Lumbar Fusion Surgery

Lumbar Fusion Surgery

Hello Everyone. I am a 55 year old male who had spinal fusion surgery over a year ago. Through the years I encountered back issues on occasion where the frequency and intensity started to increase. I was able to work through it until the pain got to the point where something had to be done. I had Spinal fusion surgery over a year ago on my S1 through L4. It fixed the issue I was encountering but created other ones. Now, I have daily flucuating "boney aches" right on my lumbar spine area, tightness and aches in my right leg along with a burning sensation in my right thigh, and a tight skin feeling, aches, slight swelling, and burning sensation on the tops of both feet running from the ankle area to my toes. Since the surgery, I have gone through physical therapy and recently had spinal epidural injections. The injections is a temporary fix and has stopped the severe muscle spasms that I was encountering, and has decreased the tightness/ache in my right leg. However, I still encounter the fluxcuating ache on my spine and the issues with my feet on a daily basis. Their are occasions where it is tolerable and others not so. I am still taking muscle relaxers and pain medication daily. My surgeon informed me his part is done and referred me to the Pain Management Doctor that I am currently seeing and another doctor to file for medical disability due to my current condition and continued issues. What I thought was a little strange was the surgeon never showed me the x-rays and would always inform me everything was normal as far as the hardware and fusion. When I had the injections from the Pain Management Doctor, I noticed they printed out a 3D photo of my spine and hardware. When I saw the photo and started asking questions, I was informed by my current doctor that he would not discuss anything related to the hardware or fusion in the photo, that he was treating me for pain management, and to go back to the surgeon that performed the surgery if I had any questions concerning the hardware, etc. Kind of strange. Anyways, I was able to obtain the x-rays. Out of curiosity, I researched my symptons and reviewed other lumbar fusion x-rays that were available on line to compare. Unfortunately, I did not come across any that looked like mine and I am not a doctor. I will be moving outside the state very shortly and will be getting a second opinion from an outside doctor. Has anyone else encountered the same issues?

6 Replies

  • Seems bad form not to have discussed fully both what he intended to do and what was done.

    Good luck with the second opinion.

    It never ceases to amaze me ( though why am I surprised ) at the arrogance of consultants.


  • Sorry to hear that you're still suffering after surgery. I can totally sympathise with you since having a similar type of surgery to you. I had a condition called spondylolithesis (major grade) , which resulted in me having L4/5 to S1 fusion with nerve root decompression. Unfortunately the surgery was unsuccessful, and Since having the op, I have been left with chronic pain in my spine, back, leg and foot. Burning, tingling, cramps and severe stabbing pains to name but a few symptoms.

    Like you, I felt that information was being kept from me and asked to view my notes. Despite being in surgery for over 8 hrs, I was absolutely shocked to only find 1 A4 piece of paper with L4/5 to S1 fusion wrote on it in large writing, signed and dated by the consultant.

    There were no anethitists or nursing notes during the 8 hrs of surgery. All my pre and post op notes were there to view.

    No one has explained to me what has happened to them.

    Most recently I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I struggle on a daily basis to get out of bed. My current pain relief medication does not have the same effects as it did when I first started them. I'm current being weaned off MST 30 mg twice daily, although I take other meds, the pain specialist tells me, there is nothing else to replace the morphine 😢 I am at the end of my tether and severely depressed 😖 with the level of pain I'm in. I struggle to sleep at Night and It takes me until 4pm before I'm able to get out of bed.😴 it really is a living nightmare.

    Take care.

  • I have heard of the same problems from the surgery and the hardware sometimes people get better most times people get worse unfortunately and I have found out over the years when a doctor won't talk about something especially a surgeon and it's the surgeon that did the surgery they're hiding something they see that they made a mistake possibly or left something out and it's generally the fact that they won't talk because they're afraid of opening themselves up to a lawsuit that is generally the case not all the time most doctors and surgeons generally they don't hide anything from you unless they're scared that they screwed up one thing that I know helps and it helps amazing with chronic pain but look this up it's a pain pump you do have to have surgery the pump is put into your abdomen and you have an IV running to your spine basically right at the source of your pain and it periodically injects a small amounts of morphine and sometimes steroids and with it being right there at the source it can help so much it can stop the pain or lessen it alot and give you back your life it's like having an epidural that women have when they're giving birth except for you can still move that pain is just gone or lessened one option is removing the hardware and having either cadaver disc or synthetic just put in there to put that cushion back between the vertebrae and move the vertebrae off the spinal cord and nerves but that doesn't always work unfortunately we haven't progressed enough in the medical field to find a cure for this hopefully soon though I'm only 32 and been dealing with this for 4 years of having 3 herniated discs in a row that are just sitting on top of each other pressing in to my spine at l3 l4 and l5 one doctor said if he didn't no better he would think it was scoliosis but if not it was from an injury that did this literally got pushed forward towards my abdomen on to my spinal cord.

  • Hi

    I have spinal fusion 15 months ago and I wish I never did it. I woke up from surgery with severe burning pain in the sole of my left foot. Never had that before surgery. I still have the pains in the left foot and also right foot. My back is okay but if I stand or walk too long it hurts. I wish very healthy a s active at 48 and now this has screwed me up. I wish u luck.

  • I too had spinal fusion after an accident and shattered my disc between L5 + S1 causing damage to my spinal cord and nerve supplying my left leg. I am left with some permanent nerve damage and weakness to my left leg. The most helpful therapy for me was months of regular hydrotherapy and physiotherapy. It took a long time to find pain relief combinations that helped for me. 3 years on, the pain is a lot better around the fusion site, but now I have severe pain in my thoracic spine and above the fusion. I have developed schmorls nodes, but have been told they are no way bad enough to operate on. I have been referred to the pain management clinic/course as a way of fobbing me off by a registrar who doesn't know my case - serious mis diagnosis for 18 months. I was crying and litterally climbing the walls in pain this morning in the clinic and was told to put a heat pack on it!

    My xray's look nothing like yours. I had bone grafts from my pelvis and pins aswell as 2 rods and 4 screws and mine looks so more tidy and better angled screws. I would be concerned about that xray and would get a second opinion.

    Did you find the pain management course helpful? Despite the agony i'm in, I keep trying to do gentle exercise to keep things moving.

  • I appreciate those that have responded and sharing their stories. It is nice being able to discuss the issues with others that have been through it or going through the same issues. I have another appointment next week and will see where it goes from there. I had concerns when I saw the x-rays myself but didn't want to over react and think the worst. My gut feeling tells me something is amiss.

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