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discectomy 5/12/10. questions

salty444ssalty444 Posts: 149
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all. I had a lumbar decompression l5 /s1. Discectomy performed by Dr XYZ from ABC albany NY. How long for surgery pain to go away and why does mu leg still hurt? Very difficult to get out of bed in morning. I definitely underestimated this surgery

Post edited to remove name of Medical Professional and Institution by Authority Member haglandc


  • Wow I can't believe you are even posting at two days post-op. Consider that a major acheivement. As far as pain didnt they give you stuff to take? Usually what they put inside plus what they give you orally will control the pain at this point. If it isn't call your surgeon today. Don't wait with the weekend coming up.

    I'm guessing that once you get the pain under control you will feel better in another day or so. Then comes the honeymoon period where you feel pretty good before the internal meds wear off.

    As far as the leg that may take a bit if the nerve was compressed.

    So relax, take a nap and start channel surfing!!
  • I left albany medical same day as discectomy. Pain is all but gone with exception of getting in and out of chair. Heck I even vacuumed the house today and did dishes for wife. The Dr that did this is superb and is extremely respected in this area as a fantastic spine Surgeon. I have enough pain meds to last a year but I find my muscle relaxer to work better than oxy. It is flexeril
  • Hi Salty,

    I'm impressed as well that you're posting so soon after your surgery, sitting was a bear for a long time for me.

    The road to recovery is different for each of us, but, IMHO you should reconsider doing any vacuuming for a period of time. The pushing/pulling/bending and possible twisting when doing this chore is generally not advised so soon after surgery.

    Take it slow and remember to rest to maximize your healing and recovery. Please keep us posted.

    Take care,
  • Well.....I vacuumed but walked around like a robot. I was in a lot of pain when I woke up from surgery but diluadid took care of that for me.

    My surgery was performed using a spinal anesthesia and heavy sedation. ...versed or something. I've basically been sitting in my recliner and getting up to walk throughout the day. I could honestly probably scrap the pain meds but they definitely take the edge off.

    I'm not trying to come off like a tough Guy at all... i am a baby when it comes to pain. How much pain is someone typically in after this kind of surgery?

    Honestly I do not even know what they did to my back. Dr spoke to my wife whiling was in recovery. Do they remove bone to access the disc? I have follow up next week
    Only thing worrying me is new numbness in left leg
    Started before surgery and seems to be worsening. Dr said it is unrelated to herniated disc and will keep eye on it
  • Hi again Salty,

    It's hard to say how much pain someone is in from spine surgery, everyone has a different threshold, everyone responds differently to the RX cocktail that was prescribed.

    I had a minimally invasive TLIF and though I'd been warned by my OSS it would feel like 'a horse kicked me', I likened my pain in the first 3 days as having been kicked by an elephant (had a lot of trouble w/ spasms that finally responded to the RX meds). You probably still have some of the anesthetic in your system from the surgery which helps in blunting the pain (a good thing!) when combined w/ whatever pain meds you came home with. It was suggested to me that in the early part of recovery that I take the meds on time/round the clock to keep an even level in my system. It must have worked as I was able to stop using the RX meds somewhere between 10-14 days out - slow taper.

    See the link below from SH on decompression surgery (scroll down to the section that is the complete list), think it will answer your question about bone removal. Sometimes there's a new area of numbness post surgery that may be due to how you were positioned on the table, or a nerve getting 'angry' at being manipulated during the surgery.


    Hope this helps, please continue to let us know how you're doing and how the followup goes next week.

    TC and here's to a good weekend too,
  • Thanks pfd

    I cannot sleep in our bed. Too hard to get out in the morning. My recliner does the trick.

    Concerning the left leg numbness, I noticed it about 2 weeks before surgery.

    To all considering a discectomy, if I can do it you most certainly can. I'm like a little girl when it comes to needles and such....lol
  • Oh
    ...and if its the pain you are afraid of, there is a wonderful medication called dilaudid. Makes all pain go away quickly
  • I've had 2 microdiscectomies (the first one either failed or a piece was left behind). Anyhow, after the 2nd surgery, I found that it took a good 2-6 weeks for me to notice a difference in the leg pain. I get it but only if I sit for more than 30-45mins or stand still for too long.

    While the recliner might be comfy, the bed is better. I got a step stool (2 steps) that I used to get in/out of bed after 2nd surgery and found that it was much better lumbar support for my back. I put a pillow under my legs and slept on my back.

    I also found that if I walked every 1-2 hours even if it was just for 5-10 mins, I slept better and did better.

    Morning is bound to have you a bit 'stiff' in the legs. I managed to drink plenty of water which is good for you but also forces you to get up in the middle of the night (not like I was sleeping anyhow) but I got up and walked around the house.

    You are early out but if you have concerns, I always say call the doctor...that's what they are there for. They may tell you to ice or other tips.

    Good luck.
  • I agree.... mornings are not easy. I feel for all that have more complex surgeries. This discectomy is enough for me at this time.

    Seems like as the day goes by and the more I walk the better I feel.

    How do I know when I'm over doing it with the walking?
  • Your body tells you when you over do it. So increase your walking slowly and if you feel worse back off a bit. The water is a great suggestion. Remember all those narcs are constipating so the extra water will rehydrate your whole body.

    Is your problem with bed not being comfortable to sleep or that it is hard to get out of? Did they teach you how to log roll to get up? If you roll to your stomach you can scoot your legs over the side and use your arms to push up. All those stitches or staples are going to make you stiff for a while.

    THis I can promise you. Each day you will feel a bit better and in a few weeks you won't even remember how you felt. Kinda like having a baby.
  • I think only spineys really understand what mornings are like....it takes awhile to get out of bed and get going. I too, try to get up in the night, walk a bit and then go back to bed.

    We now have 3 dogs, so at least one usually has to go out. Not sure what I will do when it's time for me to go back to work and I really need to sleep through the night.

    When walking you might try several smaller walks vs big, long walks. That way, if you feel it becoming too much for you, you can rest.

    Hang in there, each day will get a bit better. We're thinking of you!
  • When can I take this bandage off? The tape itches like mad
  • Don't you have to change the bandage daily or something?
    discectomy in June 2010 - success! No sciatic pain, just some remaining numbness in foot. And I get charlie horses a lot.
  • Often this info is written on your discharge instructions when leaving the hospital. If not, you could call your surgeons office in the morning.

    The itching could be from skin irritation from the tape or it could be from the meds.

    Hope you are feeling a bit better each day! Hang in there!

  • I think it all depends on the way you were closed - staples, stitches or superglue.
    You should have been given instructions if you needed to do anything. Otherwise, I think they will change it when you go to have the staples or stitches removed.

    Were you given any instructions about keeping it dry, or are you allowed to shower and get it wet?

    If you are having a lot of itching, maybe you should talk to your doctor. You might have an allergic reaction to the dressing. I had that and it is fairly common. Is there any redness visible around the dressing? I was given piriton (antihistimine) while I was in hospital because of the itching and reaction I was having. I would speak to your doctor to get it checked.

    Hope that it feels better very soon :-)
  • I took dressing off. All I see are 3 steri strips. I covered it with a new bandage. All seems to be going very well so far.
  • You realize this is just one week after surgery?? You are doing so incredibly well!! Just like a man to be impatient...lol

    I had staples and will admit I cheated a bit. When I came home from the hospital I was a mess with dried blood everywhere that they had never cleaned up. So I headed right for the shower. My bandage was water-proof so it was fine. On day 3 my husband changed the bandage and by day 4 I was leaving it off since I was home. I don't recommend this for everyone since we all heal differently and have different closures and complications. But this worked for me. And damn that shower felt great!

    Salty when did you say you go for your recheck?
  • I go the 26th for follow up
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