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lp shunt for cf leak after back surgery

I had a lower lumbar fusion and the surgeon nicked the spinal chord while removing old scar tissue. He tried caffeine after surgery. He tried a drain and as the incision healed, a bubble formed at the top of the incision site and busted. Spinal fluid poured out. He then put a lp shunt in.
Is a shunt, normally used at this point? I am having problems finding anything on line about lp shunts.
I am having problems since the shunt surgery and I can not find anywhere to get answers.
I can not find anyone that received a lp shunt because of back surgery.
6 Responses
7721494 tn?1431627964
Yes, shunts (or drains) are often used after all kinds of surgery but leaking CSF is an anomaly -- an unexpected result.

BTW, how do you know the surgeon "knicked the spinal cord"? Is that what you were told?

Perhaos you need copies of the medical records, including procedure notes for your surgeries?
Your doctor should have informed you of the risks of spine surgery as part of your consent to treatment. Take a look at this document, or ask in his office for a copy for your records is you cannot find your copy.

In the mean time, take it easy, follow doctor's orders, and heal.
547368 tn?1440541785
Hi MissB,

Welcome. I am so sorry to read about the serious issues resulting from your lumbar fusion. It's frightening and you have every reason to be concerned.

Phil has offered some great suggestions. I can't elaborate on any of them. I do have a question - I may not be reading your questions correctly.

I would think that the shunt is draining a pocket of infection/inflammation that formed outside of the spinal canal - as it would be too dangerous to have an open shunt into the spinal canal drng fluid to the outside of the body. Is that correct? Are you currently hospitalized?

I absolutely agree that you need to obtain your all of your medical records - and you need to become proficient in understanding medical terms, etc.  If
you need help there are ppl that will assist you. Indeed if your surgeon caused these complications I would consider a second opinion, at the least. You may have a lot of trouble getting the second opinion. When surgical errors happen (as they do) another surgeon hesitates to become involved - for various reasons including legal ones.

Take real good care of you - as Phil said, follow doctor's orders, to the T. You may heal without further incident - that is my prayer. Please let us know how you are doing. I'll watch for your updates with interest.

Take Care,
~Tuck
Avatar universal
Yes, the doctor told me he nicked it.
He tried caffeine. He tried a drain and after 3 weeks in the hospital I was scheduled for surgery again to have a shunt put in. I spent a month in the hospital.
I was not given any options to the shunt surgery and I felt lead to believe it was temporary.
The shunt is irritating and it is directly on my waist and easily seen.
I now have an inflamed colon and stomach, since the shunt was put in.
I also have have nausea and vomiting. When my stitches were removed, the surgeon released me for work and said that my pain had nothing to do with my back surgery.
He urged me to go to my OBGYN. I have done that and I also have an appointment with my GI doctor.
My GP has me on Bentyl for the inflamed colon and stomach, but it really is not doing the trick. I have pain on both sides of my stomach. I throw up, have constipation and I am nausiated.
Avatar universal
Thank you for responding. No, I am no longer in the hospital. The shunt starts at the middle of my back, to my mid section (on by waist line) and to my stomach where it drains into it. All of this is internal and I have a lump on my right side at the waist line. Ever since it was placed, I have had pain on both sides of my stomach and pain from my belly button to my pubic area.
I have had my OBGYN appointment and it looked good.I have a GI appointment next Tuesday. My GP has me on Bentyl, but he said the GI needs to do a colonoscopy and a endoscopy to find out what is going on inside. I am going to try and get my records this week. I have not been driving because of being on pain medications.

547368 tn?1440541785
What a predicament! I disagree that the shunt is innocent in producing discomfort. It may not be the shut itself but the the procedure and the fact that there is something foreign in your body - that has to account for some discomfort - at least till the tissues involved have some time to heal.

It a good idea to consult a gastroenterologist - cover all bases. A clean bill of health from your OBGYN is encouraging.

I still would consider a second opinion. It couldn't hurt - especially if everything else turns up negative.

Peace,
~Tuck
7721494 tn?1431627964
MissB66, I wonder did he knick the cord, or simply penetrate the epidural or intrathecal space.

Near the end of the thoracic vertebrae, the cord narrows into the conus medullaris, that divides into many separate nerves and nerve roots. This area is called the cauda equina, because it looks like a horse's tail.

The cord and cauda equina are surrounded by a thecal sac which has three layers -- a tough outer pia layer, an inner arachnoid space (that contains a fine, fibrous tissue similar to a spiders web), and the dura, which provides nourishment to the cord.

A big risk in epidural procedures comes from puncturing the dura layer, which then leaks CSF from the intrathecal space.

It is more likely that during surgery you doc may cut a chunk out of the thecal sac by a surgical tool called a Kerrison rongeur that takes bites from bones and ligaments.

Fortunately, your brain creates 3xs more spinal fluid than you need in 24 hours.
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