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Nearing appointment with Orthopedic surgeon

JimBJJimB Posts: 8
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello Everyone,

I recently herniated a disc L4-L5 (here's what the report said):

There is an unusually large disk herniation at the L4-L5 level.
5mm retrolisthesis of L5 with mild bulging of the L5-S1 disk.
Minimal bulging of the L3-L4 disc. Otherwise, normal.
(I love that part lol)

I was just wondering if anyone had advice about questions to ask. I suppose I will be presented with a few options and my evaluation is not until the 13th of November. I am still in the information gathering stage....by the way, I have had troubles with sciatica for 15 yrs and always my right side, which is now blown up.

I have also tried epidurals and been through P.T. as well.

Thanks for any advice you might give.
Jim Battle



  • Hi there, and sorry about your sciatic problems. 15 years is a long time to be dealing with sciatica. I was ready to go postal after 6 months of intense pain! I take it, you have not had surgery to repair your disks? Discectomy or microdiscectomy? I had a discectomy about four or five years ago and did fine for about three years. Some people have great success for a long time after this procedure. If your Orthopedic surgeon is recommending getting some form of discectomy see questions below. (I have an inkling that this is the most feasible option for you, unless you have instability...in which some doctors would recommend a fusion. I am not sure of any other treatments that will be offered to you...but I hope it provides a speedy recovery.

    Some questions I wish I had asked before I had my discectomy were:
    -Should I have physical therapy after procedure? (Can help with stretching of scar tissue)
    -When should I start PT?
    -How soon can I drive?
    -What are my specific weight restrictions?
    -Are said restricitons permanent? (My bro went to a spinal institute and they told him twenty # limit for remainder of life)
    -What activities should I avoid?
    -When can I resume "love-life" activities? (sorry-but I think it's improtant to know!)
    -What are some complications I may encounter?
    -What are my alternatives to narcotics? I say this because they make me sicker than a dog!
    -PT/doctor questions-What are the best exercises post surgery? (I personally think walking is the best thing you can do for yourself!)

    Honestly...there are many more questions that can be added. I am glad you are doing your homework. I did not ask so many questions before I had my first surgery; I felt that I should have been more assertive and asked away! These surgeons are getting paid and they should know many answers to these questions (at least on a general level).

    I hope that you get a game plan soon about your treatment. Take care of yourself!

  • It's rough you've had so much pain for so long. I hope this Orthopedic Surgeon will be able to help you this time. This is a link to a great answer from the Admin Ron here http://www.spine-health.com/forum/alternative-treatments/questions-ask-your-doctors . I've seen 2 Ortho Drs and one NeuroSurgeon and it's always best to have 2 opinions if possible. I hope this Doctor will be able to help you though. Good luck and keep us posted. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Thanks for the advice---just waiting on my appointment now!
  • In addition to the bulging disc, you might want to ask about the retrolisthesis. It could be just as big a problem as any bulging in the disc. Retrolisthesis means that a vertebra has moved backware (5mm in your case)relative to the vertebra below it. This indicates the potential for instability, which leads to degenerative changes and often results in a nerve being compressed. It is often a cause of back pain.
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