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Possible L4 L5 Microdisectomy Surgery

backpainsucksbbackpainsucks Posts: 47
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Lower Back Pain
Doctor explained to me that I do not have a normal buldging herniated disc...said that I don't have the typical pea size herniation on the nerve root but have the whole disc buldging all the way around. Crazy example...an uncooked biscuit squashed.. Anyone else have this issue? Did surgery help?



  • Hi there,

    Unfortunately, none of us are doctors. So the actual diagnosis is the part where we can't really help.

    We can tell you our experiences and why we chose or didn't choose surgery but our experiences can't guarantee yours will be the same.

    I had a massive herniation. The annulus tore and a large piece broke off and came out at L5/S1. The doctors could not even see the Sciatic nerve. I had excruciating pain when it happened. I could not get out of bed, despite my attempts. I ended up in the ER.

    I had back pain for 17+ years and sciatica that I managed quite well up until the point I got hurt. I never had an MRI up until I got hurt in Aug 2009 but they had always suspected that I had a bulging disc or degenerative Disc disease. I was indeed able to manage flare ups with PT or NSAID until the actual wrong stretch one morning.

    Microdiscectomy is considered minimally invasive and often "out patient" surgery. However, my only caution to you is that this is still back surgery. The back/spine is where your key nerves all lie so it is still a big deal. The surgery itself was not terrible. However, if I could have tried other things like epidural injection I would have. I tried oral steroids which didn't do anything. I had lost feeling in my left leg and also strength. I was in an urgent situation. I did have the surgery because my non-surgical options ran out.

    It didn't help. I actually herniated a 2nd piece (or they may have left the 2nd piece behind b/c it's tough for them to see fully). I had a 2nd microdiscectomy (called a revision). It's helped a little but not a cure all.

    I've known other folks that had the same surgery and they were good for anywhere from 1-11 years before needing another surgery.

    My personal opinion is conservative. The back is one that requires patience and consistency. But, that's a very general statement.

    Things to consider:
    - what other options have you tried?
    There is physical therapy, NSAID (anti inflammatories), Medroldose steroid step pack, prednisone, Epidural injection.
    - how long has teh pain been there?
    Typically doctors like to try to treat it non-surgically for 4 months
    - How bad is the pain? where is the pain? Do you have any numbness or tingling?
    - What alternatives has your doctor discussed with you?
    - Did you get a 2nd opinion on how to treat your situation?

    I say this because most surgeons base the recommendation on the MRI and the Patient's story or history.

    I can't tell you the right answer but I can give you things to think about.

    If you do opt for the surgery, I can also offer my experiences on recovery (both were very different which tells you that there is no single answer).

    Good luck
    (Oh, and welcome!)
  • Thank you for the feedback. Issue found by MRI. Been going on for about 6mos. Have tried patches, 2 epidural injections, vicoden, neurotin, naprosin, and several pt visits. Have an appt with Pain mgmt coming up but do not want to be stuck on meds forever.

    Pain is left side from back to foot. Tingling, stabbing pain, knotted up, jerking, locking up, numbness and more. Life is not kind right now!

  • Hi,
    Another option would be to seek out a Sports Medicine doctor who treats backpain using non surgical techniques. They can be helpful. You could try Prolotherapy before surgery, the risks are a lot less than surgery with better success. I'm currently using Prolo with great improvement so far. Search "Prolotherapy Lecture" on Youtube for a primer on it.

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