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L4-S1 TLIF w/ instrumentation 17 yr old female

Started by laxgirlie13 on 03/21/2011 8:26am

Let's start from the beginning. March 2010 I suffered from a disc herniation at L4-L5 from a lacrosse injury and in June 2010 I went through a L4-L5 discectomy. After the surgery the pain in my legs was 100% relieved until about November 2010 I went back to my surgeon's office and went through PT and steriods. Beginning of February 2011 I went to shovel snow and I heard a "pop" along with immediate excruiating pain. 2 days later I was in his office again and he prescribed the Medrol dose pack with Meloxicam (sp?) to try to help my nerve pain. This treatment failed and I received an epidural lumbar spinal injection on a Friday and on that following Monday I was in excruiating pain back and radiating leg pain down my right leg and he told me to go to the ER for a steriod drip and I was admitting in the hospital for 8 days before having a TLIF w/ instrumentation from L4-S1 because of a reherniated L4-L5 disc along with spinal instability from L4-S1, grade 1 spondylolisthesis on L5-S1, and spinal stenosis from L4-S1.
Question 1: After surgery I was 75% better than before with the leg pain, but I lost sensation on my right heel, which I had full sensation of before surgery. Is this going to come back?
Question 2: My surgeon isn't requiring me to go through post-op PT because of my age I am more active than people who need PT. Should I still ask to go through PT anyways?
Question 3: My surgeon also told me that my nerves were so damaged/trapped that I may have more sciatic pain before I get completely better. Has anyone went through this?
Any other information you can give?

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5 Responses


Go ahead. Scare the gijeebees outa me! I had surgery in 1998 and had two fusions. Went in from front and back. Did well for 10 years, but then started having progressive problems in lower back. Without going into chronology of treatment, suffice it to say I have multi-level fusion (5) on 12-1-2010. Included decrompression for serious stenosis and bulging discs.

Have extensive hardware, including three cages, rods, screws, etc.

Following surgery, my spine POPPED frequently (surgeon said it was trapped gas in the spine. In addition, my spine felt like it was grinding whenever I moved. After two and a half months, the grinding seemed to subside. I still have bad spots in my left side, above my buttock when I move the wrong way.

I fell about two weeks ago. Since then I have been in misery. I grind continuously whenever I move. I have that God awfull pain when I move the wrong way. I know it will take several more months for the fusions to take progress, but I think I'm in for continous pain.

Following my surgery, I had numbness in both of my upper thighs. It is beginning to heal. I don't know what the final outcome is going to be, but I'm beleiving I'm in for a whole lot of pain and misery.

I hope you heal up quickly. All I know is that with the extensive surgery and multi-level fusions, I had better be very, very careful and more conservative than the directions I get from the surgeons office.

Good luck.


You are so young to be having these problem. So sorry. I had five level lumbar fusion Jan 5 2011. I also still have loss of sensation in my left foot. My hope and docs hope is it will come back. Fusion is a major trauma to your back, don't forget. I know it is tough for a young active person to be patient, but give it time to heal. The nerves in your back are still aggravated from being pinched. I would recommend that you request PT. This surgery is not easy to recover from. You need to learn the proper exercises to do from a therapist. Let your parents do the fighting for you. I also have sciatic pain three months after my surgery, so you are not alone. I have been told that most people will recover to the extent of none to minimal nerve pain. Only time will tell. Be patient, and don't rush it. You have a long life ahead of you, so make sure you heal properly and take your time so you can enjoy your life ahead. Good luck, and Hope all goes well! Be positive.


hey Kevin. I also have the numbness on my thighs. That is from the pressure from laying in the position they need you to do the surgery. I am 3 months out of surgery, and the sensation has not returned. I also have numbness around my sternum from being on the OR table for 13 hours. That is the least of my worries though. You are not alone my friend. I also have some popping sounds that make me cringe. But I feel better than before the surgery. That is a blessing. Be patient and take care my fellow lumbar challenged!!!!!!!


well thanks guys for the info. i'm going to go through with the therapy. and i now have a CSF leak that is being super stubborn to get fixed up. so far i've had 3 tries to get this fixed from the glue to a drain and i'm still having leaks. my ortho spine surgeon says it's because i have a high pressure CSF system so the glue keeps popping off. i've been in the hospital for over 2 weeks already :( and i'm probably going to have surgery to get this fixed. but other than that, i'm feeling soooo much better after my fusion. no more leg pain and my back pain is very minimal compared to before surgery.


Answer 1: I was told with nerve pain everyone is different. I hope at your age that it would get better. And if/when (no pushing it) you are finally allowed to bend over and touch your toes, you will straighten out your spinal cord more which may help the nerve pain and numbness. My types of numbness changed post surgery.

Answer 2: Honestly I would push for PT to at least learn what to do/not to do and when you should be doing it at what stage. At 34 I am not that old, and was in shape beforehand, but afterwards its amazing how much you deteriorate in 5 months.

Answer 3: See answer one (yes I am being slightly smart alecky - did I get a smile?) Your best bet might be acupuncture. They also told me long term to look into yoga and any core developing activities. Make sure your spine is fused before you do any weightlifting.

Good Luck.