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fragmented disc - need surgery?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
My husband just got the results of his MRI. It says he has a free fragmented disc extending into the left L3-L4 neural foramen which causes narrowing of the foramen and impresses on the exiting left nerve root. are any of you familiar with a fragmented disc and do you think he needs surgery?
If so, should he go to a back surgeon or a neurosurgeon?
How long is the recovery and when can he go back to work, drive, etc? Thanks


  • I had a neurosurgeon do my tests that showed I had a chunk missing from my disc....this was causing the vertebras to rock around worse pinching down when I made certain movements.

    They didn't find my missing chunk though...I think the arthritis monster ate it. I would think anything free moving in there that shouldn't be is dangerous to your nerves and bones and spinal cord. Does he have leg symptoms, hip pain?

    I've heard of them clearing out the fragments and thru a posterior surgery (thru the back) and doing a semi-fusion there. A guys that works with my husband sneezed and blew his disc out into the spinal cord. He was back at work on light duty after 3 weeks, but I'm not sure which kind of surgeon he had. A full fusion recovery on one level can be from a month to 2 months and sometimes people need more. Depends on the person, the amount of work done, and any leftover nerve issues.
  • Yes, he had bad nerve pain down his buttocks, around the groin into the front of the thigh above his knee. He is on Lyrica and he says it is better. He was recently off work for a knee injury on workman's comp and I don't know if he has enough hours to take off for back surgery on FML.
  • I had a huge extruded fragment that compressed the exiting S1 nerv root.I was in a lot of pain for 2 days but continued to work.Then on the third day my leg and foot went numb and I lost all the strenght in my foot but the pain was alot better.The Dr. went the conservative route and had me wait 8 weeks while giving me cort.shots.
    I then had a disectomy/ lam. I now have permanet nerv damage and still have pain. Given my numbness and weakness, I feel I would have had a better chance for recovery if they operated right away.
    I Hope he has a better outcome.
  • I also have a detached disc fragment extending into the L2-L3 foramen, causing severe foraminal stenosis and touching the nerve root. For 5 months now the front and both sides of my left thigh have been totally numb and hypersensitive at the same time. I am also in pain when I walk or stand, or even when at rest. The epidural injection did not help much. One neurosurgeon suggested discectomy. I am getting a second opinion in three weeks by a better regarded NS. The overall wait for this doc will be one and a half months! I hope that at least I am falling in good hands... I had already scheduled surgery with the 1st NS, then I went on the Medical Board site and found out that he had three malpractice cases. So I did not take the chance, better to wait a bit longer and go with a more trusted surgeon. I recommend to everybody to find out as much as possible on the surgeon before having him cut you, its worth. I had a very bad experience with a NS 5 years ago, but I'll spare the details here.
    Let us know what are the latest with your husband. All the best!
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