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reherniation due to constipation after microdiscectomy?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,900
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am 3 days post L4-5 microdiscectomy. Today in straining to have a bowel movement, I am worried I herniated again since I have numbness in a new area in my leg. Does anyone know if this is possible? I had good relief of my symptoms right away and now I feel this new area of numbness/tingling when I walk.


  • ellen- I would call the surgeon's office as soon as possible. Or see if they can work you in Monday or as soon as they can. :-C
    Discuss the numbness and your concerns about re-herniation. :SS
    I did re-herniate a disc (L4-L5) after my surgery about 2 or 3 months out. My surgeon just told me the disc was unstable and that was a possibility. I do not remember any specific incidence. :/

    The straining post-op may be helped by suppositories. I used dulcolax and it worked great as a nurse told me about them and I used them in the hospital. I could not take any pills as I was nauseous and the abdominal cramping hurt too much.
    I also drank hot black tea with honey/lemon and that seemed to help as well. I also drank more fluids and only ate food that was easily digestable like puddings, soups, broths, powerade, jellos, hot fudge sundaes, tea with lemon/honey.. :) jade
  • :) i see this a only your second post and i want to welcome you to the forum! we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. Call your doctor and tell him what you are worried about. he can best tell you what to do next. he may tell you to rest for a few days and let things settle down back there. good luck and don't expect the worse before you hear the good news! Jenny :)
  • I'm sorry to hear that you are having a problem but let's hope that there's nothing wrong. In the meantime, I would suggest stool softeners the same as Jade did. This soon after surgery you shouldn't be straining. Good luck!
  • The default answer is, of course, call your surgeon and check in with them, especially since it's so soon after your procedure.

    That said, I wouldn't necessarily be concerned. With both of my microdiscs (ay yi yi, "both"), I experienced nerve symptoms of various manifestations in the weeks and months after the procedure whenever I did "too much." Now, what "too much" was varied in my stage of healing. Initially, it would be simply being on my feet for more than a half hour. Now, it's from starting a new school year and I'm on my feet 8 hours a day. It's possible, maybe even probable, that you've simply irriated tissues healing around the injured nerve root via muscle strain.

    8mos+ post op, and I still have healing tissues that tell me loud and clear when they've been overworked. The muscle spasms in my left calf are ANNOYING!

    Go get yourself some generic OTC stool softeners and take them daily for at least the first two weeks of your healing. I did that after both of my microdiscs...plus after the birth of my son (felt like a good push would turn me inside out, yuck!). Pain meds can have constipating effects, too, so that is a totally unfair side effect all things considering.

    Hope you feel better soon!
  • They should have told you never to strain after any surgery. With any incision there is a possibility of reopeing the incision site. Strong pain meds slow down the digestive process and caused constipation. I am sure there is a possiblility of reherniating your disc if you were pushing to hard. Hopefully it isn't to bad. Let us know what happens. I really hope everything turns out for you. I am sure you have been through a lot.
    Best wishes,
  • I was told after my L4-L5 microD that I might feel some different pains or numbeness or tingling in my leg... The nerve is moved around a bit during the surgery, so it can go somewhat haywire after that. I don't think 3 days would lead to a reherniation... Generally it takes a little bit of time for the disc material to spill out again.... You could just be having some issues with the healing, as scar tissue begins to form, and that can actually compress the nerve, as well. Definitely call your doctor, better to be safe than sorry... But I don't think you should stress too much and get yourself too worked up... Put a call into your surgeon, and then just take some time to relax. I wish you the best!
  • Now I have to decide if I should have a second microdiscectomy. Anyone have thoughts on that? I don't feel like I have any other option at this point. My pain/discomfort is more pervasive and I can't really function.
  • If I were you I would give the 2nd microD a go but then again I am not sure what other options are out there. What does your Doc recommend or haven't you seen them yet to discuss possible outcomes?

    best of luck with whatever you go for,

  • Are you deciding between MicroD or NO surgery? Or MicroD or a bigger surgery? If you'd like to try to go on without surgery that would make sense.... If there is enough of your disc left to do another MicroD without making the spine too unstable, I'd say go for it, if your nerve is being impinged again.
  • so far so good - leg pain initially gone. Thanks, Lo, for your posts.The surgeon said there was still 80% of disc left after my 2nd micro today. He showed me the fragment he took out and said it was big. Now I am very nervous about ANY movement I make, so I need reassurance I will not reherniate again just because I am walking around and getting in and out of bed.

    51 years old empty nester
    microdiscectomy L4-5 on 9/3/08
    redo of discectomy for reherniation of L4-5 on 9/17/08
  • elleno- take care of yourself. I hope this 2nd surgery is going to be stable and a success.. The surgeon must have good instincts as he knew what to do quickly. I can see why you would be nervous as that re-herniation was quick. I hope the dr prescribed or recommended something to keep the systen flowing. Hope you heal fast... :) jade
  • Hello everyone. I am 4 weeks post op of a L-4L-5 disc herniation..arthroscopic micro D. The first 3 weeks I has muscle spasms and terrible low back aches. I started back on muscle relaxers and occasional pain pills. I have thigh and calf aches along with intermintent leg spasms, ankle pain..back and forth in both legs. I too strained very hard 2 days post-op and hope I didn't blow a gasket down there. I have been in therapy for 3 weeks and can't get past basic leg exercises without having irritation. Very worried I have more problems down there. Seeing Doc this thursday and if still having pain, they will do MRI. I have to take laxative if taking pain pills..so please take stool softener and drink lots of water. good luck!

    Kansas City
  • Just returned today from first post- op visit after L2-3 microdiscectomy and was told the disc has reherniated. Surgery was two weeks ago. Surgeon claims I was too overactive during recovery. As a result, blood and other fluids have collected and are pushing the disc on to my nerves. This new pain (radiating down the back of my left thigh) did not exist prior to the surgery. He claims if steroids and other meds do not calm things down, I'll require additional surgery. Any similar incidents or thoughts? Thanks! Bill
  • Welcome to Spine Health! I noticed you had added your post to an older thread. Its usually better to create your own new thread so it is unique to you and your situation.

    Sorry, I havent had a similar incident. But wanted to say how sorry I am to hear about this... Just two weeks post op, thats just awful.

    There are many members on this forum and I am sure someone has been where you are now and will provide you with some advice.

    Try to keep to your restrictions, I know its hard but I am sure you want to avoid another surgery. Are you able to stay home from work to recover & heal???

    BTW, we all over do it... you start to feel a litle better, you test the waters, and next thing you know... Pain! Now in your case, you reherniated, not good. Again sooo sorry.

    Is doc giving you oral steroids or will you be having epidural injections?

    I wish you the best and sit tight someone will chime in soon.

    Take care of yourself.

    (also from da boggie down Bronx)

  • V -

    Thanks for the words of support. Yes I can stay out of work but only for so long. I'm a pilot for a major airline and if I don't get well soon I could lose my qualifications.

    I'm taking Dexamethasone orally and it works great. Almost makes you feel too good so you want to be more active. The hardest part is balancing activity with rest. I'm just hoping the steroids will help calm things down to a point of no further surgery. Not sure if an epidural is an option but at today's visit it was not discussed. I'm also leary of switching surgeons midstream, but would appreciate your thoughts in that regard.

    Again, thanks for lifting my spirits as I'm really down in the dumps tonight.

    Best regards,
  • I am new to forum and found while laying in hospital bed at Duke University Hospital after 4th back surgery. I had a lamenectomy at L4-5 in 1994 and then Oct. 2008 had Lamenectomy at L5-6 which reherniated 3 weeks later and had surgery again Dec. 15 2008. Then this year I started having lots of upper abdominal pain on left side and chest pain. I went through endoscopy and colonoscopy then when all that was fine I went to cardiolosit and had stress test and heart cath. During the heart cath I started having extreme mid back pain which worsened while laying with head at 30 degree angle and not being able to move for 3 hours. I was crying by the time I left. The pain worsened and my family doc who I work for did an x-ray and seen some problems so sent me back to my neurosurgeon who ordered MRI and CT scan which showed herniation at T7-8 level with spinal stenosis. He said this was so rare that they did not do surgery on thoracic spine and sent me to Duke specialists. I had surgery on May 24 and the pain has been horrible since. I had a horrible pain while walking last Sunday and almost passed out. I went back to Duke on Wed. and he said I probably did reherniate the disc but just gave me steroids, more pain pills and sent me home to try and wait it out...He didn't even want to do another MRI. I am so fustrated at this point. I am 47 and have the back of an 80 yr old...my surgeons words....and have problems from very top all the way to very bottom of spine. He said it is just a matter of time before something else happens. I am trying to decide if I want to try and continue to work and do more damage or try for disability. I am so glad I found this forum and any suggestions or advice would be so appreciated.
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