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Nervous about Surgery - microdiscectomy

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi All!

I am about to undergo a microdiscectomy of l5/s1 on Jun 18th. Although I have researched the procedure I am very nervous. I have never had surgery before and do not know what to expect. If anyone would be so kind as to what I should expect at the hospital, being put under, etc would greatly appreciate it!



  • It's natural that you are a little anxious.I had this procedure done less than 48 hours ago.I'm home and feeling fine.Not sure if you're in the UK,if you are the chances are you will be put under by an anaesthetist(who will have chatted with you beforehand) before you enter the main operating theatre in a small room adjacent.You will have a small injection in the back of your hand(very slight scratch type feeling)an oxygen mask will be placed over your mouth,after a couple of breaths you will feel and remember nothing until you wake in a post op recovery room with a very attentive member of staff taking care of you and reassuring you that everything is ok.Good luck and try not to worry too much.By the very nature of forums you tend to get a bias towards the negative side,the positive outcomes tend to move on and don't bother posting in my experience.
  • You are lucky that you've not needed surgery before. I am, unfortunately, a veteran of many surgeries. The microdiscectomy is really not bad at all. I had one in December 2007 and remember that it almost instantaneously relieved the leg pain I was having. The recovery was not bad at all and I felt really well after it. I only had a small bandaid for the wound. Hopefully, you'll do just fine. I hope it's all the surgery you ever need.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Have you had a discogram yet?
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Had a MRI a few months ago at the onset of the pain, etc. but no discogram.

  • Thanks for the feedback so far. The doc say it will be a same-day ordeal. He asks that I work from home (IT manager) for three weeks before working from the office again.

    How long do you folks think I should take "fully offline" from work after the procedure to rest/relax?
  • I was able to sit for about 30 min. after 4 weeks. Your job sounds like it requires a lot of sitting. Make sure you walk around for 30 sec after you sit for 30-45 min. You might already know this--sitting is not good for your back. Give your back a break by sitting and then walking around for 30 sec.
  • Hi
    I had this same proceedure done 4-8-09... you'll be fine but being nervous, is normal. I had a 3 level cervical fusion in '08 and then this. So, no stranger to surgery here. But, my leg pain has been allieviated. Back is still killing me though and am on strong narcotic meds..

    Best of luck...God Bless

  • Healing is a very individual thing, so it is hard to give you a specific time. Some people go back to work almost immediately and some have a lot of discomfort for weeks or months.

    I would think you'd want to plan on a week for total rest and healing. Then if you feel OK maybe you could work a couple hours a day and kind of ease into it. As another poster said, you will need to get up after sitting for about 30 minutes. Walking is the best thing you can do to encourage healing. It brings freshly oxygenated blood to the site and stretches the spinal nerve that may have been compressed. It is better to take a number of shorter walks during the course of the day than one long walk.

    Barring anything untoward, the surgery itself really isn't bad (as far as back surgeries go!). As a matter of fact my doctor told me the biggest problem he has is in trying to get his patients to listen to him and to take it easy for the first two weeks. Often, people feel so good after months or years of having various activities restricted by pain that they do not follow doctor's instructions. They go out and end up doing too much; they push themselves and live to regret it.

  • Thanks everyone for the info.

    I got a call last Friday and the doc was able to move my surgery to the 8th due to my pain levels.

    I am having a hard time walking and on higher doses of narcs, which I hate. Not too mention the nasty side effects associated with constant narcs. I get bad naseua and constipation with this stuff, but without it I am at a 8/9 pain level. Any tips for those side effects would be great!

    I am still a bit nervous, but looking forward to waking up and knowing that improvement will be coming soon. Looking forward to a normal life soon.

  • I don't really have any suggestions for the nausea, but for constipation I have a few tips. It is blueberry season and they are very good for this problem. If you have a high fiber cereal and put lots of blueberries in the bowl with the cereal, it is one way to eat them. You can also freeze them and pop one into your mouth like you would a grape...for a little snack. I kept the prune distributor in business when I had my fusion.

    Basically you want to eat high fiber and fruits and veggies with a high water content are good, too. Drink LOTS of fluids. Go easy on foods that can be constipating like cheese and milk products. If none of this helps, you can resort to the over-the-counter products. Stool softeners also help, especially after surgery.
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