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Sequestered disc

Peter WrightPPeter Wright Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi all - new here so hope you can help..

I had a herniated disc 2.5 yrs ago that was treated non surgically and resolved. 4 weeks ago I had a recurrence that left me with no pain but a numb right hamstring and a non functional right calf.

As of today the numbness has reduced a little and plateaued and the calf improved but still less than 50% functional (cannot toe walk)

Todays MRI found a sequesterd disc fragment (large)from L5/S1 in the right paracentral region.

I am being steered towards surgery - my question is that given I have no pain, can I take an alternative route and hope the fragment dries up and releases the nerve OR am I risking permanent nerve damage if I do that.

Anybody who has had similar symptoms - no pain but motor loss please help ?




  • Peter,

    Welcome to Spine Health!

    Many people do well with alternative routes and heal completely.

    Yours is a good question. I'm pretty sure no one is going to tell you that you have to have surgery or that you don't. But I will share my experience

    In 2003 I had the exact same problem and asked the same questions. The doctors answer, "How else is that fragment getting out of there? Might as well fix the disc while I'm in there." He had a point. By the time he did go in it was cozied right up on the nerve stuck but good.

    Now, would it of eventually dried up and let go of the nerve? Where would that little piece of fragment gone if it did? I didn't wait around to find out! And they have made leaps and bounds in spinal procedures just in those 7 years so anythings possible.

    Sorry I can't be of more help. Keep in mind that's just my experience. Do keep us posted. Good LUCK!
  • sorry to hear about that peter. once motor loss enters the picture it becomes of more concern and think it'd be good to have a good chat about pluses and minuses with your doc. good luck
  • My husband blow a disc and had a disc fragment on a nerve,loss of feeling on outer leg and across foot to the big toe the dr asked him if he wanted he wanted surgary and he asked if it would bring back the feeling and the dr said no. When it first blow it hurt but after a few weeks no more pain he had a MRI two years late and the disc fragment was gone.So you never know what can happen the body sometimes take care of stuff it self
  • Thanks all - I am seeing the specialist today and will have to take a view then.Things are further complicated by the fact that we are relocating to the UK in 3.5 weeks so I have to be able to fly...
  • So I spent 2h with the neurologist today and after many nerve tests he recommended surgery and sent me off to the top neurosurgeon. He felt I was on the mend but was concerned about recurrence if I left the fragment in.

    I then went to see the neurosurgeon, who after a further exam said that much as he loved operating, he recommended I did not have surgery - he felt the outcome may be a faster nerve recovery with surgery and motor function back, but that at 12-18 months the result would be the same. He also said the sequestered disc fragment would likely disappear and cause me no further trouble and would pose no risk to me.

    As I had no pain he felt a natural recovery was best

    So a complete about turn for me- the neurologist who I thought would tell me no surgery needed went the other way, and the surgeon himself said to go away and let it heal...

    So there you have it - a sequestered disc fragment with motor function loss and no surgery.

    And for what its worth the SA medical care and surgeons are considered amongst the best in the world.

    Thanks all...

  • That is about the same way it went with my husband
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