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Old 14-05-2017, 10:05 PM
Dette Dette is offline
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Join Date: May 2017
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Default Leg weakness post surgery

This is the first time I have posted on this forum but it has been the source of much information over the past few years since my daughters scoliosis diagnosis.
After trying a brace for 12 months my daughters scoliosis rebounded and it was decided she would need surgery. She is 17yrs old now and had an anterior spinal fusion from T11 to L3 3 weeks ago. Postoperatively it was noted she had some numbness and weakness in her left leg (the side the surgical site is). We were initially told it may take some time to resolve but a week post surgery whilst she was still in hospital there was no improvement so the surgeon decided to take her back to surgery to explore and readjust the hardware. There wasn't any obvious reason for the weakness and no improvement after the second surgery.
The problem is in her hip flexor, she can walk but has a noticeable deficit and is unsteady.
She is now 2 weeks post second surgery and seeing a physio so far no improvement but both the surgeon and the physio said it could take 6 months or more to resolve.
I was just wondering if anyone on this forum has experienced this complication, how they managed it, if it resolved and if so how long did it take. My daughter had such high hopes for her life after surgery and now feels like her life is ruined. I'm trying to keep her positive and telling her to be patient.
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Old 15-05-2017, 02:40 PM
Jan Jan is offline
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Posts: 36
Default Re: Leg weakness post surgery

Hi Dette,
My daughter is 19 now and she had a long posterior fusion from L4 to L3 2 and a 1/2 years ago, I can't say that we have had the experience you have mentioned but I understand how much of a worry it must be to you as naturally we all want everything to go on without complications.
I am also a physiotherapist and, not that I can possibly offer any diagnosis or suggestions, but the signs and symptoms that you have mentioned sound like possible neuropraxia in the distribution of the nerve to iliopsoas which comes from L1-3 of the lumbar plexus. My understanding is that neuropraxias usually do gradually improve and in the meantime, the best thing is to just try to walk as normally as possible, rest up as well after the surgeries and it probably is a good idea to see a physio for some rehab. I guess a neurologist might be able to assess the nerve function to be able to really tell if the nerve has been affected and whether it is likely to be transient which would be the best outcome.
I do hope things improve for your daughter. She has done amazingly well and also needs to focus on all of the progress she has made having had 2 surgeries and recovering slowly.
I hope it helps to know that others are thinking of you, and to know also that the first 6 weeks are the worst and things can only improve. My daughter is functioning very well now at age 19 and she is really glad she has had the surgery, but that first 6 weeks was very difficult due to feeling incredibly tired and weak.
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Old 15-05-2017, 08:19 PM
Dette Dette is offline
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Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 2
Default Re: Leg weakness post surgery

Hi Jan
Thank you for your kind words. They are thinking that is the nerve branch affected. My daughter is seeing a physio once a week and has a programme of exercises to do 3 times a day, she gets disheartened when she has to try and raise her left leg and can't.
This is a great lesson in patience we'll see how things go over the next few weeks.
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