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18 Years Old, 4 Days Post Double Spinal Fusion Questions

Hello all,

I'm an 18 year old male around 5' 9" and weigh just below 300 lbs now (Have lost over 20lbs.) . Have been dealing with back pain and sciatica for over a year now. (Please check my medical history to get a better underatanding of my experiences so far in this journey). I reherniated in September of 2017 and after failed epidurals, various medications, painful PT that didn't help I was looking at my third back surgery this year. On December 20, 2017 I went in to get a spinal fusion at the L4 L5 level. I had beautiful clear MRI pictures that showed the reherniation (second reherniation) and had EMG done to make sure it was L4 L5 level only being affected. Surgery went very well except for one thing. I woke up being told casually that I had a double spine fusion down to S1 by one of the nurses! I was very confused but finally got to see my parents and the surgeon to find out what happened. While fusing my L4 L5 level the surgeon found that my S1 vertebrae's spondylolisthesis was a lot worse than we could see on the imaging. It not only was slipped but part of the bone was loose (the area where they would do a laminectomy) and the vertebrae was moving around and wiggling. The surgeon said some people are born this way and their vertebrae's can be loose like mine was. (Also a side note: I have an "extra" vertebrae as the surgeon said when your growing a smaller vertebrae fuses to the S1 vertebrae forming the large S1 vertebrae most people have. Mine never fused so I have an "extra" small vertebrae, but he said it happens to some people and shouldn't cause issues.) Anyway the fusion went well and I'm up and moving around fairly ok, I'm not speed racer yet, but I'm doing good. I still need walker for support to walk; I can walk without walker just very slowly and only for short distances with someone right behind me just in case I were to fall. I still have some residual nerve pain and numbness in legs of course, but it is a lot better than what it was. Now I have some questions for those of you have had L4 to S1 fused. If anyone can offer me any answers or share their experiences I am all ears or I guess eyes since were online.


1. I woke up from surgery with left hands pinky and ring finger completely numb and asleep and back of left arm running up to shoulder was completely numb. I was told it was caused by the position the had my body and arms in. It has been 4 days since surgery and have 80% of feeling back in fingers and arm. Did anyone else experience this after surgery?


2. Both my butt cheeks have been in extreme pain, very sore, stiff, and get very deep sharpish kind of pain in right butt cheek especially. My right butt cheek definently hurts the most (worse than my back at most times throughout the day). Has anyone had this pain before after a fusion? Is it muscular and was it caused from being in hospital laid up for 3 days? Or is it because my surgeon took the bone grafts from my right hip and is that causing the pain?


3. Despite all I've been through I feel a lot better than I did before surgery and I used to weight 315lbs. at heaviest and that was post second surgery in February 2017. I haven't been able to stand on scale since surgery but before surgery I weighed just below 300 lbs. and know I've lost a little more weight. With me only being 18, used to be very active and had a very physical job before first injury in November 2016 and am steadily losing weight. How likely do you think I will be able to bounce back from this and heal? I know I've lost some range of motion, but does anyone think my body will recover from this and possibly not have any permanent pain caused by the surgery?


-Thanks

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Comments

  • Don’t be discouraged it takes time to heal. I also had spinal fusion surgery on Dec 11th. It was supposed to be at L4-L5 but surgeon found fracture that wasn’t visible on mri and had to repair and fuse l4-l5-S1. I am now 3 weeks out. When they do fusion surgery’s they irritate the nerves. Nerves take a wile to heal and calm down. My dr. gave me steroid packs to help with the inflammation nerve pain as well as neurotin a nerve medicine that helps calm the nerves. In the beginning it’s important to take your pain meds and muscle relaxers on schedule so your body can rest and heal. Don’t be afraid to talk with your doctor about your pain. Also get up and walk often. Moving around helps and will help you heal faster. Happy Holidays and best of luck.

  • Thanks! Yes, I just saw my surgeon today and got dressing removed. My incision is healing nicely and I was able to walk into the office today without a walker to see him. It's been 12 days and I'm feeling a lot better. My S1 vertebrae was cracked on both sides causing it move around so much. I'm glad he did the 2 level fusion I can feel the difference. Yes, I am on top of my meds and have been doing lots of laps around the kitchen lol! Still got some strong nerve pains, but ice and a heating pad have been a huge help. Hope your recovery goes smoothly as mine has gone so far. Best of luck and Happy New Year!

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