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Hello! Help/Advice Required (Aware state surgery)

hotdog_55hhotdog_55 Posts: 1
Hello! My first post here-I will try to keep as short and sweet as possible so as not to bore you!

I herniated L5/S1 disc when I was 13 playing rugby. I had 6 weeks of traction and my pain completely disappeared.

It came back with a bang last November, a full 11 years after my original case. I had some physio again and it subsided but has come back a couple more times – each time leaving me near enough unable to walk and sit/stand in one spot for more than a minute or so.

I went through the procedure I presume a lot of you are accustomed to – MRI, appointments etc. and I am now booked in for ‘minimally invasive aware state spine surgery’ to trim away the parts of the disc that are causing the problem.

My worries / questions are as follows:

1). Has anybody any experience of aware state surgery as I am quite a squeamish person and very very nervous about the actual procedure itself? I have been re-assured by the surgeon that I won’t feel much, but the point of the operation is that I feel the nerve and can let him know when he’s ‘got it’.’ I just wondered if anyone could share any experience of this as I have searched this site and cannot find anything?

2). I am currently able to walk well (probably not run) and am worried that I am putting myself through something unnecessarily. When it ‘goes’ and it is bad it is very bad – unliveable. But could I just have had a bad couple of months and it has now disappeared again for another 11 years like the first time!? I feel a bit strange going for an operation when I am not currently in any pain at all really. My employer is of the view ‘go and get it fixed so you are fit and ready to come back to work’ as they are understandably frustrated I am not at work, but is this view too simplistic? Is it a case of getting it fixed even if not currently hurting is the best thing to do?

3). Finally, some comments on people’s recovery would be interesting. I am 24 and still would like to go travelling properly one day, would like to get better at skiing (been twice) and have a big ambition to get myself fitter than I am now and one day climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Are these expectations (obviously not right away after surgery) realistic?

Obviously a lot of people are on here because they are struggling / had negative experiences but any help / advice people can give me in relation to the above will be much appreciated.



  • Hi Hotdog :wave: & welcome to SH.

    I doubt you are going to like my response ;)

    Everyone is so VERY different. Even if you had a twin brother who had the 100% same issue as you have, both of your treatments, pain etc could very well be different.

    Therefore to answer your questions is a very long reach...

    I have been told if I had this surgery when I first got injured many yrs ago that I would not be where I am at right now. In a wheel chair off & on, always using a cane or walker, never ever not in pain. BUT like I said, everyone is different.

    If I were you, I would go get a second opinion. I would tell this Dr what you told us here and ask him/her if they see you healing to this degree with or without an operation.

    Please do keep us updated :)
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • Hello HOTDOG, I am not a doctor or even close.. But if u are NOT in pain I dont think its worth going through the surgery even though i have had friends do the MED type surgery (MINIUMALLY INVASIVE ENDOscopy) with good success and some say they dont see a difference.. I have had misery for 4 months, then semi normal . but i wil never be normal do work out and carry heavy stuff on my back --etc--etc--.. my father has been told ofr 25 years he needs fusion and never do it.. Like allot of people will say.. if u can live with it dont do it!

    I realize u are only 24.. I also knew someone who suffered sciatica for 1 years, then bam it was gone.. In MY OPINION if u can live with the pain do it, but if u got numbness, loss of feelings(not sometimes), unbearable pain for months, or bladder issues-- THEN U NEED TO CONSIDER sugery.

    good luck and thanks for sharinghg
  • Not sure about this "aware state surgery".
    Something sounds scary to me. Back surgery with an aware state? What does this mean?

    I had a micro-discectomy (2 actually b/c the 1st one didn't work) and they did nerve monitoring on the 2nd one b/c the nerve monitors would tell the surgeon if he was 'upsetting a nerve' or not.

    Anyhow, I dealt with sciatica for 17 years and would have a couple of bad months followed by several good ones. Over time, I had more good months than bad and longer times between the really bad months.

    Only when I got numbness and lost strength did I go for surgery.

    Anyhow it's a personal decision but not one to be taken lightly.
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