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2nd microsurgery. Is it possible?

adiputraaadiputra Posts: 12
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all,

i am 20 years old male and have had back surgery Laminotomy l45 on the right discetomy l45 and decompression of spinal canal one year ago.

I am now in pain again. I feel the pain down to my right leg, numbness, and cannot do the leg raise. This is exactly the same feeling i had before the surgery. I believed that the disc is reherniated..

Im just wondering whether is it possible to have 2nd microsurgery? Im affraid to do the fusion as it will put a lot of pressure to the above disc and there is a great chance having another fusion considering im only 20 years old.

Has anyone had 2nd microsurgery? The result of my previous surgery was actually perfect, unfortunately i might overdo myself believing that i was back to normal.

Please give me any information if you can. Looking forward to hear from all of u guysss..
Thank you


  • Hi there,

    It sounds like you need to take a trip to the doctor and get another MRI based on your symptoms.

    Yes, a revision microdiscectomy is possible. I had one 2 weeks ago. I re-herniated (or they left a piece) within the 1st 3 months. I think I overdid it b/c I started to feel good by week 2.

    This time, I realize the 1st 3 months is critical and even after that I need to be careful for a full year. So it is possible you overdid it.

    The success rate does drop on the revision to 80% but when compared to fusion, that success rate is also 80% satisfaction rate and you are right about your concerns about the level above/below having to carrying extra load.

    I don't know your symptoms or your MRI results. For me, revision was an option b/c aside from my disc height not being great from DDD, I didn't have other issues. Hopefully this will be the case with you.

    Once you visit your doctor and see what he says, get another opinion and come back here.

    I had 7 opinions and a remote clinic review my records to give me an opinion. I opted to try the revision b/c a fusion is permanent...there's no going back after it. With revision, if it fails, I know I tried everything but that worked for me.

    Some weigh the option of success of revision against chance of infection and scar tissue build up on nerve. So there are pros/cons to both.
  • Hi Dnice,

    thanks for your response. Yes, i will see my doctor for another MRI. Unfortunately have to wait till 17th of March.

    Based on previous assesment of my spine, i did not have any problem except the bulging disc. I feel great after the 1st surgery, its just my own stupidity that made me feel the pain again. Now i am hoping that same surgery for the 2nd time would be a good option for me and I promise I will not do the same mistake again....

    How are you now? Which level did you have it operates? And may i know how old r you? Just curiouss.. :-)
    Thank You.

  • I was operated on L5-S1.
    I hate to admit my age b/c I feel younger than I am.
    I had sciatica issues since I was 20. I managed through listening to my body, exercise, and occassional trip to doctor for NSAIDs to help reduce inflammation.

    I am/was very active. I love to run.
    I turned 40 and was training for my last marathon before giving up distance running (ironic). I was struggling with the long runs but it wasn't sciatic pain. It was calf pain so I didn't think it was my back. Anyhow, I went for a massage and I guess it was enough to 'relax' my muscles that my pain just kicked in and I stretched wrong one morning in bed.

    I didn't have a bulging disc. I actually tore the annulus (outer layer) and lost a piece of disc onto my nerve. I couldn't get out of bed.

    I'm so determined, I tried for 10 hours with meds my Primary care called in, to get out of bed. NO luck.

    Long story short, I think the doctor left a piece of disc behind but no one can be sure. I felt pretty good by week 2 that I came off all pain meds, starting driving, headed back to work, and was doing laundry ,dishes, walking the dog. But in reality, I never really got better.

    This time around - the surgery hurt less (which I was surprised) despite what I was told to expect. I did stay overnight b/c the risk of infection goes up the 2nd time but it's still pretty low.

    I'm 2 weeks out. Doctor said I'm healing well and he's taking extra precautions with me. He said the "pain" I'm feeling is actually positive b/c it seems like the nerve is trying to wake up.

    I'm doing quite well. I don't know if it worked but I have really been serious this time.

    I walk every 1-1.5 hours on treadmill. It started in slow 5 min increments. I'm up to 3 miles/day but I walk in 1/4 or 1/2 mile increments and no more than 20 mins at a time. I don't sit for more than 5-10 mins per doctors orders. I have not walked my dog and am not bending or twisting like I did before.

    My nerve has been severely compressed for 5 months so no feeling in most of left buttocks, left back thigh, and left heel/outer foot.

    My back pain is barely there which is a huge improvement over the 1st surgery.

    My leg pain is intermittent which is a big improvement.

    My doctor said b/c the nerve was compressed so long it will take some time to wake up and I might have some residual damage.

    But he said his goal is to 'protect' me from overdoing it the 1st 3 months so that the surgery works b/c even at 40, he prefers to for last resort. But if it does come to that, he does MI fusions....however, as he says, there is nothing minimally invasive about a fusion. It's major surgery.

    You might want to ask your doctor about an ESI (epidural injection) too...it might be that you are just inflamed or the scar tissue is inflamed.

    I know Medrol packs or Prednisone can help.

    Does icing help? Ibuprofin?

    Hopefully Gwennie will hop into this. She gave me an exercise that seemed to take some load off my disc while I was waiting for my surgery.

    I believe you lie flat on your back on the floor, put your legs up on the couch (bent) and just take deep stomach breaths. But let me see if I can find it.

    Did you do any PT after the surgery? Hopefully your issue is just inflammation and not recurrence. If your disc was bulging, perhaps it's just inflamed again.

    My doctor said at week 6 we'll see how I'm doing and then at 3 months if I have any doubts...he'll do another MRI to make sure I didn't reherniate. I don't have much disc left to herniate.
  • Hi Dnice,

    Yes i did go to the PT after the surgery, however, it was only for several weeks and I did all exercises by myself (swimming,etc)

    I was keep complaining to myself about the result of the surgery. I regularly had backache no leg pain. At that time i did not really understand about this problem. I went to the doctor and took MRI and they said everything is allright. I was trauma and everytime I got the backache I tend to take rest. I was scared to do the exercise. I am just worried that the exercise gonna flares the pain. I was WRONG. Now I realized that was a mistake as not exercising makes the muscle getting weaker and stiff.

    Now I feel the true nerve pain. Going to see the doctor 17th of March. I hope that the MRI will show no bulging disc...

    Actually im a bit confused. When we feel the pain, should we take rest or keep doing activity and exercises like we used to? From my perception, if there is a bulging disc and pressing on the nerves. Dont you think that movement (exercises) is actually aggravating them?
    Looking forward for your reply. Thank You.

  • Adi,

    I'm not expert. I think your question is great for the doctor. I've always been told with my sciatica to listen to my body. I was, in fact, told not to stop running but just to learn my body and if I was hurting, cut back, ice, etc. I was told inactivity was the worse thing for a bad back b/c you are right, need to keep muscles in the core strong.

    That worked for 17 years! When I got hurt, I thought it was due to the running but the doctor's assured me that no, exercise probably kept me strong for many years. They said a combo of the massage and a silly stretch just was enough to allow the spring loaded disc to go.

    As for rest vs. exercise - I plan to ask my doctor.
    I'm 2 weeks post-op.
    I am starting to get stiff in my back.
    I'm still early in recovery so I'm actually planning to call the doctor today to make sure I'm doing the right thing.

    After the last surgery, I never felt great and I think that added to stress but felt if I walked, shorter distances, I felt better.

    This surgery...I have found that yesterday when I was stiff...the key was short 10 min walks every hour. It actually loosens me up. I'm not allowed to stretch just yet so not sure on that. I did ice for 10 mins too. That helped. I then took a warm shower but nothing long...10 mins.

    Remember, this surgery is good for leg pain, not necessarily back pain. For back pain/stiffness...I have found that walking and then icing for short periods (10mins) helps.

    I wish I had more information but I only went to 1 PT session before it was confirmed I reherniated and the doctor didn't want me to do more damage.

    Try not to worry too much until you see the doctor.
    I would stick to the basics if you are hurting.
    No bending, twisting, lifting, or sitting for too long.
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