Tuesday, February 17, 2009 tlbrouwer, Community Member, asks

Q: Is there a sciatic nerve surgey to remove scar tissue?

Scar tissue formed and is impeding my sciatic nerve as a result of a microdesectomy. My pain is constant and ranges form a 7 on a good day and taking all of my pain medications to a 10 on a bad day.

I have been in pain since May of 2007 when caught myself from falling in kind of a backbend movement. I have had adverse reactions to all of the nuarcotics that have been precsibed and have had a Nuerostransmitter implanted but for some unknown reason doesn't work on my leg where the pain is but climbs up into my chest if I turn it up to higher than 1.5.  I am desperatly seeking some kind of relief ( I've even thought...if they just cut off my leg, at least I could sit and not be in constant pain).



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Answers (11)
Karen Lee Richards, Health Guide
2/20/09 3:10am

I'm not an expert on this particular subject, but I did do some checking into it.  Apparently, in some cases at least, surgery can be done to remove scar tissue, but often it is not recommended because with every surgery is the probability of more scar tissue.  I'm sure it varies by patient, so you would need to talk with your doctor about it. 


I also found a couple of other treatments suggested.  One is called MUA – manipulation under anesthesia.  It's a method of breaking up scar tissue while the patient is sedated.  The other is deep tissue massage. 


Here is an interesting discussion on this subject between patients and a couple of doctors:  http://www.spine-health.com/forum/lower-back-pain/scar-tissue

Sarah, Community Member
10/29/09 5:43pm

My husband is in the same situation!  Did you find anything yet? I feel so bad for you, and hope by now you have had some relief.  He just had his trial for hte spinal stimulator and so far its not really working.  The dr said he will have to live like this the rest of his life.  I know there is something out there to help. 

Slayton, Community Member
12/14/09 4:30am

You guys are scarring me, i had my surgery in July 09 and the first three weeks were wonderfull then the pain came rushing back, latest mri shows the disk is fine, some athritis that wasn't there in the october 09 mri. I am totally lost, on a good day the pain goes from my lower back into my right leg and down to my knee, on a bad day i think of chopping off my big toe! I have try Kadian, doesn't work, gabapentin, well in a depressed person it can cause suicidal thoughts and actions, never do that again, NSAIDs, next is a nerve block. I Feel like I am chasing a unicorn, after something that doean't exist. there has got to be something out there, scar tissue or permanent damage???? Will wait and see i guess.

jo07, Community Member
3/12/11 10:27am

Hey what happened next, I lasted 5 weeks after my op, and then got the sciatic pain in my right leg, I was originally operated on L4/5 disc herination on the left side.  It's taken me 7 mths to see a new surgeon who says my disc op worked and he can't see why i have pain in the other leg, the mri hasn't shown anything.  he suggests i have a nerve block which i am skeptical about as had that before going down the surgery route last yr and it didn't touch me just gave more pain in the area they injected it in.  Most days as soon as I get out of bed and put my foot on the floor i have pins and needs and my toes hurt which then progresses to pain across the front of my shin and ankle and then the buttock all within anything between 1 and 5 mins it's crap.  He is also referring me to a neuro surgeon who has a 12mth waiting list so have opted to pay private can't wait that long the pain is affecting my life.  He did say it may be scar tissue but was very non commital.

my big question now is how do you get rid of scar tissue?

Lin, Community Member
8/ 6/10 10:12pm

I am in the same situation. There is nothing unless he's willing to have a morphine pump which I refuse along with the spinal stimulator. I do use a T.E.N.S. unit. But I am under treatment at Mayo clinic and they have me in the Pain clinic as there is no magic surgery etc to help. What helps is keeping your weight down and I do chore strengthening exercises every day along with some physical therapy things I learned thats the only help I get. I also take nortriptuline with tramodol at night and that knocks me out for about 4 hours. I was a personal trainer so I have plenty of exercises that tend to help but the core area helps the lower lumbar area. Good luck and be careful of Doctors that claim they can remove scar tissue it cannot be done nor will it help the more procedures done, the more scar tissue that forms.

David Turner, Community Member
5/30/10 7:36pm

I have had two back ops and still in a lot pain.

I too have no feeling in right leg and foot since op number one.

I have had mine now for four years can only walk about 1/2 metre I use wheelchair a lot now to get about which help to get out off the house.

So if you fine a answer I would like to know has the doc's can not tell me.  

ricky, Community Member
6/28/10 10:08pm

i had surgery in jan 09 and after about a month i had two good weeks of feeling great ,then woke one morning to findi could hardly get out of bed from the pain i was like omg here we go again thinking physio might of did something to hurt me. come to find out i wernt had another mri done and back to the surgent to find out all the work he did had scared and was lot of it so instead of doing another surgery sent to see a dr Edvin Koshi who is a pain specialest . he took me in for a consultion then tweo weeks later took me in and gave pain medication injections and some other medicatio tio help break up the scrae tissue well 8 hours late i found myself in more pain , but i have to have two more of these injections to finish breaking up the scaring not sure if its gonna work or not but i'm like think take the damn leg but then there still be back pain so at a lost too but if this the next two shots happen to work i will let u know. i feel your pain

ricky, Community Member
6/28/10 10:20pm

http://academy.medicine.dal.ca/koshi.htm to find this doctor and more about what he does till i find out if his shots are gonna work

huskypaw, Community Member
8/19/10 3:45pm

I had the exact same thing - L5, S1 lumbar microdiskectomy fixed herniated disc but caused scar tissue on my sciatic nerve.  I tried all pain medications and most made me ill.  I tried pain block injections and they never did anything.  I tried Neurontin and I have memory loss while taking the medication.  I tried accupuncture and it helped a bit but the most relief was from a physical therapist that found a pilates routine with a huge component of stretching added in.  I have to do the pilates exercises daily to be almost pain free ~ pilates essentially makes your core very strong that it compensates for your back.  Stretch your hamstring against a wall by laying on the floor and leg up the wall along with stretching your hip by placing one leg on a 90 degree angle against a wall and put your other leg's foot by the knee that is on a 90 degree angle (almost makes a triangle etc.).  Give up on drugs, chiropractor, accupuncture and invest all your time with a physical therapist that knows and is licensed in pilates and when you are healed enough...join a pilates gym.  I tell everyone that has this issue my success story.

sondraoswald, Community Member
11/23/10 9:28pm

My husband is going through the same thing. He has had 3 MRI's and 1 CAT Scan. All of these test say the same thing, NOTHING. He had back surgery last year in March for a ruptured disk, he was okay for a couple of months after the surgery then gradually the pain started to come back only worse. His feet are so cold here can't feel them, he has less feeling in left than his right. His legs burn, tingle, stabbing, and vibrate all the time. They ache like I have the flu, they burn like running hot water on cold hands. The pain started in his left butt check liek the size of a golf ball, and know it's both legs. He is now feeling like he can't urinate right, like it all doesn't come out at once. Again another MRI and ER visit later we still have no answers. He has broke down and cryed to every doctor in the last two weeks. He is depressed, not working and on pain medication. He hates being on pain medication, they offered him a medication pump and he won't do it. The only other thing that helps take the pain away is HOT HOT baths. He has bathed to the point he is chapped. We went to a Dr. today and this may be our answer... He says that the tissue around the sciatica nerve may be deterating and this would not show on a MRI. He is doing more test than any other dr and seems to be generaly intrested in figuring this out. He has made the most since to use, if this works out we will be sharing to you all the information because everyone diserves to know what is wrong. Please hang on maybe for those of you in the same situation we might beable to help. 

KateF, Community Member
3/ 8/11 9:21am


I have the exact same problem. I had a discectomy in July 2010 and am in worse pain now due to scar tissue impacting nerve. I am desperate. May I ask if you have found any relief.


Thank you.


tracy m, Community Member
5/23/11 1:40pm

My husband is in the same shape. He's had multiple surgeries and has had the stimulator and now has a pain pump that has been wonderful for him. We've been doing some research. It's a new procedure that is done at the Laser Spine Institute. They can remove scar tissue with minimal invasion. We are checking into it and if we have any luck I will let you all know.

Glass half full, Community Member
9/19/12 1:41pm
Hello I am have had spinal l5S1 surgey and finally an implant which did give some relief but now I am in extreme pain in lower back, leg and tightenng pain in chin. Cocodamol only lasts 2 hours and pregabalin makes me so lightheaded. I cannot function properly now because of the pain. Told I have further degeneration, calcification and the main problem they think is scar tissue which they said they cannot do anything about. I am desperate as I thinkmI will now have to give up my career and job. I am only 48 and have a mortgage to pay! Can you let me know if you had any joy with the laser or other treatment to help? Thanks Margaret Reply
Glass half full, Community Member
9/19/12 1:45pm
Hello I have had spinal l5S1 surgey and finally an implant which did give some relief but now I am in extreme pain in lower back, leg and tightening pain in chin. Cocodamol only lasts 2 hours and pregabalin makes me so lightheaded. I cannot function properly now or walk properly because of the pain. Told I have further degeneration, calcification and the main problem they think is scar tissue which they said they cannot do anything about. I am desperate as I think I will now have to give up my career and job. I am only 48 and have a mortgage to pay! Can you let me know if you had any joy with the laser or other treatment to help? Thanks Margaret Reply
Needingacure, Community Member
1/20/12 9:41pm

I had the "cage" surgery in 1998.  The surgery itself was successful, but I too suffer with permanent sciatica because of scar tissue.  My pain specialist said the doctors used to be able to remove scar tissue with a drug called WYDASE.  Wydase is an enzyme (generally used in eye surgeries), but guess what?  It's RESTRICTED!  Now the pain specialists cannot get it because it is so restricted.  If he could get it, he would use a catheter to go into my sciatic nerve and use the wydase to slowly dissolve the scar tissue.  Tell me this isn't CRAZY!  There are millions of people suffering with this condition who could be helped.  I can take ONLY one pain killer because I am allergic to all the others.  The one pain killer has a residual effect (builds up in the body) so I have to be very careful. I have been on this pain medicine for 13 years, now.  The spinal cord stimulator did NOT help.  I have had epidurals, nerve blocks, etc.  I almost refuse any more injections because of the steriods and "cocktail" of drugs in them (terrible side effects including difficulty breathing)..not to mention the weight gain associated with steriods!!!  Is there anyone out there who could get restrictions removed from this medication?  Possibly millions could be helped.  Respond please!


Tat2Rtist, Community Member
2/19/12 8:59am

I did a search on google and found out that they stopped manufacturing wydase in 2005.

victoria86_uk, Community Member
3/ 4/13 9:50am
Hello, I think I am having the same problem you described and believe the cause is pirifous syndrome but due to lack of research it's difficult to diagnose. My doctor doesn't even believe it is an actual disorder. I have had sciatic pain in my buttock and right leg for 1 1/2 years and had physiotherapy and used painkillers with little pain relief. I now have reduced range of motion in my right leg and no Achilles' tendon reflex. I also sometimes wish someone would just remove t leg on bad days. I am trying to find out where in the uk I can get surgery to release the piriformis muscle tendon. Good luck with your search. I just thought I would give you another avenue to explore. Reply
B Greer, Community Member
8/15/13 6:36pm

I have serious pain from scar tissue touching a nerve exiting my spine from low back surgery. Can minimally invasive surgery be done to remove this scar tissue so that it does not grow back? I have heard that there is a method by which the scar tissue is burned off?

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By tlbrouwer, Community Member— Last Modified: 04/15/14, First Published: 02/17/09