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Question: Microdiscectomies and Fusion go hand in hand?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have been reading on here and another forum about the vast amount of people who have had multiple microdisc surgeries who eventually have fusions of the same area.
I know one gentleman personally who is one of these statistics after multiple microdiscs done he finally had the fusion. He said to me that he should have gone through this earlier and not have to waste months even years of hoping for recovery.

What I am wondering is what is the % on here that has had the microdiscs done and have had to further have a fusion. Also, has the fusion helped you?

I may be naive but in my case that procedure was not even discussed and am just wondering if the surgeons who are doing them are just wanting to cash in as were to say on peoples miseries?

I know when I was doing the protocol regimented by my MVA insurance there was a standard used that said a disc can and will most likely regenerate itself in upto 18months and also wondering if this (the healing or regeneration of disc) is still a norm? In my instance it was not true but am wondering if this is still being said and used for a scenario for microdiscs?

I apologize in advance if I upset any here but I believe it is an honest question and would welcome any and all criticism.



  • Discs can heal without any intervention but it is a very slow process. It is my personal opinion that most people are not willing to put up with the pain and want results quickly.

    When my husband ruptured a lower lumbar disc many years ago, he went to several spinal specialists and was told by each that he was not a candidate for surgery, that the disc would heal and that five years down the road, there would be no difference in the outcome between letting it heal on its own or having a discectomy. So he opted to avoid surgery and let it heal by itself.

    The exception to this would depend on the severity of the nerve compression. If it has not affected the bladder or bowel, and there is no evidence of permanent nerve damage, then surgery is considered elective.

    But I guess this is not what you are asking. You are wondering why a discectomy is performed when ultimately the patient may end up needing a fusion...is that correct?

    A surgeon will almost always start out doing the least invasive procedure that will solve the problem. If the patient has herniated or ruptured a disc, the procedure would be a discectomy or a laminectomy. A fusion will not be performed unless it is obvious that there is instability in the spinal segments.

    Fusion is a BIG surgery, done as a last resort when there is no possibility of a smaller surgery solving the problem. A doctor would never begin with a fusion as there is no where left to go if it doesn't work out...and of course, it can not be undone. There are many more complications that can result from fusion, recovery time is much longer, etc.
  • I just want to thank you for answering my question.

    It just seems that there are many people here that have multiple microdisc surgeries and have the same outcome after each.Like a revolving door syndrome.

    I must not have been a candidate for this procedure as I had two fusions at different sections of the spine.

    I was just wondering as I see it these people go through the added agony of multiple surgeries and some have even had incisions the size of my own which were approx. 3-4 inches for my lumbar fusion. My lumbar fusion turned into a fiasco, a 4-6 hour surgery turned into a 9 hour surgery due to the pedicle screw guide wire moving and going through the artery/vein of my kidney and I had to have a vascular surgeon come in and "check" the status of that injury so that pushed my surgery longer.

    If I could have had one of those surgeries, believe you me, I would. I might be in a better state of spinal health than I am now.

    I guess I am jealous in the long run, it seems these tha have had that type of surgery don't run into the domino effect as readily as fusion receipients of which I am a card carrying member.

    Sorry for rattling on.

    Thank You,
  • Not always. I know several individuals that did great from microD's and never needed fusion.
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