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Possible back surgury for hubby

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,662
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi my name is Susan, and my husband (age 53) injured his back in Jun 09. Since then he has been in severe pain down his left buttocks and leg. He has had an MRI, an it showed a herniated disc S1/L5. His neurosurgeon wants to do a Microdecompression Endoscopic (Arthroscopic) Spinal Discectomy. He tell my husband that the recovery time is around 2 weeks and then he can return to work (he is a teacher and is on his feet for most of the day). My question is this - Have any of you had this procedure done and if so, was it successful? What was your recovery like? I am very scared for my husband to have back surgury - but on the other hand, I want my husband back! Thanks for your help.


  • Hi Susan,

    Definitely go for another opinion. It doesn't hurt to get details.

    I'm still learning all the names for various surgeries. I have bad herniated L5/S1 disc. I had a microdiscectomy which essentially is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to remove the herniated disc that is pressing on the spinal cord and sciatic nerve.

    I opted for the surgery b/c of the extent of my neurological deficit (both numbness and weakness in left buttocks, back of thigh, foot, and perineum) and extreme pain.

    The surgical decision is very personal.
    Things I wish I did:
    - get more information on the health of my disc, the bones/vertabrae structure around it (i.e. xRay), and statitsics on how many surgeries the doctor performed vs. success rate (i.e. how many reherniated the disc within 6 weeks).

    I had an instant situation in which I was immobile.
    If your husband is mobile, I'd look into what alternative treatment he has done b/t then and now. Has he done PT and taken it seriously? Has the doctor talked to you about epidural injection?

    I know a few people who have done the epidural and while it took 3 tries (first one lasted 2 weeks, then 2 months, and now 2+ years), it was less invasive than the surgery.

    That being said -> the reason I suggest that you get another opinion and understand what's causing the herniation is because it will help you/him understand the likelihood for success.

    My surgery didn't work. I have reherniated the disc. I will never know if it was a reherniation or disc material left behind. But I reherniated a big chunk (I'm told) and now am working with doctors to find out more about what's causing my disc to herniate so I can make a more informed 2nd decision (another microdiscectomy or some type of fusion).

    I'm very new to this but hopefully this will give you some things to talk to the doctor about.

    I know several others on here might offer input/experience to help your husband determine the right decision.

    As for my surgery - it was fairly easy and I was up walking within a few hours post op. I would highly recommend taking it VERY easy the first 2 weeks after the surgery and absolutely NO bending, lifting, twisting. Sit in firm chair, sleep flat on back, if sleep on side, put pillow b/t knees to keep spine aligned. Allow scar tissue to form which prevents reherniation.
  • I hope your husband is being attended by a fellowship-trained spinal specialist. This can be either an orthopedic spinal surgeon or a neurosurgeon. The fellowship training is the highest level of training that is available to a surgeon. It indicates a level of expertise and usually indicates that the doctor devotes his practice to back and neck problems only.

    It is very important that you look into the doctor's background and experience as there are less experienced people out there performing these surgeries. This is not the time to casually take someone else's opinion or recommendation. Do your own homework. ( I see you mentioned a neurosurgeon, so your husband is probably in good hands....)

    Otherwise, the rest of your questions are difficult to answer. Some people are able to heal a herniated disc without surgery. Some people have a successful surgery and go on without further problems. Many others have surgery and find themselves back in the same situation within weeks or months...sometimes years.

    In addition to the forum, there is much useful information on this website, written by a variety of spinal specialists. You might want to read more here:




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