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Spine and Back Health

Leg swelling after low back fusion

10/01/2008

Question:

Dear Doctor, I`m a 41 year old female who has been extremely active in life and two months ago I had a double fusion of the lower back (L4-5 & S1). For the past two weeks, my left leg has become swollen and I also have pain and swelling below the knee and into my left foot. Two days ago, I was given an emergency ultra-sound to check for blood clots, which thank God there were none. Now my doctor has me taking a steriod pack for the next couple of days. If there`s no change, I`ll need to set an appt. to see him again. In your medical opinion, would a CT Scan be a good idea to have at this point? (with or without contrast). I`m extremely lucky to have fantastic insurance and I don`t care how much time it takes. I need some direction and maybe some questions to ask my doctor. Thank you so much for your time!

Answer:

Hello, thank you for your question. I don't have any particular suggestions for you at this point. Ruling out a blood clot is probably the most important thing to get out of the way. Now that that is done, most of the other things you might have to worry about are less concerning. You should check with your regular doctor, not just your surgeon. Hopefully they can sort this out. I don't have any specifics for questions to ask, just try to determine whether this is directly related to the surgery or not, though that might be difficult to answer. Good luck.

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Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University