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Microdiscectomy with epidural anethesia experience

josea.solejjosea.sole Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi there, It has been 27 hours since I had an L5-S1 microdiscectomy surgery and felt like sharing my experience with you.

First, some background: I am 29 year old male who suffered from an L5S1 herniated disc at the age of 18 thanks to rugby. Fast forward eleven years (in between I had your usual sciatic situations, back exercises, stretching, heat, etc yet nothing invalidating) till 35 days ago.

I wake up a saturday morning to a sneeze that literally pinched my back. After that I realized I could not *literally* move for the next 8 hours. Finally went to ER, had an MRI and surprise, grossly herniated L5S1 disc. Solution?: take corticosteroids + pain killers for three weeks and see evolution. Outcome?: probably the three wors weeks I remember, pain shooting down my leg and right foot numb. Three week evaluation?: Possible nerve damage, microdiscectomy adviced ASAP. Three days later and I am out. Although the surgery was supposed to be under general anest., my two neurosurgeons decided in favor of an epidural injection. I do not know whether this is normal, yet I was told that my recovery period was faster than with a general anest. and needless to say less invasive. After the epidural anest.was over I noticed that I did not have that numbing pain in my right foot any longer. 12 hours later I was able to stand up and noticed that I was not limping anymore, and that the sciatica pain was gone. Now, this is the impressive part: before the surgery I was taking three doses of corticoids + NSAIDS per day and the pain was still there. Afer the surgery I was given...Bufferin and the pain is almost non-existent.

I do not want to be overly optimistic as it is too soon to tell, yet my first impression is that this is the best decision I could have made. Will def. follow up with the progress.

Oh, one final thought; Try to really build rapport with your surgeon(s). I trusted mine so much that I went into the op room as I were going into a Burger King, zero stress. I really think this helped me a lot.

Sorry for the long rant, hope it helps!


  • 1st I've heard of an epidural being used for a micro-d. So you were conscious, lucid, and awake for the whole thing?
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Epidural is common for c-section. 17 years ago I had one with my son. I was awake and aware and could hear everything (i mean everything) while they did the procedure. I even asked to watch but they said no.

    No reason why they shouldn't do the same thing if they can numb the right levels. And who better than a neurosurgeon to do an epidural.
  • Hey Paul, yes, though I think they may give you a mild IV sedative, but bottom line you are very awake. TBH I did not feel discomfort at any time, and again, the "come back" from an EP is not bad at all (no headache, vomiting, disorientation) etc. Ask about it, in the en the micro sd should be, well, micro:)
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