Post lumbar laminectomy

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Hi there. I am a 50 year old female who had lumbar laminectomy at L3/4 eight weeks ago for lumbar stenosis and spondylolisthesis. The surgeon also performed a dynamic stabilisation at this level. As I understand it, this involves the insertion of a flexible and rod and screws, similar to fusion but allowing more flexion at this level while at the same time preventing the vertebra from slipping. Prior to surgery, I was unable to walk or stand for more than 5 - 10 minutes without becoming uncomfortable because of weakness in my legs and a tight cramping sensation in my buttocks. Surgery has relieved me of these symptoms, but I now have aching in my lower back, groins and hips when standing or walking for more than 5 - 10 minutes. I wasn't given any physio follow-up after discharge from hospital, but have had a couple of sessions with a private physiotherapist. She seems to think that these pains are due to the ligaments and muscles having to stretch as my spine as been realigned and my pelvis is now tilted forwards instead of backwards as it was before. Has anyone else experienced similar pains and if so, how long did it take for them to resolve? I am also very stiff first thing in the morning and when getting up from a sitting position. I do not have any pain when sitting or lying down. Many thanks in advance. All comments will be gratefully accepted.

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  • Posted

    How long ago did you have this done I had a laminectomy, decompression (so they jack up the bones) titanium rods and screws and a fusion from a graft took out my back on the 4th March. When did you have yours done as I'm a week post op. I can't walk any further than the toilet using a walker, I can't stand more than a few minutes and have to lay on my side. I'm on multiple different pain meds including oral morphine. I ache in my lower back, hips and thighs also mine was in the S1/L5 area but the disc above is knackered too.

    It is very common for aches and pains to take months, I cannot sit for more than a minute, I cant lay on my back and it's agony.

    It takes the resilience of super woman, o can always feel the rods. I tried to cut the pain meds down but ended up in tears. It will get better I promise, my surgeon tells me this is normal. It's major surgery so your body has been to hell and back. I didn't expect it to be this hard either.

    Keep yourself busy. I've moved my bed downstairs, got family helping, got freesat fitted in my new bedroom and have started a blog to keep me busy.

    Good luck and don't worry unless you get a temperature or extreme pain. Also try a site called spine-health for more info it's fantastic xx

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    • Posted

      Just entered this forum today. Curious as to how you are doing now that your surgery is almost what? 18 months out. I had a Posterior Decompression Laminectomy with bone graft and fusion with instrumentation almost 8 weeks ago. I could do very little standing or walking pre-op but all was resolved post op. I started driving at 6 weeks (limited). I take an occasional pain pill if I find that I over did it during the day and I am unable to sleep, but I had to stop taking the muscle relaxers (once in the morning when I got up and once before bed) at 7 wks. I felt that they were causing me to be less attentive than usual. I have noticed that I do begin to experience pelvic/hip cramping if I stand in one spot for more than a few minutes. Can you please give me some idea how long this lasts. I understand that the muscles and tendons need to heal and stretch...just really impatient in wanting my life back, I guess. Thanks. 
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    • Posted

      I had a lamenectomy and lumbar spinal fusion done just 4 weeks ago. Since some of you have gone through this I have a question  I continue to have a lot of fluid build up.  The fluid had been draining out of the top of the incision but now is trapped under the skin.  when I touch the bottom of the wound, you can see the skin rise going toward the top of the wound.  I have type 2 diabetes and was wondering if this is a common thing to happen.  I see the doctor in the morning for my concerns but wondered if anyone could tell me if they had the same experience with fluid. There appears to be no infection, no bad smells to the fluid, and the wound appears to be healing ok.  So why all the fluid?  Any help would be appreciated as I am becoming increasingly worried. Thanks.  (By the way, this surgery was no walk in the park !)  I thought I would die before the severe pain went away.

       

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    • Posted

      Hello i'm looking for some advice my friend had pins and rods put in his back #4&#5 also had the infusion done his surgery was on June13th he was sent home on the 16th was doing fine getting around slowly went for a check up on the 29th of June by the July 1st had so much pain went to the er gave him some shots not good with the names of meds but i know it was muscle relaxers and valium he actually walked comes home and keep giving him muscle relaxers of course by mouth he's in so much pain in buttock and hip and legs they did xrays said everything is fine any suggestions please

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    • Posted

      There's no way around it. Narcotics and muscle relaxers are 80% worthless. Has to fight. I know I'm late commenting but get into therapy asap. Elevate legs with heat and take the diazapam when at night. You must really take it easy. BUT CAUTION to the wind. It may never be the same. Diet if obese, and little exercises at night.

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    • Posted

      This sounds like the surgeon has nicked the spinal cord sack and spinal fluid is leaking out, you must report this to the surgeon ASP,

      I am in week 16 after spinal reduction and have never had pain like I am in now, I cannot walk more than 15 feet, cannot sit/stand longer than five minutes, can't drive my car any more, can't lay on my back / side, I have problems toileting, constipation for the last 16 weeks that has but destroyed my anus and piles,

      I saw my surgeon yesterday 50 miles from my home and all he said was it's not what I have done so get yourself to a pain clinic, my pain drives me to the edge of taking my own life. 

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    • Posted

      It's very unlikely that your fluid loss would be CSF ( central spinal fluid ). The average amt. of spinal fluid in an average male pt. is only 75 ml/cc for the entire spinal canal and brain cavity and losing just 10-15 ml of fluid can cause a severe spinal headache. It is much more probable that your wound leakage is either serous fluid (clear) or mildly sero sanguinous ( red blood cells mxed with clear fluid ). You didn't mention what the fluid color was but I would assume that being 4 wks. post operative it would be quite clear.

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    • Posted

      Hey, I was on this website looking for folks who have had a spinal fusion when I saw your post from 22 days ago. First I am sorry for what you are going through dealing with the pain. I have been in pain for 2 years. Ortho surgeon says I need a lumbar fusion with instrumentation at level L5 S1 due to a bulging disk pressing on spinal nerve, He says my disk is shot. I don't want to go through it but the pain is ridiculous.

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  • Posted

    Thanks so much for your reply. I had my op 8 weeks ago. It sounds as though yours was much more comples than mine. I didn't have a fusion as such. The 2 vertebrae at L3 and L4 have been anchored with a small flexible rod and screws but no bone graft.

    I wasn't in much pain after the op as I had been given morphine. It was a bit uncomfortable when changing positions in bed and my wound was very sore to lie on. I had a drain in my wound and a urinary catheter both of which came out the following day.

    I was walking to the end of the ward and back the morning after my op with no assistance. I took oral morphine for a couple of days after which I was just on paracetamol. However I do have a very high pain threshold and everyone is different.

    Your recovery will take longer as you've had fusion with bone graft. I was able to walk up and down stairs by the time of my discharge from hospital. I had my op on Thursday 16th January and went home on the Monday.

    My original sciatica type pains and leg weakness have now resolved. I'm still getting aches and pains in hips and pelvis but this is because I'm now walking with a staigher posture and the ligaments are being pulled. I know this will probably take months to get better. I've just go to be more patient!!

    I'm going back to work tomorrow after 2 months off. I work as a medical secretary and normally work 37.5 hours a week but am going back on phased return. I'm doing 4 hours tomorrow and then having a rest day Friday. I'll then be working 3 mornings a week for 2 weeks and then 3 whole days for 2 weeks and then hopefully back to full time after that. I have excellent support from my manager and occupational health department,

    I really hope you start to feel better soon. Don't rush things and listen to what your body is telling you. For the first few weeks I would suddenly be hit by an overwhelming feeling of tiredness and would have to sleep for a few hours. Thankfully that now seems to have gone.

    Wishing you all the best xx

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  • Posted

    Absolutely the fusion is the worst part. Not only do they do the laminectomy (remove bone to get to the flat disc), they jack up the vertebrae then screws and rod it back into place. They they cut away bone from my back and put this into place to firm a solid bone to strengthen the back and 2 vertebrae.

    I have to treat ny back like glass for 6 weeks. No twisting, turning, bending, I can hardly walk, can't sit fir more than a few minutes. The pain is slowly getting better but having to constantly lay on my side with a big pillow in between my legs is fun. The bottom disc too and really difficult to recover as everything you do uses the strength from this area. I tried to warm a bowl of food my husband left me in the fridge and couldn't lift it ha ha.

    Everyone is different. We all heal different. I was uber fit prior to this working out 6 days a week, even with a degenerative back doing a mixture of yoga, weights, insanity and interval bodyweight training.

    It's certainly a life changing op. Taking 2 years to fuse, if it fuses at all. I'm well excited as I have no sciatica and numbness or leg weakness.

    If you are having any back op you need to research research research find out all the pros and cons, you need to get healthy and fit. I only eat Paleo no processed foods at all. You need to make an informed decision why are we being offered an op. My surgeon refused to operate on my sciatica, spinal stenosis or knackered discs as it's a big op, life changing and a fusion should only ever ve performed if ypu have spinal deformity. When I moved under x ray my spine was starting to deform, so he performed the multiple ops.

    Thanks for the replies and goodluck everyone.

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  • Posted

    Hi Lynn. I would imagine that you will be having either a laminectomy where they remove some of the bone covering the spinal cord to make more room for the nerves. If your spine is unstable they will probably put in some sort of metalwork to make it more stable and reduce the amount of movement.

    When is your op due?

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    • Posted

      Hi had laminectomy in Feb..chose not to have the fusion but even with just this.. please believe it takes a long time to recover!

      Be slow, mindful of movement and have your Physio. It takes a year to recover please just takes things slow.

      Annie

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    • Posted

      Hello Ann I'm do glad you took the time to reply to me and give me some encouragement. I certainly appreciate it. BUT here's the thing.

      Had my surgery in may, started physio in June and I'm currently still in physio, thinking about pulling the plug on this thing. IN August at my surgical follow up with my Dr he explained to me that the reason things may be getting worse is due to the spondylosis I have in my lower spine. He wants to go back in and out some reason and rods in and he says that this may help me. MAY HELP ME, is the words I don't wanna hear, so he referred me to a pain management specialist that could possibly relieve some pain with injections. I know what they are and had them before and they've done completely nothing for me.

      It's so psychologically disheartening for all this to go wrong for me. I sleep 4 hours a day including the night, and spend most of it in the recliner. I Should be upright not bent over still. Even my physical therapist realises that something is still wrong and after trying to build up my core, we decided to just stick with a little stretching and heat with stem.

      My surgery in the first place was the most painful thing I've had, and to to this other thing I still need time to decide if I'm going to roll the dice and see if it works. The surgeon gets paid either way. Me, I stand to continue to suffer. Thanks again and hopefully by the end of November I'll get some answers and a plan forward to have some relief.

      So sad since I've been working since I was 16 and now 51 and cannot pick up either of my grand daughter's, both who are e years old. I have put this in God's hands and thank him I'm still alive. In any case thank you once again and if anyone has a suggestion or a recommendation, please send it through I read them all.

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