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Has anyone had surgery for a small disc fragment??

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Based on my symptoms, I think I have a disc fragment that is irritating the spinal cord.


Does ANYONE have a suggestion on how I can get an image of a small fragment so I could get it removed and have a life again?? Have you had surgery just for removal of a fragment??

I have neck and upper back pain that gets worse with movement. I'm OK if I lie flat on my back with my neck straight. Turning my head to the side aggravates the pain. It's clearly coming from the neck and it's clearly mechanical. I also have some numbness in the hands and left thigh.


  • i had surgery for a fusion but when my os went in he found that my l5 disk was loose and broken into a lot of small fragments it never showed that on an of the mris my take on it was there was no way to tell until he went in kinda sucks but he believes he has them all there were alot of fragments in there. i hope they can get you taken care of good luck
  • Hi Ethan, thanks for the reply. How did they decide to do surgery? Was the disc really bulging into the spinal cord?
  • on the mri it showed i had DDD and spondylosethisis grade 2 but with movement it moved to grade 3 (bending, stooping) they decided on surgery when the pain wouldnt stop with the injections. i had the numbness and tingling in my left leg plus loss of reflex which worried the OS and NS. has your doctor suggested surgery?
  • It may not necessarily be a disc fragment. I used to have neck pain, and pain shooting down my arms to my fingers and I'd drop whatever I was holding. I still get it every once in a while but they say I have bone spurs on my Cervical vertebrae. That could be it and you could have a problem with inflammation around them.

    OR maybe you could request they do an MRI with contrast?
  • My neurosurgeon found it in pieces when he did my laminectomy and fusion. Disks can rupture outwardly or inwardly. My neurosurgeon told me I had an internal disk disruption as well as outward.

    Hope you can find some resolution of your problem soon.

  • I am scheduled for a (R) Microdiscectomy Nov. 4 to remove a fragment that is compressing the nerve root(L4-L5). The MRI done in June did not show this, but after an acute episode in August the MRI done in Sept did show a fragment.It was explained to me that the disc had ruptured and the Jelly-like stuff in the disc came out of a whole in the disc. I am looking forward to having them remove the fragment...and others if they are there in hope of relieving the nerve pain I have in my hip and leg. I saw several surgeons both orthopedic and neuro who indicated they would be removing any fragments they saw. I am using a neurosurgeon who told me he would only remove part of the disc if necessary. I guess mine must be a pretty big fragment if it is showing-up on the MRI.
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,728
    Hi, and welcome to s.h. You may want to try a new technology with a mri done in the stand up position rather than laying down. It shows the disc with you in an upright position and under natural pressure. It can be done with flex and extension and contrast.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,728
    Fonar is the company that makes the machine not all radiology departments have them. Expensive!
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • This makes a lot of sense. they should all be done this way IMHO. When I lay down much of my pain will diminish so it makes sense to do studies in the upright position.
  • Not necessarily. I had a moderate to severe herniation at L4-L5 that was VERY obvious on the MRI films, but then reherniated after my MicroD and had a small herniation that also showed up on the MRI. It does not have to be big at all for it to show up on the films. Part of it depends on the machine used and the diagnostic doctor.

    With a MicroD they won't be able to see anything but L4-L5.... So if there is any other discs ruptured, they wouldn't know. MicroD is a very tiny surgery, small incision, hence, Micro... It's done through a really, really small series of tube like implements. Usually has good results, though.

    A MicroD surgery only removes PART of the disc. They cannot remove the entire disc without putting anything in it's place... And that is a whole different surgery, and a major surgery at that. They wouldn't be able to do that without prior authorization from you or your insurance company, the equipment ordered and set up, a few more hours booked in the operating room, etc... So no worries, your doctor will most definitely only be removing part of your disc.

    I wish you the best on your surgery, though. Hopefully it solves your issues and you don't need any further surgeries :)
  • I had my L4-L5 Microdiscectomy Nov.4. I am managing. The usual pain in my (R) leg is not there although I was told it could come back temporarily due to the nerve being swollen. The large fragment that was found under the nerve was removed. No part of the disc was removed. NS advised that it looked fine and was not bulging or making contact with nerve. The incision site it still sore, but pain level has decreased. Very tired at times. Trying to balance walking with rest. Was told no Physical Therapy or any strenuous activity/exercise for 3 weeks, until I see him for follow-up appt. I am so relieved that the surgery is over. I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping I will continue to improve. Need to remind myself not to do certain things around the house...and rest when I feel tired. Not allowed to drive for 2-3 weeks. Don't feel like getting in a car right now anyway. .
  • This reminds me of my MRI results. I had a few large (impressive my NS says) bone spurs at c4-5 and c5-6...they were pressing against the spinal cord. MRI results said no disruption of signal but there was clearly a disruption. In PT, every time they would gently turn the head to stretch the neck muscles....my arms would go numb. The problem is that they strap you into that MRI and you hold completely still...of course there is no interuption then...if I could live my life with my head and neck perfectly still it wouldn't be a problem.
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