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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Neurologist (MD)
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 11946
Experience:  Neurosurgeon - Brain, spine, and peripheral nerve surgery
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My father had a back surgery to remove hardware that was put

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My father had a back surgery to remove hardware that was put in his back 1 yr ago. After surgery he awoke just fine no problems, surgery went well. They found the hardware was rubbing in the spine that caused a fluid pocket so they kept him over night. That night at about 1:30 he became very confussed. They did a CT of the brain and found a small amout of blood and some air in the brain, they said it was NOT a stroke. It has been a month now and he still is showing stroke like symptoms, they said the air is gone. They are now callig it a CVA. How long does the recovery take and do they? He is not eating well at all and can not stand by his self now. Is this normal?


If they saw a "fluid pocket" in the spine surgery, I assume that there was some sort of spinal fluid leak during the surgery.

This could explain the blood and the air in the brain on the head CT scan -- because the blood from the surgical site in the lower back can enter into wherever the spinal fluid leak was occurring and travel to the brain. So I would agree that this is not a stroke.

However, it is possible that the air and the blood was irritating to the brain, and can cause headaches and confusion in people. However - if this was one month ago, and he is still not doing well, this is beyond the timeframe in which I would expect him to have improved just based on that fluid pocket / leak in surgery.

Certainly, if he had a stroke during surgery, this could cause some of the symptoms, but that air in the brain is not the stroke. A MRI of the brain at this point can see if there was a stroke, and may help to explain his persistent neurologic symptoms. He also would benefit from seeing a neurologist.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

They have done CTs and MRI and it showed no strokes, but they are saying now it was a CVA. thats is a form of a stroke correct? What would be the next step? He seems very depressed also

If they did a MRI that showed no stroke, then I'm not sure what they are referring to as a "CVA", since that is essentially a stroke -- which would have shown up on the MRI.

I would have him seen by a neurologist, to sort through what you have been told, and to see if there are actual issues causing these "stroke-like" symptoms.