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chronic pain after surgery

Nerve Surgery Success After Six Failed Back Surgeries

By | back pain, chronic pain after surgery, Dr. Tollestrup Blog, nerve decompression surgery, Nerve Surgery, piriformis syndrome, success stories | No Comments

Failed Back Surgery Leads to Nerve Surgery Success

Thomas came to see Dr. Tollestrup after he endured failed back surgery six times. His chief complaint is pain and paresthesia involving the left lower extremity.

Pain and Numbness

Thomas’s pain starts in the left knee and radiates down into the lateral leg and over the dorsum of the foot. He also has pain in the calf muscle and the plantar surface of the foot. He states that he gets a lot of cramping in the toes and the arch of the foot.

Sitting makes the pain worse. When he sits, he also has pain in the left buttock and thigh.

He has a strange sensation that is kind of like a tingling from the knee down into the foot. He describes his pain as a “hard ache” most of the time with occasional intermittent painful electric shocks.

Thomas takes a sleeping aid otherwise he doesn’t sleep very well due to the pain. His wife says that he tries to sleep most of the day just to try to get away from the pain.

He has had a thorough workup with imaging of the spine from both his spine surgeon and his pain management physician. Neither of them can find any ongoing pathology at the spine level.

Sciatic Nerve Compression

On physical examination, Thomas shows evidence of compression of the large sciatic nerve at the level of the piriformis muscle in the deep buttock. This is called piriformis syndrome.

He also has compression of the common peroneal nerve just below the outside of the knee.

To confirm this, Thomas had a diagnostic injection of the left piriformis muscle which totally relieved his usual sciatica pain for about 48 hours.

With the diagnosis confirmed, Dr. Tollestrup took Thomas to the operating room and performed a surgery he developed where the piriformis muscle is removed and the pressure on the sciatic nerve completely relieved.

Surgical Success Times Two

After this surgery, Thomas has complete relief of the sciatic pain from the buttock to the knee level but persisted in having radiating pain down the outside of the lower leg and over the top of the left foot.

He went back to the operating room a second time for surgical decompression of the common peroneal nerve, a nerve that can become pinched just below the outside of the knee. After this procedure, Thomas is now completely pain-free of the original pain in his left leg.

Thomas is not being evaluated by Dr. Tollestrup for his chronic low back pain. Back surgery was supposed to relieve this pain but only made it worse.

Stay tuned for an update on Thomas’s low back pain.

“He has provided me with a quality of life that I thought I lost forever. I now have absolutely no pain in my legs. I am able to walk without pain again.”

Dr. Tollestrup removes Jackson's piriformis muscle and decompresses superior cluneal nerves

Dr. Tollestrup Helps Patient After Failed Back Surgery

By | chronic pain after surgery, Dr. Tollestrup Blog, Patient Stories, persistent pain after spine surgery, success stories, Uncategorized | No Comments

Lingering Pain After Back Surgery – What Does It Mean?

Robert Jackson’s story illustrates the problem of failed back surgery and why patients still have pain even after the surgical procedure. In Robert’s case, spine surgery did not help him at all. After the surgery he still had low back and sciatica pain. He agreed to let us share his story in hopes of reaching other patients like him.


As a result of a wakeboard accident, Robert Jackson had some nondisplaced vertebral body fractures at L2 and L3. After this injury, he had upper back pain at the site of the fractures as well as low back pain on both sides. Before the wakeboard accident, he was already dealing with right sciatica pain.  After he accident, this pain was much worse.

To understand Robert’s case, it is important to note that he had back pain in three places:

  1. Pain at the site of the injury in his upper back.
  2. Low back pain as a result pf the wakeboard accident.
  3. Right sciatica pain which predates the accident.

After about three months, the upper back pain went away because the fractures had completely healed. However, the severe lower back pain and right sciatica pain persisted. Eventually he underwent spine surgery with the assurance from the spine surgeon that it would relieve his low back and sciatica pain. Unfortunately for Robert, spine surgery did not relieve his low back or right sciatica pain.

Enter Dr. Tim Tollestrup whom he met in an unusual way. Dr. Tollestrup operated on Robert’s wife after she suffered a traumatic peripheral nerve injury.

Robert mentioned to Dr. Tollestrup that he had residual back pain after spine surgery. The pain was so bad that Robert was heavily dependent on pain medication to get through the day.

Upon physical examination Dr. Tollestrup diagnosed Robert with piriformis syndrome and superior cluneal nerve compression. Dr. Tollestrup surgically removed his piriformis muscle and decompressed his sciatica nerve. One week post op Jackson shared that his sciatica was pain gone.

Dr. Tollestrup performed a second surgery removing his superior cluneal nerves. Removing the superior cluneal nerves relieved the persistent low back pain.

Thanks to the surgeries by Dr. Tollestrup, Robert is now sleeping 6-7 hours straight at night (formerly he was unable to sleep more than 1-2 hours at a time) and wakes up feeling refreshed. He described his results so far as “life changing.”

Robert did not need spine surgery. After spine surgery he still had pain. But nerve surgery finally gave him relief.

Robert did not need spine surgery. After spine surgery he still had pain. But nerve surgery finally gave him relief.*

However an important distinction must be made about failed back surgery syndrome. Dr. Tollestrup cannot help all patients who have pain after spine surgery. If you have a traditional spine problem, you still need spine surgery.

However, in some instances, like Robert’s case, Dr. Tollestrup’s surgeries can provide relief for patients with pain after spine surgery. If you are unsure of which category you fall in, Dr. Tollestrup can examine you and offer his opinion.  His office can be reached at 702-666-0463.

*Disclaimer

We do not guarantee any specific results or outcomes for surgery, should our practice work on your behalf. Information on this website may be used as a reference for successes we’ve achieved for our patients, and not as an assurance or guarantee for similar results in all instances.

Dr. Tollestrup performed nerve surgery on Deb to help relieve her of chronic foot pain.

Nerve Decompression Surgery Heals Foot Pain

By | chronic pain after surgery, Dr. Tollestrup Blog, success stories | No Comments

Foot Pain Healed

Deborah came to see Dr. Tim Tollestrup because of her severe foot pain. The symptoms started about a year before she came to see him. Several months prior to the onset of her symptoms, she suffered a serious slip-and-fall injury where she slipped on an orange peel on the floor with her right leg shooting out laterally and then falling hard on both knees. The pain in her knees resolved in a normal manner and she thought she was all better until the problem with the right foot started. Deborah’s symptoms involved the whole front half of the foot including the toes, top and bottom.

As time went on, the pain and numbness in the right foot became more and more severe. Deborah saw two different orthopedic foot and ankle surgeons and two different podiatrists, none of whom could identify the source of the pain in the right foot. Finally, the last podiatrist she saw told her that he thought she might have a nerve problem and recommended that she “go see Dr. Tollestrup.”

After examining Deborah, it became apparent that she was suffering from a complex series of nerve compressions in the right lower leg and foot. She underwent two separate surgical procedures to relieve the pressure on her pinched nerves. She is now completely pain free in the right foot and has had resolution of the numbness in her foot as well.

To say Deborah is happy is an understatement! This is what she had to say one week after surgery with Dr. Tollestrup.

“It is absolutely amazing to feel my foot again and walk normally. You never realize how bad it is until you are healed.”*


If you suffer from chronic foot pain, please call Dr. Tim Tollestrup. He can help. Our office number is 702-666-0463.

*Disclaimer

We do not guarantee any specific results or outcomes for surgery, should our practice work on your behalf. Information on this website may be used as a reference for successes we’ve achieved for our patients, and not as an assurance or guarantee for similar results in all instances.

Two surgeries to remove a piriformis muscle and decompress nerves helped heal Cindy

Dr. Tollestrup Helps Soccer Player With Chronic Pain Post Surgery

By | chronic pain after surgery, Dr. Tollestrup Blog, Patient Stories | No Comments

Tollestrup Offers Options For Chronic Pain Post Surgery

Dr. Tim Tollestrup often treats patients suffering from persistent chronic pain post surgery. After the initial injury heals, the pain remains for months or even years. Samantha is a patient who fits this description. She agreed to let us share her story in hopes of reaching others.

Here is an edited version of Dr. Tollestrup’s chart notes on Samantha.

“Samantha is a 21-year-old woman who presented for evaluation of chronic right lateral knee pain. As a teenager, she was an avid soccer player and injured the right lateral meniscus at age 15. She underwent arthroscopic repair at that time and physical therapy, making a fairly good recovery.

Samantha looked to Dr. Tollestrup to help with chronic pain post surgery that persisted for years after surgery on her knee,

Samantha looked to Dr. Tim Tollestrup to help with chronic pain post surgery that persisted for years after surgery on her knee.*

She unfortunately re-injured the right lateral meniscus and underwent a second right knee arthroscopy at the age of 16. After the second knee surgery, Samantha started to experience constant pain. As time went on, she started to develop a second kind of pain which was more posterior to the knee with radiation of the pain down the side of her lower leg. At times the pain would radiate all the way down over the top of her right foot and this would also make the top of her foot feel numb. Any time Samantha would squat down, the pain would also radiate into her thigh.

At the age of 18, she saw another orthopedic surgeon who told her that the source of the pain in the right knee was a problem with the way her kneecap was tracking over the knee. She underwent a third arthroscopic knee surgery to try and get rid of the pain which did not help.

When I examined her, i could see that she had an injury to the lateral nerve which innervates the lateral knee joint. This was confirmed with a diagnostic block where I put the nerve to sleep using a long-acting local anesthetic. This was the source of the sharp stabbing pain right in the side of the knee joint. She had also developed a compression of the right common peroneal nerve at the level of the fibular neck, on the outside of the knee, just below the knee joint. This was the source of the pain which would radiated down the leg and onto the top of the foot, making it painful and numb.

I operated on her on 12/16/16. I saw her in clinic for her 4.5-week post-op visit. Both the original stabbing pain in the right side of her knee joint and the pain and numbness in the lower leg and foot are completely gone. She is back to work and able to walk and stand without experiencing the pain she used to experience on an almost constant basis.”

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