doing laundry is even a problem. Thanks for the feedback. Sorry to be a whiner, but that's just where I'm at right now. dc

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I agree w/ getting looked at for your urinary and bowel problems. If your fall caused this, you might have dislocated your hardware and it could be damaging a nerve.

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Thanks to all of you. Me in the medical field and I can't even help myself LOL. Never even dawned on me about possible hardware movement and the effect on the nerves. You guys all rock. Thanks!!!!!!!

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