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Posted in: Spondylolisthesis, and Surgery.

Problems after L4-5 fusion

Started by Merij211 on 12/15/2020 1:54am


nice to meet everyone.

I had an L4-5 TLIF 6/19/19 after a work related (patient lift) injury back in 10/2017. Worker’s Comp, so it took a long time to get to diagnosis, which I ended up getting myself via upright MRI because I kept getting muscular diagnoses instead of the 7-8mm of spondylolisthesis that it actually was.

My symptoms before surgery were lower left back pain with burning that went into the side of my butt, laterally down my leg to my ankle and foot/toe, numbness, and weakness. Like many I’ve spoken to, nothing, including painkillers and a tens unit, helped and I stopped at one steroid injection that made it considerably worse.

Post-op, the burning pain resolved, but the pain down my leg, numbness, and increased pain with activity never resolved. I had a follow up (again weight bearing) MRI in March 2020, which showed the fusion was healing well, but it was done without contrast, so there was an obscured area around the nerve root.

A few months ago, I started having the burning pain in my left lower back again, especially after leaning forward. My neurosurgeon had me try a medrol pack which made no difference. About a month ago, I started having intermittent sharp, shooting pain down the back of my leg and my whole foot (esp the outer edge), with waves of pins and needles. I’ve never had it down the back of the leg before and my usual pain (back/butt/lateral leg) is a lot worse.

I wondered if anyone else has had this happen? I don’t know if this additional new location (back of the leg) is some kind of fluke radiating pain or if my L5-S1 may be an issue. The thought of another surgery isn’t a happy one; the last one was excruciating. Appreciate any light anyone may be able to shed.


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