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More load on other discs after microdiscectomy?

ToxygenTToxygen Posts: 8
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello to everyone on this wonderful site. I have one question regarding post microdiscectomy status. I have a large L5-S1 herniation, responsible for moderate to severe pain in my left leg. The L3 and L4 discs, together with the herniated one are a little bit dessicated (looking more black than the others). I wonder whether they will blow out later if I operate the l5-s1 because of more load getting on them. This is one of my biggest fears of surgery. I welcome any opinion here. Thank you!


  • Of course every case is different, but I will share my situation.

    I herniated L4-L5 may 2007. MRI showd it to be really black (dessicated). L2-L3 and L3-L4 above showed to be good.

    June 2008 I herniated L5-S1 on the left side. MRI showed L2-L3 and L3-L4 were still good.

    4 weeks ago I re-herniated L5-S1 on the left side. I had an MRI yesterday. It shows my L2-L3 and L3-L4 are still good.

    T12-L1 is bulged however.

    (I had microdiscectomies on L4-L5 and L5-S1)
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Hi Paul! Sorry to hear about your herniations. Are you back to normal after the two procedures? Are you pain free?
    Seems that you had problems on the lower level and l4 l5 did not reherniate. God knows whether l5s1 would herniate without the first operation above...
  • Hey there...did you ask your surgeon about this?
    With Fusion, yes, there will be more load on the discs above/below because, in theory, you have 1 less shock absorber.

    I guess on my herniated L5/S1, I blew out the disc. A large herniated piece was out of the spinal column and severely compressing my sciatic nerve (loss of feeling in my butt, left back thigh, and left heel to outer toe and I had lost strength in my left leg).

    I am not sure about your situation but in mine, the disc L4/L5 was showing some degeneration and a little bulging. I had the surgery because I had very little chance of freeing the nerve without the microdiscectomy.

    In my mind the herniated piece of disc was already out of the spine. It wasn't going to go back in.
    So the microdiscectomy posed the risk of not working which meant the disc was bad anyhow. If the disc was bad anyhow, it wasn't doing much to help the level above it.

    I had the microdiscectomy and a revision (I reherniated). My L5/S1 where I had the surgery has very little disc left and it is not the healthiest. The level above is still the same.

    Not sure if I've helped you at all.
    I think it's an excellent question for your surgeon.
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    and welcome to the SH. forums. I have had this happen to me time after time. There needs to be a better way! No one can tell you that this will happen to you. But the probability is there>
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
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