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Surgery options?

mamabugmmamabug Posts: 8
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:55 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
OK, the quick breakdown of my back issues: 39 year old woman.
L3-4 a small 2mm protrusion along with a small tear.
L4-5 4mm protrusion, mild Stenosis and moderate facet hypertrophy on the right.
L5-S1 12 mm superior 9mm AP which obliterates the left lateral and impinges upon the nerve root. Also enters the left S-1. Moderate Stenosis.
Arthritis throughout. Severe leg and back pain.
I have been through physical therapy several times.
I currently take a nerve med daily and an occasional pain med.
I have an appointment with a Neurosurgeon next week to discuss surgery options.
I would like to be WELL informed before I agree to anything.
Any advice for me would be great.
Thanks so much.
41 years old. Lumbar Disc, bone and facet joint disease. Osteoarthritis, Stenosis and all the other fun stuff that comes with it.
2011 L-4 S-1 discectomy laminectomy.
2 level ADR planned for late September.
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Comments

  • There is a small surgery called a microdiscectomy; there are different versions of this surgery. In this surgery, they gain access to the herniation and remove the extruded tissue. You keep your disc.

    There are surgeries where you keep the disc, but support structures are placed in the spine.

    There are surgeries to "make room" for the pathology. Bone structures are removed to make room for the displaced nerves. Think roto-rooter.

    There are surgeries where materials are placed into the disc's nucleus.

    Entering into invasive procedures are disc replacement surgeries. The disc is completely removed and replaced by something else.
    This something else could be an "ADR" or artificial disc replacement which mimics the movement of a natural disc.

    It could also be replaced by metal support structures and bone grafts, synthetic or natural. These are generically known as "fusions."

    In the future, stem cell advancements may become options for us, but not quite yet.

    -----------------------------
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Wow - great post, Paul!

    Hi Bug! Welcome to the forum! I'm in a similar situation. But, in my case, the surgery has seemingly become inevitable.

    I would also add to Paul's post that it's a good idea to get a couple of opinions - and even from different specialist fields. Like go to a neurosurgeon, and maybe an orthopedic...if you have a spinal center in your area, that might be a good bet too.

    Spinal surgery is not something to enter into lightly. I've had quite a few other surgeries in my life, but having my spine fixed will be a entirely different ballgame.

    Most (good) docs will try all the conservative stuff first and usually suggest that surgery is postponed as long as you can. But, if you get sudden incontinence or are suffering nerve damage (which it sounds like you are), you might not have a choice in the near future.

    Just make sure you do your research - this site has tons of informative articles and stories - so you can be well-educated when you have your appt with the doc.

    Maybe also write down the questions that come to your mind when reading/researching and bring them with you to your appointment.

    You certainly seem like you're in the right frame of mind by wanting to get information and questions answered!

    Please keep us posted and let us know what the doc said, kay?

    Good luck, hon! O:)
  • i am 16 years in pain {the last 5 being the worst } i can't sleep for more than 2 hours /unable to do normal stuff like walk around a super market for grocery shopping/no social life /no sex life due to nerve damage and feeling ill and in pain all the time .i am waiting for ALIF surgery to help with the pain .my life has gone down the drain since the very first surgey and the last one in 2007 half killed me and left me in a mess i can't even wear normal clothing {i can't stand anything on my legs so i have to wear horrible baggy shorts} i have gone from healthy /slim fit man to a 45 year old wreck .my advice is to ...if possible avoid surgey if you can manage on pain killers /TENS or a combination of both.if you must have surgey then make sure that you find an excellent surgeon that has been recommended and make sure that he/she explains all the possibilities to you and that you are fully aware of them and also think on that in maybe ten years you will more than likely require revision surgery .spinal surgery is not a surgey to be undertaken lightly .i have had a particularly bad experience so my version of events is glass half empty .but you should be aware that it can go wrong and you could be left a lot wore off .sorry to be a so negative .but i would not be doing you any favors to post ..yes have surgey you will be fine no pain and back to work in 2 weeks ! then you will never have to worry about your back ever again ..that would be wrong ..even if you get a good result theres the dreaded epidural fibrosis {scar tissue} this can be as bad as the original reason that you has the surgery in the first place and most people get it as some time post op.
    good luck and ..don't rush in to anything
    tony {uk]
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • I had my appointment with Neurosurgery yesterday and I felt good about everything discussed. He was very thorough, answered my barrage of questions, gave me some options..
    We decided on a microdiscectomy with a bit of bone shaving on the side..lol.
    I'm hoping somebody can help me with one thing,
    we discussed the sewing of disc tears with a special type of "thread" so to speak. I can't for the life of me remember what he called it. Anybody know?
    41 years old. Lumbar Disc, bone and facet joint disease. Osteoarthritis, Stenosis and all the other fun stuff that comes with it.
    2011 L-4 S-1 discectomy laminectomy.
    2 level ADR planned for late September.
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