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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,662
OK, so I had a microdiscectomy and laminectomy (spelling?) back on March 4th. L5 S1 disc herniation. Everything went great! I felt great with the exception of some minor nerve damage in my left leg. The disc was compressing my sciatic nerve down my left leg. Well I am having some new pains! This time in my RIGHT leg!!! So...I am a bit concerned. This pain feels like electric shock at times, it started out periodic, and it is becoming more and more constant. The pain radiates down the front side of my thigh in towards my groin and stops right above my knee. Went to a concert Tuesday night and after the first hour or so the pain was to a point that I kept moving my leg, trying to stretch or do something different to relieve the pain. You know how it goes, you feel the pain and move all different directions trying to figure out the best way to sit or stand to be comfortable. I can feel the pain start in my lower back area and radiate around the front of my leg. Hopefully that makes sense.

So, I'm actually thinking maybe this is a different disc? Maybe scar tissue? I know...I know...go see my doctor and I will. I am the type that analyzes things first to determine how bad it is. I'm afraid of bad news. Any input would be great!


  • Where was the surgery? (which disk was involved?)
  • sorry I edited it, it was L5/S1
  • Oops, I didn't see where you mentioned that it was the L5-S1 disk that herniated, but, now I do.

    Did you previously have pain in the left leg in the same location (front of thigh, etc.)?

    There are a couple possibilities that pop into my head. First of all, when a disk is herniated, in years past, the surgeon would attempt to remove the whole disk. This prevented "reherniation" but resulted in other problems. Without any disk, one vertebra was sitting on top of the other one, and it was painful.

    Now surgeons try to remove just what appears to be "loose" or out of place. Sometimes they don't get all the pieces and the piece left behind can end up pressing on the nerve. Depending on where the little piece is located, it could be pressing on a different part of the same nerve, causing pain in another area.

    It isn't that you "did something" that caused the disk to "reherniate." Instead, it is that a fragment is still there causing problems. Is it a new one, or one the surgeon missed? Who knows.

    It could be causing inflammation which might show up on the right side rather than the left. At this point in the spine, there really is not a "spinal cord." That runs out around L-1. After that the spinal nerves from the remaining vertebrae look like a bunch of wires that all bundle together and become what is called the horse's tail (cauda equina)...so the sides are not clearly delineated at this point in the structure of the spine.

    The L5-S1 is the disk that most frequently ruptures. It takes the most abuse from daily living and all the bad things we put our spines through in daily life. Next in frequency is the L4-L5 disk.

    Scar tissue is a possibility, too. Six to twelve weeks after surgery is the typical amount of time it takes for the scar tissue to form. If it attaches to the lumbar root, it can cause pain when you do something that requires the nerve to move. Unless you have the atypical surgeon, you will be hard pressed to get your doc to say that you have scar tissue that is causing a problem. Most of them seem to not want to discuss the topic. They usually just say something vague about how everything gets disturbed during surgery and it can take awhile to settle down again. They will tell you that nerves, in particular, heal VERY slowly...and that you should be patient and just wait and see.... (Can you tell I've been through this a few times with a couple different surgeons???)

    I imagine there are other possibilities, but these are the ones that popped into my head.

    I would pull back on your activities for awhile...kind of go back to the quiet time right after surgery for a few days and see if it helps. Maybe take something for the inflammation, like advil or aleve. Try icing your lower lumbar area...You want to try to get the inflammation to go down so the nerve root won't be squished any more.
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