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Numbness and tingling in legs 6+ years after spinal fusions plus possible neurological problems
SherrieSnow1970 posted:
I have had 2 lumbar spinal fusions. The first was in October, 2006 (L4-L5) and the second six months later in April 2007 (L5-S1). I've also been told I have degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis and ankylosing spondylitis (from the neurosurgeon) but haven't been treated for them.

I currently see a pain management doctor who is (somewhat) forcing me to have a pain pump implanted. I'm scared because so many of the medications they would use for the pump I'm allergic to (Morphine, Fentanyl, Demerol) and I'm afraid I'll develop an allergy to the one medication he's tested so far (Dilaudid) because I developed allergies to the other medications pretty quickly. I'm also allergic to Neurontin (gabapentin--causes extreme swelling in extremities), Darvocet, Penicillin, Ceclor, Zithromax, Tequin, Biaxin, Tamiflu, Baclofen, Kadian and numerous other medications. I was on oxycodone 15 mg immediate release 4 times a day but after a fainting spell in September (my own fault for taking medication on an empty stomach) my doctor put me on Lortab 10/325 4 times a day (along with Lidoderm patches) which does NOTHING to knock the pain.

Within the last month I've noticed some new symptoms. The pain in my lumbar region has migrated from left to right and I'll sometimes get a knot on the right side of my incision. Within the last 2 weeks I've had numbness and tingling in both legs (mainly the right). It comes and goes. I've also had bladder incontinence.

I have a doctor's visit scheduled for Thursday and have called and left several messages with my doctor's office. I'm worried for several reasons. Obviously I'm worried because of the surgeries I've had. I'm also worried because my mother was diagnosed with transverse myelitis in late 1995 and passed away from it in August of 1997 at age 62. I may be reading more into the TM thing but my worry is still there.

Has anyone experienced these symptoms so far out from surgery? Can bone growth over the screws cause the nerves and/or spinal cord to be affected and ultimately bring on these symptoms?

I don't want to go back to the original neurosurgeon (a man who is a "world renown" neurosurgeon with horrific bedside manners and overall bad attitude toward patients who "call him out" for being nearly 2 hours late for a scheduled office visit) because of his verbally abusive treatment of me after my second surgery and I don't know about trusting another neurosurgeon with removing the rods and screws (something my pain management doctor insists I have done).

Am I reading too much into everything or should I really be this worried? Thank you in advance for your input and advice. I am making a list of things to talk to my doctor about when I see him Thursday and any information given here will go on the list.
darlyn05 responded:
It's possible you are reading too much into it. I have not had surgeries at this point, so I can't comment on that respect.

From the sound of it, you have a good knowledge of spine issues. YOU are your best health care advocate. If you are feeling that you are being pressured into something you do not feel comfortable with, then ask a whole lot more questions and don't consent to anything until you are satisfied that you have exhausted all the research, options and other possibilities. Please do not be bullied into something because of the title they hold, like Dr. Some of them forget that they are human just as we, not God(no disrespect intended), and often fail or make mistakes otherwise why do they need malpractice insurance? Sounds like the one Dr/Surgeon you had/have has let the title and such go to his head. If you choose to stay with this Dr/Surgeon due to his 'world renown' abilities, can you look past his demeanor atleast for a time?

And please, do not let them give you anything that holds any ingredients to your allergies. That could be fatal.

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For more information, visit the Duke Health Spine Center