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problem after back surgery
lvnmylife25f posted:
I had a thoracic laminectomy with fusion in August of 2010. I have a titanium plate and screws from the surgery. After I had surgery I started noticing these hard, painful lumps around where my plate and screws are. There are a few of them now, one on each side of my scar, a weird indent above the scar, and now a big lump right in the middle of it. They've shown up over time, not all at once, but once they appear they stay. I owe the surgeon two hundred dollars that I can't pay right now, so I can't see him. I need to know if anyone has an idea about what the lumps are, and what causes them. Is this a dangerous thing? Could there be a problem with the plate or screws? Please help.
bj1208 responded:
hi and welcome to the support group -

I'm not sure if u are describing "SCAR BUMPS" these are hard bumps that can show up around the incision - after my surgery (Anterior Lumbar Fusion L5-S1) the hospital and my surgeons PA had told me to gently massage my incision so that it will be smooth and there won't be any 'lumps' developing - so not sure if this is what you are experiencing -

Also, before I had my surgery I had 2 of these "lumps" one on each side of my facet joint - they were very painful especially after I would over do anything - My Pain Management Physician told me 4 years ago he refers to these as a "MOUSE" saying it is like a calcium deposit in that area that becomes tender - he said you can put your finger on it and move it around some - so this may be what you are feeling too

I still have those - seems they come more often since I have more back problems and the slightest things I do tend to overdo it on my back.

As far as your plate, screws and cage - Since ur surgery was in August last year, I'm sure you had x-rays that were taken before each visit to check the progress of your fusion. And I'm sure ur hardware is very secure.

Hope this helps - take care - Joy
lvnmylife25f replied to bj1208's response:
Thanks Joy it does help. Perhaps that's all the lumps are, and if so then it doesn't sound so alarming. As for the x-rays, well I haven't had any. I haven't been able to see the surgeon since he actually did the surgery.

Also, is it odd that I don't have a cage? I had never heard of that until the other day. I guess that's pretty common with this type of surgery, but I don't have one.

I understand about pretty much anything you do being too much for your back. I am still very limited in what I'm able to do, but since I still have so many damaged discs I figure that's probably why.
bj1208 replied to lvnmylife25f's response:
hi again - sometimes with a laminectomy they may not put a cage in with the fusion - it depends on the surgeon -

Mine was a full fusion - removed the entire disc and put the cage in with the plate and screws - sometimes they will use part of another bone (hip) and put that in the cage and medicine so it will help reproduce a new bone - with mine they just put the medicine in -

I would see if you can get in to see ur surgeon - just to check and see how u are healing etc., and they may do a current MRI to check on this -

I too have other damaged discs and because of this need MRI's done each year to see if they are getting worse as I was told by 3 surgeons that more surgery would only add to my pains -

any way - keep us posted - take care - Joy
Rafael Levin, MD, MSc responded:
If the lumps are not painful and you are otherwise doing well from your surgery, this problem is probably not dangerous in the short term. Nevertheless, it is possible, though unlikely, that the lumps represent some loosening of your hardware which may or may not be clinically significant. No one would be in a better position than your own surgeon to examine these lumps and reasure you as to what they represent. You should make it a priority to see him, and don't let $200 get in the way of your recovery. Besides, being that you are a post operative patient of his, I am confident that your surgeon will be flexible with you regarding the $200 debt. I wish you all the best medically and financially.
lvnmylife25f replied to Rafael Levin, MD, MSc's response:
Thank you both! I have an upcoming appointment with the surgeon in a few weeks, and will let you know how it goes. : )

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