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Post Op Pain immediately follow microdiscectomy

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
I was operated on a week ago and the surgeon performed a microdiscectomy on L5-S1 and a laminotomy on L4-L5 and was convinced he created an ample amount of room for the nerve roots. When I woke from the surgery, I was immediately concerned that it didnt work because I was still in the same preoperative pain, and I had heard from about a dozen people with the same surgery that the pain is gone when you wake up. Mine was not. After 2 days following the surgery, the pain was very intense and the surgeon was hoping it was inflammation of the nerves as they were being crushed. He ordered me an epidural for both nerve roots to speed up the healing process and after 6 days following he epidural, the pain has still not been reduced. I can lay down and sit in a chair in limited pain, but once I walk around for more than 3 minutes, the pain down my right leg from my buttocks to my calf is very intense 8/9. I finally took a vicodin yesterday after walking for about 5 minutes in a store and the pain got too bad. I've avoided pain killers otherwise and have tried to stay in positions that are generally less painful such as laying or sitting.

Since the epidurals didnt work, the doctor is ordering another MRI next week to see what might have changed or moved during surgery. I did hear from his PA that material kept flowing out of my disk during surgery so maybe it didnt stop and is still sitting on the nerve.

our course is to review the new MRI and the decide on a 2nd surgery if we find disc fragments or continued nerve impingement that wasnt cleared up the first time.

Any other thoughts? the dozen or so people I talkd with before the surgery all said they woke up feeling no pain, and had to really push themselves to take it easy the first 6 weeks because they felt back to normal for the first time in months. Even my surgeon rarely has cases like me and he was racking his brain yesterday trying to see what he cuold have done differently ro what could have gone wrong. right now, the MRI will show us what it is, and the plan, depending on that, will be do go in a 2nd time in the next two weeks to get out the stuff taht's still compessing the nerves.

Any other ideas, experiences, questions I should be asking shoudl be greatly appreciated. the surgeon is well known at the teaching hospital UCI and everyone speaks real highly of him and his expertise. he seems very interested in gettng me back to health but also lacks ideas prior to getting the next MRI.


  • I just read your post. I am having post op pain as well.It does not sound as bad as yours though. My surgery was 1 week ago and pain still is radiating down my left leg. Also went to a well known surgeon out of rush in chicago. I talked to his practitioner 3 days ago and she said this is normal. until i have heard is that others have had no pain after the surgery. others on this site have experienced some pain as well though. best of luck and healing

  • I am a neckie by surgery (back isn't far behind - so reading more of you all's posts!) I agree, *most* pre-surgery pain should be GONE! I had that with both of my neck surgeries! I am glad to see he is getting a new MRI, but even if there is something he missed...I truly hopes he makes it right. It might mean going back in (not good), but I hope he is honest enough to own up if he DID miss something. I feel your pain, and am sorry you are in it - sounds terrible! Please keep us posted. :-)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • What about an oral course of steroids? The nerves may still be quite angry especially from the manipulation from surgery! I also experienced a relief from my pain & numbness after my micro-d but did have a return of some numbness & pain a few days post-op. My NS put me on a Medrol Dosepak about a week post-op and I found that it helped greatly. This may help your epidural work a little better too.

    Another question, why aren't you taking your pain meds? Post-op pain is tough, I know that I took Percocet for about 10 days post-op followed by another 10 days of Vicodin. This is not the time to try to 'tough it out' with pain. In my opinion, why deny yourself relief if you can get it? This will only delay your healing.

    I hope your doc has an answer for you soon and you get some relief. Keep us posted!

  • All I can say is that you are fortunate to have a surgeon who really wants to make things better.

    I hope that your new MRI will give information is to why you are in so much pain immediately after the surgery.

    good luck!
  • Thanks for all the comments and well wishes. I really appreciate it.

    It's been 10 days now and still no pain relief. I can lie down with limited pain, as well as sit, but standing or walking more than 3 minutes and the pain primarily in my right calf becomes an 8/9 very quickly and is intolerable. My feeling about pain meds is that if I can primarily keep myself in positions of not exacerbating my pain, I dont need the meds. When I have taken vicodin because the pain from a short walk across a parking lot became unbearable, it didnt really work and really only made me loopy. Again, I'm not living with pain because I'm avoiding the painful scenarios for the most part.

    Back to my issues: after 10 days, I should be starting to feel less sciatic pain if the surgery was a success, right? I dont know what the MRI will find tomorrow but I'm guessing it will still show nerve impingement which is causing my pain.

    Has anyone else gone through the Micro d surgery for L4/L5, L5/S1, had pain immediately following the surgery that was the same as before, and after waiting weeks or months, the pain has gone away? My surgeon is thinking that after this long, and with an epidural to speed up the nerve inflammation reduction about 8 days ago which also hasnt worked, there is still probably something physically in that area causing compression.

    I just wanted to find out if others had pain relief by waiting longer. I really can't live like this, sitting down all day or in bed on ice for much longer and if the only way to fix it is to remove something still there, I'm all for another surgery. The pain from the actual surgery is not that much so I can handle that.

    So, in short, did anyone else have a failed micro d surgery and go back in with a new surgery soon after and fix the problems and come out pain free?

    Thanks for all the help. These forums have been great for me.
  • from pain free post op. I was months asking myself why in the world did I have this surgery. I was in a great deal of pain post microD. It was much worse than pre op. It took me a solid year but the pain going down my leg did go away.

    I have heard many stories and even seen folks at my docs office that had immediate relief but I am and have met others that it did not work that way for.

    I think that there are lots of things that will make each case different such as how long the nerve was compressed. The longer it is compressed the longer it takes to heal.

    So don't lose hope yet. Good luck and please keep us posted.
  • Ive heard the same thing as JJ Grey. That the longer the nerve was compressed to begin with, the longer it wakes to heal. In my surgeon's discharge paperwork, it mentions that if the nerve pain lasts 6 months or longer, it's likely permanent. I didn't have a micro-d but I did have a fusion a month ago, and I am having very severe leg pain that I did not have pre-op. I think because I've had back pain for 10 years, my nerve is going to take a very long time to heal.

    I think 10 days out is way too early to tell.
  • I have looked long and hard for some positive comment. Thank you JJ for posting on here and telling your story that has a happy ending.

    I had a L5/S1 discectomy 3 months ago and also still have leg pain. It's not terrible but very frustrating. Here's the weird thing...I can do leg extensions and touch my toes all day long with absolutely no pain except for my stretched achilles tendon. However, sitting in a car or standing for a while is very painful. Isn't that strange? My doc of course says it will get better but may take up to a year. Frustrating I know.

    And for all of you that are still in pain, please remember that people that got better right away aren't on here writing and looking at posts about back pain. They are out running around shouting for glee! These are a bit biased. Back surgery is not only physical, but a very mentally challenging thing I have learned.
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