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Surgery in 2003, 6 years later repeat symptoms

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi All,

6 years ago i had surgery for a herniated disc at the L5-S1.

About a year previous to it, is when i started to have back problems, and during that year, the unbearable pain was from the lower back down to the back of the knee.

I had surgery as it seemed the only viable option as there was no sign of the problem easing.

So at present i am starting to feel repeat symptoms for about 5 weeks now. Though the pinch is only down to my left buttock and the pains is not all that bad. I had another MRI scan and am waiting to see my orthopedic surgeon in a few weeks.

The results:

There is normal vertebral body height, alignment and marrow signal. Disc desiccation L1/2. L5/S1. Conus lies at T12 and is of normal size and signal.

L1/2: Central disc extrusion present without evidence of canal stenosis or foraminal stenosis.

L2/3, L3/4: No evidence of disc herniation, canal stenosis or foraminal stenosis

L4/5: Mild broad based disc bulge, larger to the left of midline where it compresses the traversing left L5 nerve root in a subarticular/lateral recess. Central canal is moderately narrowed. Foramina are adequate.

L5/S1: Previous left hemilaminotomy. Mild broad based disc bulge. larger to the left of midline which together with posterior endplate osteophytes compresses the traversing left S1 nerve root in the subarticular/lateral recess. Central canal is mildly narrowed. Both formina are adequate.

The post contrast scans demonstrate no evidence of discitis, arachnoiditis or osteomyelitis and no significant scar tissue identified.

Would anybody know if this is this something i should be greatly worried about?


  • You don't need to be greatly worried but it does indicate that there is a small disc bulge at L4-5 that is compressing the L5 nerve root. There is also a small disc bulge one level below where you had the previous problem and there are some bone spur-type growths on the endplates of the vertebrae that together are compressing the S1 nerve root.

    The disc bulges and endplate changes take up space that would otherwise be where the spinal nerves exit the spinal canal. This can cause compression and result in the referred nerve pain your are feeling in your legs.

    Obviously I am not a doctor, but I think these are the things your surgeon will point out when you meet with him. He will be able to give you a plan for treatment and answer all your questions.

    In case you haven't noticed, there are some excellent articles on this website that are written by a variety of spinal specialists. You might want to read through some of them so you will be better able to communicate with your surgeon when you see him....Here's one to get you going:


    and some treatment suggestions:

  • I would highly recommend getting a Discogram done - this can help your dr. determine which disc is the pain generator.

    It's not a pleasant test, but it sure beats having surgery on one disc only to find that it didn't fix anything and that the OTHER disc that didn't look so bad, but was the one sending out the pain. (that could have been my fate if I'd not had a discogram done).

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