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surgery or no

kk3kkk3 Posts: 9
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I need advise re having a discectomy. I herniated L5S1 3 years ago and now am considering having the surgery.Does anyone have comments re the possible outcome after waiting so long.


  • What are your symptoms?
    How have they changed over the last 3 years?
    What is your motivation for moving ahead with surgery now?

    It's such a personal decision. An agonizing decision. One not to be rushed (of course you probably know that after 3 years).

    I personally had to be to the point that life in a wheelchair was preferrable to what I was dealing with. I don't know that I was ready to accept death as an outcome - I really hoped that would not be the case! I did hope my symptoms (cauda equina and sciatica) would be resolved.

    Luckily my original left leg and other symptoms were resolved. BUT - I now have RIGHT leg problems; nerve damage that is looking like it's permanent.

    I felt that back surgery had to be a last resort. I'd tried PT, cortisone and pretty much everything but the heavy rx's.

    I personally would not be looking at back surgery to solve back pain (you still get that pain post-op) I know that for me it helped the down the leg pain though.

    and... WELCOME, it's good that you are checking things out before your surgery.
  • Initially when the injury happened I was pretty much forced to laying on my stomach for 3 months ,was able to walk and sit only for a couple minutesand only if I absolutley had to as the pain was excruiating.For the most part had only leg not back pain. After many months of intense physio I am back to work with restrictions.(rather work in pain than sit at home) All in all I have improved alot however still have the leg pain/numbness/altered sensations increased with how much activity I do. I have had a CT and 2 MRI's the last being about 3 months ago.# weeks ago I had a selective nerve root block in hopes this would relieve the symptoms.The day I had it doneI had zero pain.(thought I could do anything) however the very next day the pain has come back and remains. Not excruiating but it is getting in the way of what I want to do. The Ortho said if the nerve block took the pain away temporarily ,this would show that surgery may be of some benefit.I have exhausted all conservative measures and know I definately want to be able to do more than I do now. I have been having PT for 3 years only to manage. It does not improve the pain level however helps with the movement. I see the Ortho on Friday for review.
    My symptoms now are leg pain through the butt that reach as far as the toes.I have no back pain. Intermittent dorsum numbness and feeling of weak legs.Also I seem to lose alance periodically especially when I have done alot of activity. The MRI showed definate pressure on the S1 nerve root.
  • Be sure to ask your doctor the effects of leaving the SI nerve compressed if you do not have surgery. Will you be causing irreversible damage?

    Usually it is a good sign when a nerve block has some results...and there is a higher rate of success when there is leg pain rather than only back pain.

    I think after three years' time you can safely conclude that you are not going to heal on your own. So you have to decide whether it is worth the risk of surgery or can you live with things the way they are? And will things get worse if you do not have surgery?
  • I have decided with the surgeon to go ahead with a microdisectomy. Now I am 4 weeks post nerve block and have considerably less pain these last couple days.Could this be a delayed result of the block? Should I reconsider the surgery? I guess I have some time as there is a wait list for the surgery. The only different thing is that my PT has tried something different so I will have to see how long this lasts.I have had times in the past when pain decreased only to flare again so here's hoping this is the turning point.I think I am subconciously trying to avoid the surgery! lol
  • without the surgery, then don't have it. You can always reconsider later when and if the pain gets worse.

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