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Second disc/lami on same level?

SteveCSSteveC Posts: 63
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi All,

Very short history. Disc/laminectomy on my L5-S1 left side. Worked like a charm, although my back would often get "tired" and much to my annoyance I had to stop doing some of the more intense weight training activities.

Recently my pain doc treated me for a "Disfunctional SI joint" on the left. He gave me locals and I also take Mobic. Seems to be working.

Last week I got a bit of a stiff back after doing some stuff around the house (nothing crazy). I thought I would be able to sleep it off with some Soma to help out. Friday-Sunday I was in active pain, peaking at a 7-8. This was Percocet level pain. (Last time I took Percocet was 14 days after my op). Walking is incredibly painful and my 5 minute walk to work from the metro is now taking 15. My pain is now down to a constant 5 and I am taking Mobic 2x and Skolaxin or Soma regularly for some major muscle spasms. The NP just perscribed me Trumbal (?).

The MRI this morning (to my eye) shows a disc bulge which appears pronounced on the right at the L5-S1 level. Easy to see, as the laminar on the left side is not there. I can't tell if there are any cysts or arthroses. I will go back to the doc for a round of locals in my SI in a week and depending what he sees in my MRI, perhaps an epidural.

Way back when I first saw my surgeon he noted the potential for a problem on the right, but said he wouldn't address it pre-emptively and a double lami could cause issues with spinal stability.

I know I am jumping the gun here. But, I feel I know where this will end up, it's just a matter of when. My big question...can you have a discectomy/laminectomy on both sides at the same level?

Thank you for reading and in advance for your insight.



  • I can't answer your question, but wanted to say that I hope your doctor can help you with the pain.

    Let us know how you're getting on, and I hope someone here can answer your quetion.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • I don't have the answers but I would imagine stability of the spine would be the issue, as your doctor said. Can you call him and ask the question? Also, is there any information on the web about discectomy/laminectomy on both sides at the same level?

    Wish I could be of more help. Sorry for your suffering!


  • Yes, depending on the strength of your facet joints and structural integrity of the surrounding levels, you can. I have no lamina on L5 and a 1/8" "bridge" left of L4. My spinous process ligament was left intact with the tip of L5 and L4 spinous process left inside the ligament. The "bridge" at L4 was left simply to provide stability to the ligament and to avoid the immediate necessity to fuse two levels. I asked my NS if this left me more vulnerable to being injured if struck in the back. He said that with the amount of muscle and ligaments in that area, it would take an amount of force equivalent to that which would compromise a normal spine.

    I have had incredible relief from this and am grateful that he did not fuse even when his colleagues recommended it. This was done in 2005 and I have put a lot of stress and strain on my lower back and it holds up fantastically.

  • Lotus, Trish and Haglandc, thank you for your kind thoughts and insight. I did search the web and couldn't find a whole lot of information on a second (bilateral?) procedure, but what I did find said it depended how much of the lamina was removed in each case. I did put a call in to my neurosurgeon, but haven't had a response yet (only 2 days afterall).

    In terms of pain, it has decreased a lot, just on ibuprofen now. I take a Tramadol when I get home, more to try and help me be able to stand and sit normally than due to active pain. Mildly euphoric, and it makes me feel slightly nauseous, but I can function and only slur a little bit! Of course plenty of muscle relaxers around the clock, cold pack and heating pads.
  • So glad the pain is no so raw at the moment. Haglandc seems to have an answer to your initial question which is good. Just need to see what the Doc says. I hope you get help soon.

  • Well I got the MRI back and sure enough there is a bulge which has gotten worse over the last 2 years and some atrophy of a couple of the "deep muscles". So presumably the course of my recent distress was the bulge doing some nerve rubbing.

    The good news...the nerve is not trapped and there is no evidence of lamis being able to impinge on the nerve, also the DDD has not gotten worse in 2 years. So, for the moment no surgury needed, although we know with backs that can change in minutes.

    I am seeing a chiropracter now who is very copetant (and recommended by my spine/pain doc) and he said he can help out some alignment issues and the muscles, but the bulge is likely there to stay, but he may be able influence its progression. He believes he can also help the SI joint. Other great thing, he didn't check to see my insurance coverage and then plan my treatment around that! twice a week for a monthish, followed by 2 visits the next month and after that maybe once a month as needed.

    THe doc gave me another shot in the right SI joint and told me that typically your body wants balance, so my R side got jealous of the shots. He has scheduled me for a tentative epidural if needed (my decision). I now have Mobic and a tonne of Skelaxin and Lidoderm patches (he offered me Flector but they are $150 with insurance). He also gave me a Medrol dose pack, to be taken at my own discretion if I have troubles during a 2 week trip to Europe.

    I am of course still concerned as I do notice some feelings which remind me of the prior problems, little bit of tightness in my sacral spine area (could be my SI though).

    Thank you for all your help and support :)
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