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surgery next week

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Lower Back Pain
hi all, I'm getting disc decompression surgery on a large central disc bulge at level l5-s1 next week and to be honest, I dont know if ths is the surgery I should be getting as the bulge isnt compressing nerves or the spinal chord. I have contant back pain and alot of buttock/ hip pain, Unbelievable pain sneezing and coughing, bending
forwards and backwards,lifting, putting my foot down hard, etc (you know the drill!),but its only occasionally I get pain down my legs (mostly the front of thighs, but have felt what feels like nerve pain in the groin and 'bolts of lightening' in my lower back only once or twice). I have been in pain everyday for a year and 8 months.Does anyone think this is the surgery I need? The only reason I can think of from reading into it, is the possibilty of developing bowel and urinary incontenance, otherwise I would have thought it should have been a fusion.Any ideas?
Karen x


  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    From your description of the symptoms you are experiencing it sounds as if you do have some stenosis or nerve impingement. I had similar symptoms and have undergone a Laminectomy of L4 thru L6 in 2006. Glad I did because
    the threat of being wheelchair bound or wearing a diaper are not an option for me. If you are confident in your Dr's and have done your homework don't second guess your decision, I haven't and am better for it.
    Take care and best of results to you.
  • Did you have any prior surgeries? I think fusion is usually done after failed surgeries, for collapsed discs, or abnormal movement in the spine. Fusion is usually the last resort as this is a major surgery. Have you tried all the conservative measures, physical therapy,traction,steroid injections etc.? Disc decompression can really help you as long as there's nothing else going on. Good luck, keep in touch and let us know how you're doing.
    Faith M
  • thank you for replying. I had physiotherapy for 7 months last year which made it worse and have tried various medication (taking oxynorm and oxycontin now), but never had any injections.When my neurosurgeon saw me after I had my mri done (finally got it done in march on the nhs),he didnt even ask what I had had done already, he just asked if I could go into hostpital at short notice (I dont know if its because its a very large bulge- I felt very ignorant as he is Indian and I couldnt understand much of what he was saying so I made the appointment as short as possible!I was also SO relieved at finally getting something done- Stupid I know!).I suppose my main worry is coming out of this still with all my back pain and waisting everyones time.
  • sorry forgot to ask- what is the difference between disc decomression and a micro diskectomy? Finding it a bit confusing as when I called the surgeons secretary to find out the name of the op, and asked if it was a diskectomy, she said it was disc decommpresion and when I've been reading into it they both seem to be the same thing.I will be in hospital 2-3 days after the op- dont know if this is a clue?
  • If you have a large central disk bulge, I would think the surgery you will be getting is a discectomy. A micro-discectomy is done for the same purpose. It is the same premise, but done with a smaller incision. The nurse may be calling it a decompression because when a disk is bulging or ruptures it is usually pressing on a nerve, and part of the point of the surgery is to decompress that nerve.

    Another decompressive surgery is a laminectomy, which removes the very back of the vertebra, the lamina,(the bony part that the disks sit between).

    You would not be in the hospital that long for either of these surgeries in the U.S. (except for unusual circumstances, of course.) They are either an overnight stay, or some even get out the same day.

    The only reason that I can think of for the surgeon's reaction is that the bulge is taking up so much of the central canal that he fears nerve damage if left as is.

    From the information you have written, there is no reason why you would need a fusion. The main reason for a fusion is due to instability. Removing part of a disk from your spine will not cause any instability. If you were having multiple levels done all at once, it might be a different story, but for one disk you do not need to worry about instability. The vertebrae will be left intact and that is what holds you upright.

    Be sure you understand your discharge instructions. You should be instructed to avoid all activities that involve bending, twisting or reaching. You should avoid pushing or pulling anything and to not lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. It will be important to use good body mechanics. Watch your posture!! Do not slouch when sitting and restrict the amount of time spent sitting. Get up every 15 minutes or so to walk around a bit. Take several short walks each day. Walking is the best exercise for recovery as it gets an oxygenated supply of blood to the area and it stretches out the spinal nerves...both necessary for a good recovery.

    Good luck to you. Hope this procedure takes care of your pain.
  • thank you so much for your reply. It has explained lots to me.Looking forward to hopefully some progress, but recovery with a 19 month,7 year old and 13 year old may be interesting!lol Will let you know how things go xx
  • I wish you the best success for your surgery and recovery. I hope you look at the must haves for surgery list here. You won't be able to lift your 19 month old, but you probably haven't done much lifting anyways with the pain. I hope the little ones help you out after the surgery. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • There is great information and advice about what your preop needs will be, the surgery itself, and recovery and life after surgery. I hope it goes well and it gets you back on your feet again. Most importantly, that your pain goes away. It won't be easy, and you may experience ups and down. Recovery is a gradual process and you'll have to be careful and follow your doctor's orders. They will stress the importance of walking. You will have to do a lot of it and go to PT. Take care and best wishes on your upcoming surgery :H
  • Will you have help for the first week or two, or longer? Actually this will be a good time for the two older kids to take over some of the chores of running a house. They probably won't like it, but they are old enough to help out.

    Start getting them used to the idea that you must be VERY strict with your recovery and that there will be RULES that MOM must follow or the surgery will not have been worth it.

    As others have said, this is a BIG surgery and it will take some time to recover. Healing cannot be rushed. Your body has its own pace and you need to listen for it and go along with it. Walking is the best exercise. It brings fresh, oxygenated blood to an area that does not have vessels running through it, and walking also stretches out the spinal nerves.

    Good luck to you. I hope everything goes smoothly.

    xx Gwennie
  • I wish you much success and pain relief with your surgery! Remember, you only get one chance to heal correctly! The kids will be ok! As much as your mommy instinct may kick in when you are further along in your healing, healing completely is what is going to be most beneficial to your kids in the long-run. Try to remember to breathe when you get nervous and maybe even sing yourself a little song in your head to help calm your nerves. You will be ok! Just imagine a life with a lot less pain and frustration! We're all here for you, caring, and sending out the positive vibes!!!

    And I just needed to state that a discectomy does cause instibility since it is removing some of the disc that weight is displaced on, leaving less of it to absorb pressure, which can lead to a re-herniation or problems with other discs since they could be picking up the slack. This is why it is so important to heal right and then change your lifestyle as well as continuing physical therapy at home for life. Things such as bending, lifting, twisting, spitting toothpaste, and so much more need to be conscious things once you have any back surgery, rather than things taken for granted and done in an unhealthy way.

    Much love,
  • thank you all so much for your words of advise and support.Today, I said to my husband to remind me after the surgery the pain I am in today, so I remember its worth it in the long run.Isnt it amazing when your pain levels go down to around 2-4 , you forget what it was like even the day before if it was through the roof?lol
    love to all x
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