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Drop Foot after Fusion surgery

Started by Smiling2gether on 01/22/2011 4:03am

I had DDD and was advised to have a spinal fusion on L5/4 S1. I had a previous operation 6 years ago, partial disectomy, this was successful until last year when I had pain in my back and left leg. I had an MRI and the consultant advised the fusion. I live in the south of London and there are very few surgeons on the NHS who do this surgery. I had the surgery 14th Dec, woke up to find I couldn't move my left foot or lower leg with numbness. The consultant(surgeon) came on the ward and advised I should get another MRI......this was done and I was informed, the vertabrae were slightly fractured when the screws went in and the screws had "moved". I was kept in hospital and advised I had to have another operation the following wee (21/12) to see what had happened and to move the screws. After the 2nd operation, I was advised the screws had been moved and secured and a small bit of bone that had been resting on my spinal nerve, removed.
Two questions really, anyone in the UK know : despite me signing a consent form and being advised I may have nerve damage, can I take legal action against the surgeon? I would have thought a specialist surgeon would know : where to place the screws and also that the bone (degenerative disc desease) would be fragile, so surely he would have taken that into account when doing the first surgery.
Secondly, as I was left for a week with the screws & bit of bone on my nerve and had drop foot and numbness, my consultant says my drop foot will recover but it will take up to 18 months, has anyone else had these symptons after surgery? I have to walk with crutches as my left leg is not strong enough, the top of my foot, 3 toes, ankle and outside of my leg are still numb, my toes are starting to curl under my foor (I have been waiting a month for a splint from the hospital, going next week for it) I have been to the first PT session and given exercises to do at home, nothing excessive, just moving the foot with the help of the strap, clenching tummy, bum & pelviv floor muscles and leg bending up whilst laying down.
I feel the consultant is just fobbing me off, saying it will recover. My next appointment with him is in a few weeks where I will have an xray. He has also said they will do some tests to check the "current" between my foot and spinal nerve, not sure if this test will happen at the next appointment or not.
Any advice or comments would be appreciated.

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Hi, My name is Teri, I am a 48 yr. old homemaker, and I live in a small town in Washington State, U.S. called Aberden. My surgery was done in Seattle, WA at the University of Washington Medical Center. I had surgery on my fifth and sixth back surgery on L5 to S1 Oct 16th 2009 and on Oct 23th 2009 they had to go back in and move a crew. When I woke from the first surgery I could not move my right foot, and it was very painful, a burning, pins and needles feeling on the top and outer part of my foot. I spent 12 days in the hospital. During those 12 days my kidneys started failing, and I started bloating up, gained about 20 pounds in just fluid. Then all of a sudden the kidneys started working. They started giving me PT in the hospital for my drop foot, they gave me a AFO for my foot so I could walk. But the AFO didnt work well because when my foot would spasm it would curl over the brace, which was very painful. So I had a custom made one 4 months after surgery. Four weeks after my surgery I developed an infection and had to return to the hospital for another eight days and another surgery, I came home with a PICC LIne running antibiotics 24/7 in me, plus 2 oral antibiotics. Had the PICC Line removed the following month. I was finally able to start PTafter that. I did six month worth of physical therapy, no change in the foot. This past Oct 2010 was my year anniversary and I was able to stop taking the oral antibiotics, all my blood work looks great, no signs of infection.
They are treating me with
2700 mg of Neurontin a day
600 mg of Tegretol a day
20 mg of Oxycodone a day
I also take 6 other medications for other ailments
I had a double by-pass 4 years ago this month.
I finally have an appointment Feb. 24th with the Pain Center at UWMC
But my surgeon is reccomending a SCS, but I am not so sure I want something implanted in me. I have tried a TENS unit but it didnt do anything. I am doing tons of research online before my appointment. I thing I want the nerves to my foot severed, so the pain will stop. Oh and by the way my back actually feels great, best its felt in over 20 years.