Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Was given radically different surgical options

painfuldyappainfuldya Posts: 17
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have been having back problems for about two years. I have a herniated L5 S1 and bulging or herniated (depends on who's looking at it) L4/L5 and L3/L4. I have tried PT and injections and have had some relief but I still don't have a life and I can't stand to ride in a car or take the subway because of the vibrations. Earlier this year I was offered a fusion of L5/S1 and L4/L5 by a neurosurgeon. He sent me for a series of facet blocker injections on the different disks, because I had a Discogram prior which showed that L3 L4 was my pain generator and he thought that it was a false result. The facet blocker injections did not help at L3 L4 so for the neurosurgeon that was proof that L3 L4 was not a problem. I was still worried and went to a physiatrist who had seen my prior Discogram. The physiatrist wanted to do another Discogram on L3/L4 just to make sure it wasn't the pain generator; he said that it was herniated, although the neurosurgeon claimed that L3/L4 was healthy. I sent an e-mail to the neurosurgeon asking him if I should get the Discogram. He never responded and has been over a week and I've been calling the office. I am contemplating canceling the surgery-I think the neurosurgeon is blowing me off. I posted on this board about this last week about whether to get the Discogram on L3 and was told to get another opinion. Here is what happened:
I went to go see an orthopedist, also highly recommended. He told me that I did not need a fusion, that Discograms are not so great, and that I should only get a microdiskectomy at L5/S1, which is the disk that shows up as most herniated. He said L4/L5 and L3/L4 are just degenerated and that this is to be expected because I am 41. I am tempted to just go for the microdiskectomy on L5/S1 and not have another Discogram at all. The problem is, I have mostly back pain and I have read that microdiskectomies are better for leg pain. This orthopedist said he sees a lot of people who are told they need fusions, they then get fusions and end up needing more fusions because the disc above cannot support the stress. He's pretty conservative but maybe that's good. Anyway, now I'm even more confused. I've been to five or six people and been told a bunch of different things-two docs told me I needed a triple fusion and they couldn't help me, one told me I needed a microdiskectomy, and another told me I needed a double fusion. If anyone has any suggestions or can even understand this confusing post, please let me know. Also if anyone has had back pain relief from the microdiskectomy, please let me know. Thanks and wishing you all a pain-free day...
also, does anyone know if having several CT scans in a year is bad? I heard something about the radiation...


  • And my only other additional comment is regarding the difference between back pain and leg pain. I just had 2 level fusion about 6 weeks ago because both my leg pain and back pain were excruciating. My discs were both severely herniated, and any disc material remaining in the disc space was degenerated and worthless. Basically my OS told me Bad discs=back pain. Herniations=leg pain. And from what I've read and what my OS told me, discectomies are basically for leg pain, as the protruded material is what causes the pain. Again this is from what my Doc has told me, and from the research I've done on my own condition.

    I would definitely re-do the discogram, and perhaps even get a 3rd opinion. For me it was a no brainer, fusion was my only option. But not many situations are so cut and dry. Best of luck, and I hope you find an answer soon.
  • I sympathize with your situation. First and foremost, any back surgery is life-altering, and should not be jumped into unless you feel 100% convinced that the procedure of question is addressing where you feel the pain coming from. I am quite surprised that the neurosurgeon is "pro" discogram and the ortho "against" discogram validity - in my experience it has been the opposite. Its sounds like the ortho. wants to treat your MRI, not you; and while I would personally opt for a microD before a fusion, it has to be addressing the pain generators or it can just be a source of more pain. My pain doc insists that facet injections are not reliable in and of themselves for the source of pain,as the pain can radiate to the joint above or below the affected level - he and most ortho's believe the truth is in the discogram. If you discogram is in doubt, maybe you should repeat it - you need to be convinced. A concordant discogram is when your exact prior pain ("the pain that makes you reach for medicine") is reproduced during the injection and that injection has abnormal findings. I wouldn't have any surgery yet if I were you until you were convinced of your pain generator.
Sign In or Register to comment.