Laminectomy with fusions
Has anyone had a laminectomy w/fusions done? If so, have you experienced swelling in your legs and feet? My husband had the laminectomy done on October 25th, 2019 and surgery went well. He woke up with very little pain and was up and walking within a few hours. However, he contracted an e-coli infection and had to be re-admitted to Emory hospital and had surgery to clean his surgery wound. Thankfully, the infection did not go down as far as the hardware. He was given Ertapenem in the hospital and his left leg and foot began to swell. After a week in the hospital he came home on a PIKK line through which I administer a daily infusion of Ertapenem. The swelling initially was only in the left leg and foot but last night the right leg and foot was also swollen. Talked w/his infectious disease doctor's nurse today and she advised that swelling was not a side effect of Ertapenem. Just wondering if anyone out there has had this surgery and experienced swelling in your legs and feet. Thank you for any and all comments.
Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Spine Health Support Group.
I am not the person who asked the question, but i am interested in your experiences as I am probably looking at L4 fusion due to a badly slipped/herniated disk. I had a laminectomy on my L5-S1 in outpatient surgery December 22, 2016. I have been in Physical Therapy for 4 weeks for both the surgery and to avoid major surgery on my L4. I thought things were getting better until I had a minor fender bender in a parking lot. I do mean minor too. My back and right side began hurting the next day, and now 2 1/2 weeks later I am in incapacitated so that I can make it to the bathroom and back with great pain. I think this time they will be doing a fusion on my L4. I am scheduled for an MRI but not until April 7th! That seems far away especially since I feel like I should be in the hospital right now.
Constant pain is wearing. I’m normally a positive, happy person, even when I’ve been in constant low-mid level pain for almost exactly one year now. The level of pain I feel now is conscious, heavy, and constant. I am already tired of carrying it after only 4 days. I asked my pain doctor to add Hydrocodone to my medications, but 5 mg/325 acetaminophen; 4 times a day wasn’t working. I am also on Gabapentin 30 mg, 2 times a day; and Baclofen 10 mg, 3 times a day. I was taking Tramadol 40 mg, 4 times a day, but the doctor said to stop taking it when I started taking the Hydrocodone. However, none of these has masked the pain enough. I did take Tramadol along with the Hydrocodone for two doses before he said to take only one, not both, and was relieved of most of my pain. I had thought it was OK to take both because I read that they affect different parts of the brain. But, I’m not a doctor, so he knows best about these things.
I want to know how fusion of the L4 has worked for others and if it helped their pain levels. Thanks Gail B.
gailb, I read your history and our stories sound very similar, neck to low back and in between. Throughout my adult life i have carried the attitude that I can (and will) do anything, especially if I have to ask or if it’s not being done as I would! Wrong, bad attitude first and foremost! I was the one who did above and beyond for all..just took care of everyone and got ‘er done, at any cost.
I felt like Humpty Dumpty in that each time I had a migraine from the neck or low back go out, I went to the chiro to have it put together again. Helped for many years. Please understand, I am a trained xray tech and have seen too many surgeries ‘gone wrong’, and always said “they’ll never cut on my spine”. Never say never because it will come back to bite you!
I have seen a neurologist for at least 15 years with all the same treatments that you mentioned. All those treatments, as well as exercise and nerve blocks, are only band aids if you have real problems.
First week of May, 2016 I saw an orthopedic surgeon (MRI, blocks, pills). I was told they would have to fuse L4-5. No sir! Got 2nd opinion from a neurosurgeon and a new neurologist. In Sept. we chose the laminectomy along with opening the space for the nerve. Good for about 4 weeks, till vacation which made everything worse than prev. Sent me to another neurosurgeon (same office). By this time in Nov. I was in unbearable pain and slipping and grinding in the spine. Bingo, fusion! Didn’t take place until Jan 18, 2017. The vertebra had been slipping back and forth on the sciatic nerve and abusing it so badly that it will take many months for it to heal. Surgeon was great, back is fine w/care, but that nerve! Ugh! I’ve had many surgeries and this was the worst but age could be a factor, and I also have fibro.
By the time I had surgery, I couldn’t walk w/out help, my leg would give way, and I couldn’t hold my torso erect.
My advice to you would be: Have someone prescribe a medical back brace, get a second opinion (all drs. are not created equal, do your homework on your doctors).and ask questions. If you have a good doctor he normally won’t do the fusion until you can’t walk. Lighten up on your activities while you can still function. If you have the fusion you will be forced to stop normal activity and it will nearly kill a strong willed person. It has taken many tears to break my independent spirit.
I have been taking Percocet 5 or 10 since May and am down to 1 or 2 per day. I had no problem with heavy meds in hospital, although all bodies are different. I still take Gabapentin for fibro and sleep, and as far as I’m aware, it’s not addicting. I take Tizanidine for muscle relaxer.
Ok now, I have written my book, but if there is anything I have left out or anything else, just let me know. Please take care and may God bless you on this journey.
hello, I had the procedure you are talking about starting from the time I was 24 and last surgery 36. It was like a domino, you alter one and here I am at age 59 with the back of an 80 year old. Following L4-5 S1, they all ended up herniated. I just found out there is a bulge in the only remaining disc. L1. Would I do it i over? NO. I always thought when the pain gets bad enough what else could I do. No, the fusion was a disaster. I was told there was a non union, I was told it looked great, and told it wasn’t there. At my 6 week check up for my first surgery, I told the doctor it doesn’t feel like you did anything, he said it was surgery pain. I asked him to humor me and do an MRI, the part of the disc they left because they only take what is bulged, was bulged, just this time it was the part they left. I lost my 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, now my 50’s. I was in good shape, I loved life. I have spent all those years in pain and given an 8 pound weight restriction. I could not have a pregnancy because my back couldn’t take it, which wasn’t a problem since it couldn’t take a sex life either. Ask yourself how bad is it. If your life sucks now, I would risk it, otherwise, run and don’t look back. Good Luck, From Michaela Just one thing, once the get you on the narcotics, when they are finished with you, you are on own. In pain. Most likely wind up in a Pain Clinic.
Hello @red3, how are you doing with the pain in your legs and feet at night from your spinal fusion? Has it improved at all?
@charlena, has your swelling got any better with time?
After my husband finished the erbapenem the swelling in his legs subsided. I think that more than proves it was the erbapenem causing the swelling. He still has pain in his knee and leg from top of leg down through the knee and into the lower leg. Physical therapist advises due to twisted nerves….
Hello, yes it has improved. My legs still have a stiff, fatigued feeling though. I was very active (walking & yoga) before the surgery so my body is feeling the lack of activity, though I am still walking sometimes twice a day. I am 7 weeks out from the surgery and able to do a bit more every week. I am taking one extra strength Tylenol twice a day and icing 3-4 times a day in the recliner. The pain and referral before the surgery seems to be gone but I still have a fair amount of post surgical pain.
@JustinMcClanahan, thanks for asking. It has improved though I still feel a deep fatigue in both legs and feet. I enjoyed stretching/yoga on a daily basis before the surgery and because of the restrictions I'm not doing it. Could be my body rebelling against this but also my nerves are probably still irritated from the surgery? I'm about 8 weeks out so I'm not sure.
My husband is 4 months out & still has deep fatigue in legs/hips/feet. Also nerves still painful. PT advises nerve is "bunched up"….
Charlena, good to know of your husbands experience. I look forward to starting P.T. but I need to be PATIENT.
I think it was about 4-5 weeks after when he started PT. I'm not sure it's doing anything other than possibly strengthening his back.