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Questions about disc rupture causes after discectomy.

BrihtwulfBBrihtwulf Posts: 69
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:33 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello everyone,

I had a discectomy last year in March. I had to spend the night in the hospital because the pain was so bad I couldn't get up and walk. The next day, they sent me home despite the fact that I was still in considerable pain and had a very hard time even walking to the bathroom. I was told, "you'll feel better immediately after surgery!" and wasn't expecting that kind of situation. I was also left with complete numbness in my right heel and half my right foot...

The pain decreased slightly over the first couple months after the surgery. I did physical therapy (which was uncomfortable at least and painful at times I couldn't do the exercise). Then, about 6 months later it started going down hill again. Increasing pain...

Now I'm scheduled for a spinal fusion in 6 days (July 16th), and my neurosurgeon seemed to give the impression that something wasn't right about my previous surgery (which wasn't done by him). He was hesitant to point fingers, but gave plenty of implication that my pain and the unusual size of my scar from the discectomy (about 2-3 inches) suggested some kind of complications.

Well, here is an image of my most recent MRI (June 2009), showing the L5-S1 rupture and its encroachment of the spinal canal. I'm wondering: how could this have happened if I have been restricted from doing any heavy lifting since my surgery and I haven't been doing any strenuous activity either (football, golf, etc.)? I have bone edema, narrowing of both lateral foramina, a number of pain-causing issues. How likely is it that the previous surgeon just plain screwed up?




  • I was really looking for thoughts on what might have caused another big rupture like that aside from something like an accident or over-lifting (as I'm sure I didn't have those happen). But thanks for the blunt, uninformative single-word post.

  • You could have rolled over wrong in your sleep.

    Took a crap.

    Need I go on.

    There are a million reasons why you may have re-herniated the disc. It serves no purpose to dwell on why it happened. Just try and move forward and get better. That's the best advice I can give you.
  • Mine re-ruptured when I was being moved off the operating room table. My incision was a bit over 3 inches and my left foot was numb when I woke up. My foot issue turned out to be peripheral nerve issues, but it is confusing because it happened immediately after my first of four back surgeries.
  • dave said:
    You could have rolled over wrong in your sleep.

    Took a crap.

    Need I go on.

    There are a million reasons why you may have re-herniated the disc. It serves no purpose to dwell on why it happened. Just try and move forward and get better. That's the best advice I can give you.
    You know what, I didn't come to these forums for rudeness and I doubt many other members do either. Just because I'm curious about why I might be needing a MAJOR SURGERY doesn't mean you have the reason to act like an arrogant jerk and talk down to me. I'm not a doctor or a nurse, so how the hell am I supposed to know how discs re-rupture. I assumed it takes some more strained effort for it to happen.

    But enjoy making yourself feel brilliant by insulting new members and trying to make them feel stupid for asking questions and being curious and concerned about their condition. Maybe next you'll post about how someone with a broken vertebra should just shut up about it and suck it up? If you don't have something constructive or useful to say, you should probably not bother posting your insults.

  • Hey. Your MRI looks awful. I would hate it if mine looked like that. In fact...I did! I'm sorry man, that looks very rough. Get it fixed...I don't know if you're in the U.S. but, if you are? Get it fixed before we get too much change.
  • Look, I'm not trying to be rude. I just inferred from your original post that you were trying to blame your original surgeon for your current condition. My original micro scar was over 6 inches long. I applaud you for seeking help and trying to get it fixed. I personally listened to my Doctor and lived with it for over 5 years before doing irreparable damage to my nerves.

    Concentrate on your upcoming surgery. What's done is done. That's all I'm trying to say.

    P.S. I was giving you some of the more common ways you can re-herniate a disc after surgery. It doesn't take much.
  • I'm kinda in the same situation as you are I had my surgery last year and my pain has been gradually returning and is starting to get real bad. The only real physical thing I have done is lifting 20 lbs bags of ice at work and that is only once in a while, not repeatedly. My Dr cleared me to do that. So I have no idea what the hell is causing my pain again. I am in the process of making appts for an MRI.
  • Dave has been a bit blunt with you, but he is being truthful. A microdiscectomy always seems like such a great idea. Get that disc "stuff" that's been pressing on your nerve out of there, and you'll be all better. I had one. I felt better immediately after surgery, but it didn't even last six months. I followed doctor's orders. I didn't lift heavy things. I walked and walked. Actually, I was out walking one day and my leg buckled out from under me.

    If you look at it logically, you started with a damaged disc that had squished out and put pressure on your nerve. When you had part of it removed to decrease the pressure on your nerve, you actually damaged the disc further. The likelihood that you would have more problems from that disc with very little effort are great. Unfortunately, we're all so eager to get rid of the pain, we just don't stop to realize that we are further destabilizing the disc.

    I say get the problem fixed and move on. There's probably nothing the former doc could have done.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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