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Left L5/S1 Decompression & discectomy

JoeyJJoey Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi, I'm new to all of this, I am booked for surgery in the next few weeks and am very nervous about going in for this operation, I would be very thankful if anyone can let me know how there recover is now after having their operation. The last posts that I have read are September 2009, I have severe pain in my back, I have had 2 epidurals last June, but they seem to have made everything worse, The spasms I am now getting are so severe that I am unable to sleep anymore, I have numbness in my groin area, nerve damage in that I have no feeling in one side of my foot and 4 toes,
I am just so very depressed now , I am continuously taking nurofen and any pain killers that will releive the pain, Any advice would be grateful,


  • Here is a response of mine to wildfire,

    Between it and my signature should give you a good idea of my experience.

    There are no guarantees, but sounds like you are ready for op. Make sure doc is good one and highly recommended. I am glad I did it. Recovery is slow and everyone is different. I did well I think.

    To Wldfire:

    Good Luck,
    I had similar surgery, dead center not to side. Details in signature.

    My doc was young too, but good.

    Read up on things you need post op. For me, essentials:

    Toilet booster seat, shower seat, walker, cane, medical bed rented for one month, grabber (one upstairs/one down), sock donner. If you are alone get stuff to reachable level and you will need some help for a few weeks. BTW, I could get up steps first day athome. slowly. But, used medical bed downstairs to minimize trips up and not bother wife. But, I laid in it a lot with back raised some to watch TV during day. You won't want to lay, stand, or sit for long periods. I did doze off during day on ocassion, and that helped recovery, I think. If you are on one floor no problems.

    My sciatica was gone after surgery, it was bad due to crushed nerve.


    Bad pain for one month then subsiding week by week. Occasional backwards steps on pain in second month. Thought I did something wrong. Just part of process even after seven months. One step forward, half back.

    By start of third month significant gains and off heavy meds.

    Getting out of bed in morning rough, need to log roll as much as possible.

    Don't follow me, follow Doc and PT. But, I quit PT cause they wanted too much too soon. I just walked and did each day/week a little more of my normal round the house stuff. No bending straight down or twisting. But after a couple weeks I did start squatting a little more in light cleaning. Yes, I am male but help wife a lot around house. So, although not in PT, not sedentary by any means.

    Fusion is starting to look good at 6 mos and should be fused at 12, hopefully.

    If surgery done right, it is very hard to damage rods/screws.

    Best decision I made. Lots of days now with no/minimal pain. Nothing to even think much about. Still get a little sore if I overdue. I have done for a couple months now mowing, trimming with gas trimmer, and light garden cleanup for this fall. Like cuting down and bagging perennials.

    Be positive, The first couple weeks I wondered why I did it. But, then remembered for a year before, pain was enough to want to get the knife and do it myself. lol

    You will be fine, positive attitude.


    L5-S1 Decompression and Interbody Fusion 12 April 2010 with Rods and Screws. L5-S1 were partially self-fused and had to be separated. Crushed nerve. Lots of bone removal.

    All comments are personal and non-professional.

    * reply
  • Hi Ken,

    Thanks for taking the time to reply, hope you are doing well and your recovery is successfull,

    Take care

  • Hi Joey...I can relate to the pain and numbness. When I herniated my disc, I lost feeling in my groin (perineum), left back thigh, and left foot (the heel to the outer toe). I also lost a lot of strength in my leg.

    I'm not sure exactly if the procedure I had was the same. I actually had a MicroDiscectomy which I believe is similar to your surgery but incision is smaller. They basically go in, cut away some of the lamina (bone),cut away the disc that came out of the spinal column and free the nerve. My surgery lasted about 2 hours (but I think the actual procedure was 45 mins).

    My advice is take the surgery seriously. The surgeon may or may not be intense on the recovery but when he says "No bending, twisting, or lifting" listen. This means even being careful to avoid driving for a couple of weeks.

    I had to have the surgery twice (I re-herniated so they did a revision). I learned a lot that I wish I would have know before the first surgery as I suspect it might have helped me to avoid the reherniation.

    - Do not bend, twist, lift
    - Do not sit/sleep in recliner. I found them comfortable BUT they do not provide lumbbar support which is so important. I recommend sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees or on your side, with a pillow between your knees
    - Do not sit for extended period of time..save this for "meals" for the first 6 weeks and keep it to 15 mins.
    - once release from hospital (and under doctors direction), it's good to get up every 1.5 hours to walk for about 10-15 mins. It keeps your core muscles strong and helps avoid scar tissue tethering back to the nerve.
    - I installed a small 2 foot handicap bar in our bathroom to help raise/lower me on the toilet. You can get one at local pharmacy.
    - Gripper! They are sometimes called Gophers or whatever but it will be the best investment b/c you won't believe how much you drop stuff until you can't bend to pick it up
    - drink lots of water, eat fiber based food.
    - If you sneeze/cough...prepare yourself as best possible and keep stomache muscles tight...but don't worry too much because you really can't do too much damage.
    - stay on top of the pain meds but wean off per your doctor's orders
    - when concerned, call your surgeon...don't wait for the post follow up.

    If I can think of more I'll let you know.
  • Hi Joey. I am sorry for your pain.. I went through 6 years of hell before I had l4/l5 and l5/s1 fused in 2002 when I was 32 (after 3 other back surgeries). You will be happy to know that in 2004, I had my first child and 18 months later, I had child number 2. I am now 8 years post op and so grateful that I went through with the surgery. I agree with everything said above.. listen to your doctor, do what they say, do your PT ( I got permission to do pilates and it helped ALOT!) and allow yourself ample time to heal (I was home from work for 10 weeks).. Im not going to lie... the first 3 weeks suck. But once you get through that, it only gets better. You WILL get your life back. You will be able to do all the things that you used to be able to do. Just make sure to ask LOTS of questions from your doctor, find out how many of these they have done ( a young doctor just out of training is OK as long as they are FELLOW trained and have done a lot of these themselves.. not just assisting the attendings).
    Good luck to you.. if you have any questions, please pm me.. Ill keep you in my prayers!
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