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Pain in leg after surgery for numbness in fingers.

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In October of 2014, I had neck surgery to correct some numbness and tingling in three fingers of my left hand. While still in the hospital, I had a terrible pain in my left shoulder which radiated down my arm. The neurosurgeon put me on antibiotics and after about two days I was discharged. However, the terrible pain got better in my arm, but then occurred in my left leg. The doctor then readmitted me for an incision and drainage with continued antibiotics. I was discharged only to be readmitted for continued antibiotics and then discharged with oral antibiotics prescribed.
In December of 2014, I had surgery on my lumbar spine for a herniated disc by the same neurosurgeon. After discharged I felt no relief and continued to have pain in my left leg with weakness. I have fallen three times with my left leg collapsing under me. My left thigh is numb so I must use a walker so as not to fall.
I went to UCSF to see another neurosurgeon and he has ordered a thoracic and lumbar MRI, a lumbar CT, a bone density, and an EMG. The MRI evidently did not show anything pressing on my spine to cause pain. I will see the original neurosurgeon and the neurosurgeon from UCSF in February when the tests are completed.
I know there is no easy answer, but I want to know if I can have surgery to correct the pain and weakness in my left leg so that I will be able to walk easily again. It seems there are surgical procedures to connect nerves. Can the nerves in my thigh be reconnected?

Category: Neurosurgeon

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Category: Spine Surgeon
 24 Doctors Online

Dear Sir,
Thank you for your query at

I learn from the details given by you that you had post operative infection in October 2013 which was later cleared after taking antibiotics and that you do not have any complaints pertaining to the same. But now what you are complaining is a result of you lumbar problem possibly. For me to answer all your questions I need to have few details like - the discharge summary/ details of surgery, MRI scans before and after your surgery.

In brief I can tell that if there is nothing pressing on your nerves as seen on the MRI, then definitely you do not need any surgery. Any residual pain which you are experiencing will have to be handled by medications, physical therapy or injections. EMG reports will throw more light on whether you are having concurrent degenerative changes in your nerve or muscles. There are no procedures to connect the nerves unless there are cut due to injury..

with regards,

Dr Goutham Cugati

Consultant Neurosurgeon

Patient replied :

I am not entirely sure that the infection was cleared up by antibiotics since this is the same left side that I am having leg weakness and pain.
If my leg weakness and pain is caused by the lumbar surgery, then what happened to result in this thigh numbness, severe leg pain, and collapsing left leg causing falls? The UCSF physician said that I should ask the surgeon whether something went wrong during the surgery on my first post op visit.
In light of my symptoms and requiring a walker, is there hope for me to walk without aid of a walker, without my left leg collapsing and without leg pain? I am starting physical therapy next month which was ordered by the surgeon, "gait training".

Dear Sir,

I am really sorry that there is no surgical procedure which can correct the present condition as the MRI does not show any compression.

One thing I am not able to explain is that why should you have weakness if there is no compression. The possibility would be that you might be having a concurrent neurological problem in your nerves which can be known only after examining you thoroughly. So I request you to please consult the neurosurgeon who operated on you.

Patient replied :

Due to damaged nerves after lumbar laminectomy and discectomy, my upper left thigh is numb and painful. I am told that nerves reinnervate at a rate of one inch per month. The neurosurgeon explained that in my case, this would take about 6 months to 1 year. In your experience is this the case and is the reinnervation process gradual or immediate?

Damage to nerves during surgery will easily take a year to improve. But sometimes it may be incomplete recovery. We will have to wait and see for recovery.

Dr. Goutham Cugati
Category: Spine Surgeon
Residency: Neurosurgery, the Post-Graduate Institute of Neurological Surgery, Dr. Achanta Lakshmipathi Neuro surgical Center, VHS Hospital, Chennai, 2011

Postgraduate in Neurosugery: DNB, National Board of Examinations,
Part 1 - 2008, Part 2 -  2010

Medical School: Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, JSS Medical College, 2004
Dr. Goutham Cugati and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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