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Any suggestions on the best surgery route?

medicmommammedicmomma Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello everyone,

I'm going to make this as "Readers Digest" version as possible. I am a Paramedic and have been working in EMS since 1999. September of 2010 I injured my back moving at 400+lb pt. It caused a broad based disc bulge at L5-S1 with a muscle strain. Pain meds, chiro care, care and I was back to the ambulance in a month and a half. In March I was unloading my fully weighted gurney when the safety catch failed and it all fell out with me still holding onto it. Went back to dr and they said same thing. Just aggravated last condition. I got a lawyer and a new dr. It's been 6 1/2 months and new doc calls with new MRI results and tells me that I "significantly herniated L5-S1". He also told me in the office that the x-rays showed Spondylolisthesis. Hopefully I spelled that right. Ive been on Ultram, Lortab, zanaflex, flexoril, and 2 medrol packs. Not to mention two steroid shots and around of TFESI. Dr finally gave me restoril so that I could sleep. He want's me to come into office to talk about surgery options.

Ive heard and read from other people that the microdiscectomy for a herniated disc is pretty simple with a good recovery outcome. But what if he tells me he has to fix the misalignment of L5 S1 also? Does that mean I have to get my lower lumbar fused? Oh, I also have been to physical therapy and have had traction, left crying in pain each time. Any input would help greatly. I want my life back.



  • kudo's to you on your job as a emt! You helped a lot of people I am sure :)
    I also hurt my back working as a CNA at a nursing home. You seem to have done everything that you can avoiding surgery just like I did! :SS

    Have you met with a surgeon or are you waiting to see one? I have had a microdiscectomy, and for me, it didnt work well. For you, it may! I waited a very long time to get surgery done. I was just downright scared to death. :|

    I think that seeing a surgeon will help you weigh the options, and RUN if you go to a doctor that says he/she can completely fix you!!!!! I hope everything works for you, and you can get out of pain.
  • Welcome to Spine Health.

    Sorry that you are going through this.

    I am no fan of Micro Discectomy. I have never had one. If you have spinal instabilty a discectomy probably wont help you in the long run. The instability needs to become stable (IMO).

    I am not sure about ADR, but it may be an option to consider when you talk to your surgeon. Also I recomend that you get at least 1 more opinion from a qualified fellowship trained neurosurgeon. Maybe even 2.

    It is great that you got a lawyer. He should be able to arrange it so that you can get the other opinions. Definately don't rely on the WC doctor for the ultimate diagnosis and treatment.

    Hang in there,

  • I also have a lawyer, and on work comp. It is a big pain in the butt, but I have to do it. They were none too happy to have the surgery approved, and needing to pay for it.

    I know that there are people that did great after the microdisectomy, BUT there are others like me that it didn't work for.

    You can doctor shop, I went to 5 different doctors. I didn't want to find one that said that I would be 100% great after their work! I finally found a great one in Albany NY. I am here if you have any questions about comp, and doctors. :)
  • Hi Laura, welcome. Sorry you are in pain.

    Usually a spondy does mean they want to do a fusion. L5-S1 doesn't move much, but the chain reaction effect is the bad thing about the fusion.

    I am not sure if the X-stop devices are still being used to limit movement.

    Have a look at www.chirogeek.com
    It is a TON of reading, but it has lots of good info if you click the fluorescent color tabs at the top.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
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