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"Redo" Discectomy

ponner1uspponner1us Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi All,
I'm new here, so here's my story. In late October/early November of 1999, at the age of 26, I had a "major" herniation at L5/S1, so severe that I was barely able to walk. It came on suddenly with no injury and progressively got worse. I had a discectomy performed and was pretty much back to normal, very successful and I was very happy with the results as I was 99.9% "cured" with occassional minimal back pain (no leg pain) which would resolve on its own after a day or two. 12 years later, beginning in the middle of August, the leg pain (sciatica) began to reappear. I had an MRI done which showed a moderate reherniation at L5. I went through 2 epidurals and PT with no relief. The pain was bad but I was able to walk and "live with it," but I didn't want to deal with it forever. So I saw an ortho surgeon who performed a "redo" discectomy this past Tuesday, November 8. The surgeon said there was much more material herniated than the MRI showed but that surgery went very, very well. At first, that night, no pain, probably because I was loaded up with narcotics. Then Wednesday, minimal pain, not too bad. Then yesterday, moderate pain, beginning to hurt a bit. Now today the pain level is back to where it was pre-op, in exactly the same places, starts in right buttock and radiates down to behind my right knee. I don't have a follow-up appointment until the 30th. Any thoughts on what I'm experiencing? The first surgery the only pain I experienced post-op was at the incision. Is there any hope left that the 2nd surgery was successful? I'm 38yo and really, really scared, I cannot live with this pain for the rest of my life..... Sorry for the novel-length post.


  • to spine health, and to the other side of surgery. We are glad you joined us, this is a great site for support.

    You are very early out from surgery. Alot of time it can take a few days to feel the real affects as during surgery alot of meds are added that can numb the pain for a few days.

    You were very fortunate to have no pain after your first surgery. It can take a long time to heal and this being your second discectomy on the same level, it may take longer.It was a large herniation and if it was compressing a nerve, that takes time as well.

    Do you have pain medication to take? Try to stay ahead of the pain with your meds, take short frequent walks, resting in between. Be very careful not to do any BLT. The first couple of weeks to months are so important.

    If you are feeling uneasy or have any questions, don't hesitate to phone your surgeon.

    Look forward to hearing more from you, please keep us updated on how you are doing.

    >: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
  • I do have percocet, vicoden, and motrin(800mg). The percocet is the only one that helps. As everything heals gradually, will the leg pain subside? I know everyone is different, I'm just really worried as the results from the 2 different surgeries, so far, are like night and day.
  • is different, but if you had nerve compression, depending how bad it was impinged and for how long, can factor in to how long it will take to heal.

    I know I was told that the nerve heals at a very slow rate (forget if it was 1mm a day/week)

    I know it can be frustrating, especially since this is so different from your first surgery, but a lot of people have had severe sciatica after surgery for quite some time, and then everything starts to get better for them. We all heal differently, and each surgery is different, so definately don't give up hope at this early early stage.

    Hope that your pain resolves for you soon.

    >: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
  • Hey, you are early in recovery. Did you contact you doctor? Maybe you have inflammation from the surgical incision and he can prescribe prednisone or another ani inflammatory. I agree do little walks to keep scar tissue off the nerves and remember it is a revision so perhaps, it will take a little longer if he went in through the same spot.

    The other thing is, di understand your worry about having to live in pain but try to remember that you probably have other options even if this revision didn't help.

    Definitely talk to your doctor either via phone or at you post op appointment and keep a log for yourself so you can easily share what is happening with your surgeon.
  • hey there,

    i have a similar experience although i only did surgery once.

    the first couple days i was more than great, also probably because i was loaded up on meds. the 3rd day after i finished taking my prescription ed drugs i felt the pain come back and within 2 days i was back to the horrible pain that kept me from standing up straight or even walking. (its from my buttocks all the way to my ankle)

    i stayed in bed for a few days and one day i when i stood up it was gone. i saw the doctor the week after and he said it's very likely due to nerve inflammation and gave me so anti-inflam drugs.

    it's now been a month post op and i'm feeling great. hope this eased your mind a little bit.

    *but do see your doctors regarding this and tell him exactly what happened so he can let you know the next steps

    all the best!

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