I am 24 years old, have been diagnosed with a severe disc herniation at the L5-S1 level, I have talked to 5 doctors, 4 of them have suggested I have a Micro-discectomy done to fix the problem. One of the 4 suggested a system called Dynesys (dynamic stabilization) which sounds great except that it is untested and not yet approved by the FDA, which makes me nervous!
The 5th doctor is the only one who looked at X-rays as well as MRIs (the others only looked at my MRI) he pointed out to me that along with my extremely bad herniated disc I also have a slip in which my vertebra at the S1 level does not align with the rest of my spine, also he noticed on my MRI that there is an area where my facets are rubbing and creating cysts. Doctor #5 highly recommends that I get a fusion.
I am obviously very nervous about the decision I am now faced with. Fortunately I am young and in good shape, so I should be able to heal quickly, but also being so young I don’t want to start the process of several back surgeries through out my whole life. If there is anyone who has any advice, information, insight, or opinions for me I would greatly appreciate it. Here is the way I see it right now.
Pros: Minimally invasive
Cons: Might not fix all of my problems, chance for re-herniation, I might have to get a fusion eventually anyway.
Dynesys with Micro-disc:
Pros: Still fairly minimally invasive, reduced chance of re-herniation, I’ve heard I could still do a fusion some day if I need to,
Cons: System is not approved by the FDA yet, I might still have to end up getting the fusion eventually
Pros: It should fix all of my problems, I am young and the rest of my back is very healthy so I have a lower risk of having to get more fusions.
Cons: There is a risk of having to get another fusion on the next level up, at my age a fusion now could mean several fusions through out my life.