Did not have any symptoms till about one year after surgery.now pain is so extreme I have been to the emergency room on two occasions was told that I now have peripheral neuropathy.very concerned that now I am going to have neuropathy for life.please I need more details of how this could have happened. Due to surgery.Very much worried about my being able to return to a close to normal life,right now I'm miserable. PLEASE HELP! THANK YOU IN ADVANCE
Can lumbar fusion cause peripheral neuropathy ?
Question posted by Bob denny on 20 Feb 2015
Last updated on 23 October 2021
Let’s not give people false info here! Lumbar fusion or any part of the spine is known for causing neuropathy at times. Specifically when the fusion fails or if you have an abundance of scar tissue. Also it can happen due to the hardware. Typically it can be felt in the feet or legs with a lumbar fusion. But depending on where you had the fusion and what nerves are impacted depends on where you would feel the neuropathy. I am being scheduled this week to remove my fusion hardware due to complications and neuropathy is one of the complications indeed. I’m 39 years old, 1 year and 3 months since fusion and 2 years and 6 months since the car accident (I was not at fault) that caused my spine injury. It’s so easy to be quick to blame diabetes or other diseases for neuropathy. But there is a medical saying “when you hear hoofbeats , think horses not zebras” Meaning a spine issue is more likely the main reason for neuropathy when an injury is present. (Injury includes the fusion surgery)
Surgery is so invasive, yes it can be, but only a Dr could tell for sure. As for the rest of your life? Very god chance that will not be the case, provided the proper steps are taken to first find out, from a Dr what exactly is the cause for the symptom so cure can be pursued.
Lumbar fusion can and does cause peripheral neuropathy. I had a multi-level lumbar fusion in 2012 and started with aching legs and numb but burning feet. I am currently on 225mg Lyrica and up to 20mg Oxycodone every 6 to 8 hours. My surgeon acknowledged nerve damage and a Physiatrist in his office and my current Neuro confirm Peripheral Neuropathy. Mine started about two weeks after surgery. I also ended up in the E Room twice for 8 -10 level pain.
Hello Mr. Denny,
As a fellow peripheral neuropathy sufferer I can empathize with your emergency room grade pain and discomfort. And the anxiety that accompanies inner voice questions such as, "Am I going to have this for the rest of my life?" Now in my third year of dealing with this, I can tell you that your next move should be to make an appointment with a board certified neurologist, preferably one with interest or long experience with neuropathies. If your insurance plan requires you to see a primary care physician first, do that, but insist on seeing a neurologist for a throrough work up, physical exam and clinical history. Given your history of lumbar fusion, there are more than enough reasons to refer you to a specialist. Normally, the neurologist will order a number of blood tests and depending on your clinical findings, may order an EMG and/or an MRI of your back to determine whether there is a new problem at the fusion site or nearby.
You don't mention whether you are diabetic, a heavy drinker, a chemotherapy recipient or someone who takes loads of supplements or vitamins. My neurologist told me that he has seen peripheral neuropathy in individuals who drink lots of energy drinks loaded with vitamin B6. These are all questions a neurologist will ask in order to exclude a correctable cause of your symptoms. While you are waiting for your appointment, you might want to ponder whether you have good days and bad days and if you can detect any pattern or trigger for bad days. Do your shoes fit properly? Is the pain made worse because something is rubbing the skin or you lack arch support? These are the kind of questions to ask yourself to help you gain a better sense of control over this invisible form of suffering. Good luck to you. God bless, Esme
No, lumbar fusion cannot cause peripheral neuropathy. It is damage to the peripheral nerves, those in our hands and feet mostly. It can be caused by some diseases, largely diabetes but other things can cause it too. Trauma to the nerves, or vitamin deficiencies can cause it. So can autoimmune diseases.
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