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Which treatmeant to pick?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hey Everyone,

I am new to this forum. I am trying to get some opinions from people that have had simular issues have myself.

I am trying to figure out which treatment to choice from for my herinated disc between L5-S1. I have two choice that were offered to me through the VA Hospital( I am a disable vet). The VA has given me the choice of either a Discectomy or a spinal fusion. My nerosurgeon said that given my situation and age, I'm twenty five, that the discectompy would offer the greatest benefits as of right now.

I have thought about disc-repleacement, but the VA won't pay for that, so that's pretty much out of the picture, plus it's a new procedure and there not enough information to base any actual thoughts of doing that surgery just yet.

To give a better picture, the last MRI I had and examination, showed the following.
1. Herniated disc bewteen L5-S1
2. Degenerative disc disease in both L5-S1 and L4-L5.
3. The disc in L4-L5 is starting to become herinated as well.
4. Lumbar lordosis

I have been living with this condition for over Five and a Half years, but only recently has it gotten to the point were it is causing to much pain to sleep, walk, sit or do anything and pain medications are not helping. So now I am left with surgery.

Any thought?



  • Welcome to this forum! I have to agree with your surgeons recommendation of having the discectomy. The reason being is that you are young. You are about as young as I was when I had mine done. To be quite honest, I was happy with my results for quite some time. Unfortunately, I started to get instability, more herniation, and bone spurs later on and had to get the fusion. I had a pretty quick recovery with the discetomy and was pain free for about three years. Everyone's experience is different so just take my reply as a single, individual experience. Do you know why the VA gave the option of fusing? I am just curious as I was never offered that when I went to the NS the first time. I think once you get the discectomy (if that's what you decide on...) you will feel relief from your leg pain soon enough( cross fingers!). Plus, the recovery is a lot quicker than with a fusion, generally.

    Take care,


  • I'm not sure why the NS offered fusion, but the Surgeron that was would actually do the surgery didn't bring it up at all, only the discectomy. I'm just up in the air on surgery or trying a different type of treatment.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    Perhaps you can try the discectomy first - with the agreement between you and the physicians that if substantial improvement is not achieved after surgery that fusion may be an option at that time. If anyone suggests fusion just ask for the medical reasoning. Perhaps there is something in the test results that leads a doctor to recommend fusion vs discectomy (you never know what your MRI, CT, or xrays may be showing). For example, if test results showed any instability or spondylolisthesis (where one vertebrae moves forward over another) then fusion is often the recommended surgery. I had spondylolisthesis and thus, even at age 20, the fusion was the best choice to stabilize the area.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • treatment is always the best place to start if it is an option. I personally would not consider a fusion until all else has been tried. I had a microD at L3/L4 and it was successful in helping my leg pain. Is it possible to get another opinion? Not sure if that is an option with the VA. Good luck making your decision and keep us posted.
  • I'm sure dealing with this for 5 years your doctors have tried the ESI's, physical therapy, chiro, and all that jazx. Right???

    Fusion ain't no joke. Try everything else first man. Good luck. Sorry your feeling bad.
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