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Back Problems Message Board

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I could feel that my cyst grew back after about 7 weeks. However, I believe I have been getting them from playing tennis (singles) which involves a lot of trunk rotation at that level. Both times, the cysts mysteriously appeared after I started playing a lot. When I googled "synovial cysts and tennis" I found a medical study done in teenage tennis professionals which found that more than half of them had synovial cysts due to stretching and tearing of the joint capsule fibers while twisting, bending, etc. So my plan now is not to return to the sport, unfortunately.

They said I had a grade 1 slippage of L3/L4, but when they tested my stability during surgery they said I had no instability whatsoever which would bring the cyst back. So they doubt it will come back again. However, I am holding my breath.

The other problem I have read about is that the facet joint could have some kind of defect in the one-way valve which controls synovial fluid. Fusion removes and replaces the whole joint with new bone, so this is not an issue.

My doctor and I agreed that he would take off enough joint so that if the cyst grows back, it has more room and hopefully will not press on the sciatic nerve root again. However, these things can get big so there are no guarantees. He said he removed 20% of the joint and shaved down some bone spurs; facet joints are arthritic and enlarged at my age anyway (59). I had some compression on that nerve root from bone spurs also. My back is now pain free for the first time since early 2007. I could not sit or lie on my side without something poking me in the lower back before.

I no longer work, so was not given a timeframe to return; however, if you have a desk job or an up and down scenario, I would think 3 weeks is plenty of time off after a cyst removal. Avoid doing a lot of bending or twisting while your joint capsule and internal tissues are healing, which will take up to 4 months. I read the muscle heals after 3 weeks, so try to go easy with doing anything that puts pressure on your suture line until then.
Hi Syjmoore, I should have said I have a grade 1 spondylolisthesis, but no slippage on flexion/extension. They will probably test your bones in surgery and let you know how stable you are after, like they did with me.

You'll know if your cyst comes back unless it comes back smaller and does not press on the nerve. The synovium that they remove will take about 60 days to regenerate, so that is when your cyst may re-form. It was around that time that I started to experience pain when exercising again and when bending forward. My cyst, when it was there, gave me pain in the lower back, side of the leg and the ankle. It was not really bad if I didn't do much, but even a modest amount of walking would set it off, as it was calcified onto my L5 nerve root. It was really limiting.

At first I hoped that the pain was a temporary post op flareup, but when it did not go away, I faced reality that my cyst had come back. And it had come back bigger than the original, giving me more back and ankle pain.

I hope this thing does not come back again, or if it does, I hope it is smaller. Have they told you the size of yours? Sometimes the MRI report states it.
Well I'm alive. The surgery went pretty smooth. Surgery at 8:00 and released at 12:30. I'm able to walk and wiggle toes so I can't complain. My back is painful today more than the 1st two days. Probably because all those heavy duty drugs are leaving my system. They put a tiny little medicine patch behind my ear to prevent any nauseousness. I am on one of the oxy drugs for pain. Usually I get very sick with any of the narcotics but the patch has helped. Only thing that is weird for me is I'm itching all over my body. I'm allergic to something but not sure what. So I've started taking Benadryl. Yesterday I started walking out side. We are starting out with 3- 10 minute walks. Very dizzy from the pain meds so my husband goes with me. I hold his arm or hand to steady me. I still have some pain in my butt and tingling in my lower leg. He said that is normal. The pain is much lower so I should be ok when the nerves decide to calm down. The drugs are making me so sleepy. So I think I'll go an rest some more. Good luck with your upcoming surgery too.

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