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Discogram? Spinal Cord Stimulator, Fusion???

lizzyboollizzyboo Posts: 24

I finally had my appointment with a surgeon after receving my MRI results. He is ordering a Discogram from L2 down through S1. Has anyone had one of these? The doctor indicated to me that if the discogram comes back positive that he would recommend a fusion surgery. He also indicated that he would not recommend a permanent spinal cord stimulator for someone my age and would only recommend that as a last resort,as you cannot have any MRIs performed even if it is on a different part of your body. I was supposed to get one implanted this June/July. Anyways, the doctor also indicated that if my discogram did not come back positive that he would not have any surgical alternatives for me and furthermore, he would even go so far as stating that my severe leg pain is perhaps not even coming from my back????? So where would it be coming from? Needless to say I am a basketcase. Thus far all of my diagnostic testing has revealed, bulging at L4-5 that was compressing a nerve that i was supposed to have surgery on, but the doctor did my bilateral laminectomy at the wrong level. I now have bulging at l3-4 compressing the thecal sac, i have degenerative disc disease at l3-4 and l4-5,, hypertrophic facet joints, spondylosis and an EMG showed a chronic l5 radiculopathy on the left. the new surgeon, didn't think that was true. The crazy thing is all of the bulges are on the right side, but i have bilateral leg pain, and oftentimes, my left side hurts worse? Does anytone out there have any similar experiences or advice? It would be much appreciated. Thanks. Tammy


  • Discograms show everything , I had one last month and it was hell be ready for hell for 1 to 2 days , but it will show the doctor everything thats going on it's worth it if you think your doctor doesn't believe you.I also get the pain in both legs sometimes left sometimes right it really doesn't mean much other than it might be a central bulge and depending on what you do it affects that side. Good luck
  • at the wrong level? Are you in the U.S.? Are you still seeing the same surgeon, because I would definitely recommend a 2nd opinion. I'm sorry you're having so many problems, back pain and radiculopathy SUCK!
  • did the doc operate on the wrong level? Are you suing him/her? I guess that is why you have a new doctor??

    I had bilateral nerve pain with a one-sided herniation. My herniation was enormous, from the doctor's description. When I had the MRI, the technicians freaked and could not believe I was even walking (this was not to my face, I had a friend who had connections, contacted them and was told this). Then at surgery, the doc came out with his eyes bugged completely out and told my husband he could NOT believe the state of my nerve when he got in there. He had never seen it so bad EVER. Most patients that bad are admitted in the hospital with gripping pain. That shows you my pain tolerance right there, because I considered putting off surgery and would try to "heal". And Doc would have let me based on how I was "acting". Darn pain tolerance!!!]

    What that pain tolerance got me was a 5 month delay in seeking medical treatment and now, guess what? PERMANENT S1 nerve damage, that I experienced PRIOR to any of my surgeries, even the first one. It took 3 surgeries in 12 months to stabilize my back (long story), but the nerve damage was present and constant that entire time.

    Finally got my SCS 1.5.09 and got my life back. I did have to have a fusion because my back was dangerously unstable, though.

    I don't think there is any way your discogram is going to come back clean, sorry to say. I do hope you make it through it OK. Just hang in there and know that once your doc sees the results, he will BELIEVE you.

    Good luck,

  • Tammy, I am 4 months post op from laminectomy L-45, L5-S1
    microdisectomy at both levels as well. All my pain is in my legs. Prior to surgery legs number from knee down. Also S-1 big problem, bottom of feet when I walk, feels like getting shocked. After surgery, got excellent relief from numbness. did p.t and swimming 2x per week. Walking 3-4 miles at least 3x per week. Had to get Transforamanal Epidural injections after surgery. I have tons of scar tissue, from another previous back surgery I had back in June 2000. scar tissue will have to be removed once they go in and do fusion at l4-5 which is almost bonetobone. Pain coming back in legs -- just went to Mayo Clinic for 2nd opinion, they recommend the spinal stimulator for the leg pain and told me to have the fusion. I had discogram, 2x. They are NOT 100% accurate, don't let anyone tell you they are. Different results for different cases. I have almost no disk left at L3, L4-5, L5-S1 and the discgram results did not prove anything. My neuro says they aren't the best way. There is not best way, there is no test to determine 100% what a surgeon needs to do. They don't know for sure, until they get into your back, then they have to guess sometimes with the nerve bundles. It's sad. We back suffers really suffer. If you have back pain, you mostly likely will have it for life. Walking and keep the weight down helps me along with pain meds every so often.
    Good Luck
  • staceylsstaceyl Posts: 3
    edited 12/30/2015 - 7:32 PM
    I injured my lumbar spine way back in 1993 on the job. I am a nurse and I had a patient start to fall and he grabbed me and I was wedged between him and the bed rails. I had an L 4-5 discectomy in 2003. My pain has gotten worse through the years and is now daily with very little down time. I am currently trialing a spinal cord stimulator; however, the stimulation is not along my lower back but rather down my left leg and left buttock. I was told when the needle/wire was placed that it was textbook midline and that the stimulation should be bilateral and across my back. It surely is not. I don't feel as if I can make an informed decision on this stimulator placement permanently. Has anyone had this issue? I feel that the fusion may be worth it as I have tried everything else to no avail. Just wanting some input from those of you that suffer with back pain as I do.
    Happy New Year!
    Stacey Lupus
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