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Might have to have another back surgery and im only 19?

alyssachataalyssachat Posts: 11
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:50 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
When i was 15 i started having numbness and pain in my legs after 3 years of trying to find out what was wrong we finally found out i had a herniated disc. I tried physical theraphy and it was unsucessful. After that i went to the doctor to find out the only thing left to do was a lumbar discectomy. Im now almost seven months post my surgery and im still feeling pain in both my back and my legs. I went back to the doctors yesterday and was told im going to need a fusion. Being my age im very scared to have the surgery considering my first one did not work to well. Can anyone give me any comforting information? maybe a surgery you had that succeed? or may be that this is a bad idea?

ANY information or in put would help!



  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,868
    but perhaps only a few personal observations.

    First, it is very difficult to realize that at a young age you can be troubled by spinal problems and need to have surgery to correct it. Was there any one situation or incident that you can point to that might explain how you herniated your disc?

    There are so many back conditions and there are just as many various treatments to help. I would be curious as to the diagnostic tests you had done before you have the surgery. There are so many conservative treatments to work with. To me, everyone needs to exhaust all of them, maybe not even once but twice before going the surgical route.

    But, not fully understanding your situation, many times immediate surgery is required. One good thing that is on your side, is your youth. That alone can help with any recovery and the ability to get back as much as you can is there.

    Considering your age, I think if I where in your shoes, I would want to know more from your doctor as to why they want to do another surgery.

    What are the Pros and Cons to having it done or not done.

    I think it might be very warranted that you seek a second opinion. It would always be more comforting to know that there were two qualified professional doctors that reviewed your situation and came away with the identical action plan.

    When things get really frustrating and out of control, always know you can stop by here and talk about your situation.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • So sorry you are having such trouble so young.

    I agree w/ Ron a second opinion is good, it might also be prudent to have another MRI at this point.

    good luck
  • I, too, am so sorry you are having such trouble at your age. I started having trouble at your age but of course back then back surgeries were a real last resort option. I still think they should be so you are doing the right thing questioning this.

    None of us will tell you if it is right or wrong because we don't know your medical history, however, what many of us can tell you from experience is that the lumbar area of the back is very tricky and surgery is a slippery slope so you want to do your homework and explore all options before committing to a fusion.

    I say that because I opted against a fusion (my microdiscectomy failed) because at age 41, I felt I was too young. Not all doctors agreed with me. In fact many made it seem like fusion would be the cure all. But like you, I was scared. I let that help me do research so that I could ask the right questions. In doing that, I realized what doctors were listening to me and which ones weren't. I even taught my husband that things aren't always as 'simple to fix' as they appear with Lumbar issues.

    Again, fusion may be the option for you and many have them that are successful. But successful doesn't mean back to normal 100%.

    If you can share a little more background on why the doctor is recommending fusion and what alternative he recommends if you decide not to have the fusion, we can probably give you some "food for thought" in regards to how to move forward with your decision.

    I just want to commend you for standing up for yourself and questioning surgery. It is your body and your life. Doctors are human too so most of them can appreciate your concern and desire to make sure you are have no regrets with this decision.

    If they do not appreciate it, move on to the next doctor.
  • Can you share what specific kind of microdiscectomy you chose? What approach did the surgeon use?

    I'm guessing you've had post-op MRIs and/or CT scans of your lumbar spine?

    Did they do something called a discogram before the microdiscectomy?

    If you can make it happen, by all means consult with many different spine specialized surgeons. Don't color their opinion by informing them of other surgeons' opinion.

    Unfortunately, you are now saddled with the task of becoming knowledgable about spine problems. It will be worth your while however.

    There are alternatives to fusions. There are these things called ADRs. Artificial Disc Replacements. One example of the latest greatest technology is the spinal kinetics M6.

    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • yes i did have post mri's of my spine
    and im having a discogram this week
    we went and got a second doctor to look at my mri's and all and he said i should get cortisone shots first and see how that works and if not i should get the spial fuscion they reason why the say i should get it is because i have bad disc on the lower part of my back L4-L5 and the one after that
  • What on earth is that (never heard of it)? PT has reduced my pain significantly, so I'm not contemplating surgery (never will). Just curious. Thanks. Essmoe
  • what is what?
    and PT did not help me because it was too late!
  • Hey alyssa your not alone. I am only 18 years old and have had two back surgeries already. I had a discectomy on my l5s1 on august 16 2010 and some how it re herniated and just got another discectomy on february 9th 2011. My doctor also said I was looking at getting a fusion. But he said to try the discectomy again. So far I think its going to work this time. I feel better than I did last time. I dont have much disc left though. But I really dont want to get a fusion. You should try to ask if you can get another discectomy. It would be alot easier on your body. I hope everything goes well for you with anything you choose to do.
  • im so glad there is someone my age going through the same thing. I cant stand not being able to go out with my friends and do things because within 30 minutes im in pain. This is even affecting me in school and with picking a college. Its just soo frustrating.
  • Oh yes, tmdb101 brings up a great point. Why not retry to discectomy?

    I had a microdiscectomy at L5S1 in Aug'09 and really got no relief and was doing worse. I went for the revision. I have very little disc left but so far it's holding. I've had to adjust my lifestyle a bit but I would have had to do the same with a fusion.

    Also, I think essmoe is asking "what is Spinal Kinetics M6?" that Paul mentioned in his reply. I've never heard of that either.

    Anyhow, glad you are trying the shots. I do hope you get some relief.
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