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2 months post revision discectomy

brokenbrianbbrokenbrian Posts: 69
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a discectomy on L5/S1 - revision, and also at L4/L5. After surgery I felt alot better but started to slowly get some numbness which I know is common. The first 4 weeks were great but the next few weeks after I went back to work it started to hurt again. Im sure all that is normal but I it seems lately Ill have a few good days and start to think the pain is slowly going away. Then out of no where Ill have a bad day like today. I didnt do anything today or yesterday to make it worse, but for some reason I am in alot of pain.

Its not as bad as before surgery, but its still pretty bad just different. Its more of an iritated feeling in my leg and a bruised feeling on the bottom of my foot.

I guess my question is it normal at 2 months to still get a good amount of pain? Numbness I would be ok with and wouldn't scare me too much but the pain does scare me. I really dont think I reherniated the disc, but I am alittle concerned that Im feeling this way.


  • Hi Brian,

    Glad to hear you are getting some relief from the surgery. I had a revision as well and honestly, didn't see any results (other than my recovery from the revision was somewhat easier than the original) until about the 3 month mark.

    As for your situation, have you spoken to your doctor? I would say maybe as you increase activity, maybe you need to remember that the pain will increase? The other thing is at work, do you mainly sit? If yes, don't forget to get up and walk around every 45 mins.
  • I have talked to my Dr but so far he doesn't seem too concerned. I do sit at my job but I make sure I get up and walk around, at least an hour a day while I'm at work.

    I have increased activity just by going back to work and I know that it has only been two months. I guess Im just alittle surprised. All the reading I have done it seems like numbness would be normal but I thought the pain in the foot would be gone for the most part.

    Luckily I see the Dr again in 3 weeks so hopefully I will make some more progress by then.
  • 3 months out now and still have alot of pain at times. Sometimes feels almost the same as before surgery, but I have a real bruised or irritated feeling at the surgical site. When I get this feeling in my back is usually when my left foot starts to hurt.

    I told all this too my Dr and he seemed angry. He said by three months I should be doing alot better. He basically repeated that to me 4 or 5 times but didnt give me any help on trying to figure out why I still hurt. Im not sure what to do, I called back a few hours after I got back from the Dr. I had to leave a message but I asked them if they would schedule me for an MRI.

    Waiting to here back from them but what if the dont want to give me an MRI? There plan is wait until Feb. and see me again and see how things have gone. I cant wait that long, and if they dont want to help me the last thing I need right now if to go hunting for a new Dr.

    Any suggestions?


  • Hi Brian,

    Sorry you are not getting better. Yes, I know about the doctor who is perplexed when you tell them the 'surgery is not as gratifying as you keep saying it would be".

    Anyhow, if they do not agree to the MRI...talk to your general practitioner. He might have an easier time ordering it (from an insurance perspective).

  • Sorry that you are not feeling any better at the three month mark.

    I had a discectomy/lami in July and never felt any relief. I knew that something was not right and also asked for a new MRI that they were originally going to do 4 months post op. I ended up having one 2.5 months post op, had reherniated and disc collapsed further. Then had one with dye this month and disc is completely gone, bone on bone and full of scar tissue.

    You know your body, if you don't feel right, let your doctor know your concerns...over and over if needed. Hope that you are able to have further testing. Hope that everything is okay, but if there are issues, at least you will know and a new game plan can be made.

    Let us know how you make out.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Thank you both for the replies. Im hoping for the best but things just dot seem right. I didnt have ant moment, or movement, that makes me think I reherniated, but who knows.

    I'm fairly certain that I can have my GP order me an MRI. I just hope my surgeon will so he can also look over it and see whats going on in there. Kinda sucks, he was such a nice guy the 5 or 6 times I have seen him prior to yesterday. Hopefully he was just having a bad day.

  • Thank you both for the replies. Im hoping for the best but things just dot seem right. I didnt have ant moment, or movement, that makes me think I reherniated, but who knows.

    I'm fairly certain that I can have my GP order me an MRI. I just hope my surgeon will so he can also look over it and see whats going on in there. Kinda sucks, he was such a nice guy the 5 or 6 times I have seen him prior to yesterday. Hopefully he was just having a bad day.

  • FYI, my gp just ordered an MRI for me. My surgery was almost 2years ago so his office felt it was be better, from an insurance perspective to start with GP.

    My gp said he won't "touch me" with meds or any recommendation until he got an MRI. He said with my history, the MRI was a must. Just had it today but I know if something is wrong or if he is not sure, he will send me to the specialist.

    So, you can also have the gp send you back to a specialist ...so you can see your back doctor or different one.

    Good luck.
  • Had an MRI yesterday. Dr emailed me with results and it will be about a month before I can actually see him and ask some questions. I have been doing some research but have a few questions if any one has had similar results maybe the can help.

    I have no new or recurrent herniation. The read out does say stenosis due to scare tissue. And also bones spurs, although Im not sure why the Dr wouldnt have taken care of those when he was in there.

    Other than excersising and healthy eating is there anything I can do to improve. Im about 4 months out now at still in pain, although not as bad as before.


  • Now new herniations is a good thing. Stenosis due to scar tissue might be problematic. Scar tissue tends to cause a lot of grief. I know post op my PT worked really hard with me to have me stretch and eliminate as much as possible having it stick to muscles and nerves. If you were lax on PT, especially lower back stretches, then it just gets to form and stick really well.

    Any comments on the report about tears? Comments about bulges? Touching nerve roots?

    Why he didn't remove bone spurs is most likely that he either felt they were a non-issue or because he did an MIS operation he couldn't get at them. It's the trade off sometimes with MIS. Not a big enough cut to go fishing around.

    The odds of a 2nd discectomy working drop considerably. I'm surprised you were almost 1 year later if the 1st one re-herniated within a couple of weeks. Seems like a long time to wait. When you did re-herniate how badly? Big bulge? Tears? Leaking fluid from the discs? Sounds like you have the same problem all over again.

    In the meantime. Do the stretches you were taught to help get some relief. Don't sit for any length of time. Walk several times in small chunks if you can tolerate it.

  • They didnt say anything about more buldges or tears. And somewhere in the readout it said no nerve root impingement. Is there any way to break up the scare tissue after it has formed so it doesnt aggravate the nerves?

  • Also I waited so long after the first to try more conservative treatment, also I couldnt take more time off work without lossing my job/health ins.

  • i was all set to reply, saying i've done the revision surgery, and herniated the same disc a third time. but your MRI didn't show that. so i doubt i am much help. but i will say, herniating a disc, while having no idea how, is not all that unheard of. i'm still trying to figure out what i did after the 2nd surgery to herniate the disc yet again. one of my surgeons basically said the back wall of the disc was just shot, so it keeps oozing.

    i hope you find some relief from the pain/numbness. i'm sitting on the fence about a 3rd surgery right now. have to see what the doc says on my next follow up. just had the new MRI ,and the herniation is just as bad as it was 11 months ago. sigh.....
    Microdisectomy / hemi-laminectomy 6/2010 and revision 10/2010
    Cervical fusion C4-5 and C5-6 9/2011
    Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 6/2012
  • I hope you find relief from pain as well.

    I had thought of another question and didnt want to make a new thread for it so I will ask here...

    Right now I am at 4 months post up. I have been going up and down in my recovery. I was wondering if it is normal or has happend to others, that you can still aggravate your nerves and feel the leg/foot pain without the nerve being pinched? After my recent MRI I know that there is no impingment. But some days I do get alot of nerve pain like its irratated and other days I feel fine just a little bit of numbness in the foot, but nothing that bothers me too much.
  • I've found that my pain has one up and down, even before the surgery. some days are better, some are worse, and its pretty random which way the pain will go. i know i feel worse, the more walking i do. so activity level can affect things. but in my case i've still got nerve impingement. so i might not be the best source. i will say, i'm 3 months post from a 2 level ACDF right now. my nerve pain for the most part is gone. once in a while i'll get a twinge or two, but its getting less and less frequent. but i haven't gotten rid of the muscle pain in my neck since the surgery. (and i didn't have neck pain before the surgery) so who knows.
    Microdisectomy / hemi-laminectomy 6/2010 and revision 10/2010
    Cervical fusion C4-5 and C5-6 9/2011
    Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 6/2012
  • Hey there...just catching up. Glad you got the MRI! Peace of mind.

    You sound like me...of course I never lost the numbness so my is really around pain levels. My MRI pretty much was was they expected to see for a person with 2 MD's at the same level. My GP recommended I share the results with my NS to confirm that he also thinks there's nothing 'more' wrong.

    The good news for me is the other levels are still holding steady. The lousy news is that the bad level is still just bad - DDD, Modic Type I changes, lots of scar tissue. So I suspect it's all inflammatory pain.

    Anyhow....scar tissue can be pesky! Just a little bit in the wrong place can cause pain. I hope they can find a solution.

    I'm thinking about switching my diet and asking about a physiatrist or PM doctor. Of course, I am managing with OTC meds for now.
  • Well I am only 11 days post-op & feeling a lot of pain in left butt cheek - I called Dr a week ago Friday as after the operation I was still in a lot of pain,they put me on a 6 day prednisone (supposed to be potent style) after day one I got up felt OMG great!!! Then increasingly got worse, I do have follow up today , is there anything else he can try asap?

  • Finally feeling less pain and having more mobility , went for a 2.5 mile walk feels good!
  • I have recently re-herniated L5/S1 nearly 5 years after a very successful microdiscectomy in 2011.  A revision microdiscectomy surgery is scheduled for this week.  I'm a horse woman so I took extreme care after the first surgery, not riding for 12 months and really invested in my rehab and getting strong again.  I wanted to be able to ride horses for the rest of my life.  That served me really well.  I've had 4.5 years of strength and full pain free living enjoying all the activities I love including the horses.  I'm really disappointed that I have re herniated.  I guess I didn't appreciate the weakness I still had in that area of my spine and I got a little complacent and did too much!!  Does anyone have any success stories to share after revision microdiscectomy?  I have intense sciatic pain at the moment and the only thing that seems to be helping is the swimming I'm doing everyday.  Can't sit, walk or stand, spending my life horizontal!
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