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L5-S1 MicroD: When Does the Leg Pain End?

mrredmmrred Posts: 12
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a L5-S1 microd on 2 September 2009 and I haven't had a pain free day since. Most of the sciatic pain is gone, but I have an almost constant burning sensation in my upper thigh that gets worse when I lay down. I also have a burning on my heel and arch of my foot that won't go away. Worst of all, I have pain in my left leg that I didn't have before the surgery! I had my post op with my NS last week and he didn't seem concerned about the new or old pain. He said it can take up to a year for the pain to go away. I start physical therapy next week.

Obviously I'm concerned that I re-ruptured the disc or that somehow the surgery failed. Has anyone else had a similar experience after a microd? Did the pain eventually go away? I'm trying my best to be patient, but this is really frustrating.


  • You're on the right track to learn patience! It is very frustrating to come out of surgery with a new pain. That happened to me, too, and to many on the board, as well.

    Sometimes just the way you are positioned on the operating room table can cause temporary pain, partiicularly in the front of the thigh.

    If the surgeon had to work hard to free up a nerve, he may have had to tug on it a bit. It is common to have pain for a long time after surgery.

    If I were you I would give it another month. If the pain increases or isn't any better than now, I would ask your doctor for a MRI to see if anything is going on...like a reherniation. If you start PT and the pain becomes worse, be sure to discuss it with the therapist. Of course you will have some new soreness from the exercises, etc. If the "normal" pain becomes worse than you think it should be, you might want to have the MRI sooner.

    Good luck, and please post often with your questions and concerns.

  • Your doc is absolutely correct in that it can take a year for the surgery pain to subside. I had a microD in 12/07 and was so much worse after my surgery that I really wondered if my doc had screwed me up. I also had post op pain that I did not have preop. Such as pain in my foot and ankle. The pain that I had preop in the back of my leg moved to the front. I was told that after having a nerve compressed it does take some time for the nerve to recover. It did take me about 1 year before the pain in my leg went away. Good luck and please keep us posted.
  • Thanks JJ and Gwennie for the advice. I'm beginning to realize that we don't have much control over our recovery but we can control how we approach it so I'm trying to stay positive and be patient.

    I'm starting to make some peace with my crazy nerve and give it time to heal, but I think I still have some irritation and swelling around the disc, especially when I sit for more than 20 minutes. Is that normal more than 5 weeks after surgery? I realize the nerve will take time to heal, but how long before the swelling goes down and I can sit comfortably?
  • I'm having the MicroD in the same location in 2 weeks. I have seen details live video of this operation and was wondering, wouldn't it be fairly easy to accidentally leave some disc material in the lumbar nerve area? So, the incision is stitched up and you might have some nerve irritation from this material on a new place on your nerve and hence sciatic pain in a location that you haven't felt before? This is all theoretical by me, but it seems plausible...
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