After having lower back surgery, scar tissue called epidural fibrosis can form around and near the nerve roots of the spine. The scar tissue causes back pain as well as leg pain because it pinches the spinal nerves. There are minimally invasive surgical procedures and methods to prevent scar tissue to relieve you from back and leg pain that is the result of scar tissue.
If you are experiencing back pain and numbness in your legs after lower back surgery, you may have epidural fibrosis. Consult with your doctor and allow him or her to determine if you in fact have epidural fibrosis. After being diagnosed with epidural fibrosis, the doctor will use a laminotomy procedure if the scar tissue is causing pressure on the spinal cord nerves. This is a minimally invasive procedure that opens up the spinal canal and separates the scar tissue from the spinal nerves. Using a small incision, the surgeon inserts a tube that separates the scar tissue and muscle from the spinal nerve, allowing the surgeon to remove the scar tissue. The advantage of the laminotomy is that it provides instantaneous relief from the scar tissue.
Depending on the location of your scar tissue, your doctor may use a percutaneous discectomy to remove and prevent scar tissue from placing pressure on your spinal cord nerves. The doctor will select this procedure if the scar tissue is actually tightly bound to the nerves. It has the advantage of using lasers to vaporise the scar tissue. The surgeon performs this procedure "through the skin," with the use of x-ray monitoring of the doctor's surgery. Many surgeons prefer this procedure because it is more precise; the laser is less invasive and can pinpoint directly on the scar tissue, causing less damage to the surrounding areas of the lower back. The procedure only requires local anaesthesia and lasts no longer than a half hour or forty-five minutes.
Prevent Scar Tissue
There has been recent research conducted to examine the effects of radiation on tissue shortly after back surgery to prevent scar tissue growth. In October 2003, Peter C. Gerszten published a study in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, which indicated that in a limited clinical trial of five patients, those treated with low-doses of radiation had lower incidences of epidural fibrosis than those that did not receive the treatment.