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L5-S1 / L4-5

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
So after 6 months of conservative treatment and three spinal injections, I have seen no improvement from leg pain and numbness. MRI results showed L4-5 with mild bulging, and L5-S1 with small disc herniation.

Today the doctor referred me to a surgeon. I am under 30 years old and quite concerned with the thought of back surgery at my age. I also have my second child on the way in Sept. and would love to hold him without pain.

I tried chiro at the onset, but after five treatments, no relief, normal exercise etc when possible through the pain.

Curious as to the forums thoughts on questions I should ask, other treatments to consider, etc. Also any input from individuals with similar exp. as to the procedure, recovery time, etc.

I am a IT professional with "work from home" flexibility but wanted to know the reality behind the down time expected from such a process. I know this varies greatly, and I am certainly planning to follow the rules of the road, however just wanted real world scenarios to expect.

Thanks in advance!


  • Welcome MBF :)

    I had a S1-L4 fusion done last July. After 3 years of increasing symptoms and 3 years of conservative treatments. I'm a bit older than you - 40's not 30's, but still, I was considered young for this kind of problem. Oh well, accidents happen, ya know?

    Anyway - Sounds to me like you need to see what the surgeon says. THEN go from there. After my referral, I STILL tried alternatives for over a year before finally going ahead with the surgery.

    I would for sure check out the surgeon you have been referred to. What are his M&M rates (you CAN ask at your apt.- those are the Morbidity and Mortality rates - people who did not heal well or at all). Ask around - word of mouth seems to be a really good barometer from what I've seen. Find out EVERYTHING you can about your condition, back surgery, surgeons - yada yada - you know the drill. Be informed and best of luck.
  • 1st thing probably is how would surgery affect pregnancy.
    Would it be better to wait?

    Can a pregnant person benefit from an ESI into the pain site to mask the pain for the meantime?
    (Epidural steroidal injection)

    Will a discogram be done? (after the baby of course)

    For the surgery:

    What approach(es) will be used to gain access into the disc(s)?
    What structures are cut or disturbed using that approach?
    What happens to those structures after surgery?
    What happens to the disc itself after the surgery?
    Will you have a Neuro assisting? (if he is an Ortho)
    Will you have an Ortho assisting? (if he is a neuro)

    -sorry, those were the only ones I can think of right now-

    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Have you tried physical therapy? I had physical therapy for 4 months which allowed me to walk without pain, go on our vacations, ...well pretty much resume my normal life.

    However, no one warned me about avoiding activities that required one to bend, twist and lift while in recovery, so I ended up having microdiscectomy. actually 2.

    If you end up having what I got, your recovery time could be 4-6 weeks. It is a minimally invasive surgery, so the recovery time is much quicker than other ones. Just by reading your posts, I doubt (based on my personal experience) that your surgeon will jump to fusion.

    Good luck!

    BTW...i have a shallow bulging disc and an annular tear at L4L5 and had a big bulging disc at L5/S1 (now gone)

  • I'm 33 yrs old & just had surgery...wish I had done it sooner, but I wanted to try everything possible first.

    I'd have the discussion with your surgeon & see what he/she has to say. I would imagine that they'd wait to do it until you delivered, but I could be wrong. My guess is that the surgeon would do a microdiscectomy (which is what I had), so you might want to research that before your appointment...doing so might prompt some questions in your mind.
  • There is just one thing I wanted to mention if you are consedering surgery and that is scar tissue from the surgery. They never tell you about that problem. I had a fusion at L4 & L5 and now I am in constant pain from scar tissue impenging on the nerve root.
    I do not want to scare you but do talk to the surgeon about this possible problem. It is just something to be aware of.
    Not everyone has pain from this like i do.
    I also have a fusion in my neck but never think of it. No problems at all.
    Best of luck to you. I hope everything turns out well for you.
    Hugssssss >:D<
    Patsy W
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