Three months ago I had my first one at L4/L5 to relieve sciatic type pain/numbness/tingliness down my left leg and into my foot. It was a success and the surgery wasn't that bad pain or recovery wise.
Two to three weeks into my PT, I began to experience pain in my right buttock and back of my right leg. We (myself, the physical therapist and surgeon) thought it might just be inflamation from doing the PT exercises and so we watched it. After 6 weeks of PT, it wasn't going away. I was prescribed oral steriods and they didn't have much of an effect. We did an MRI and it indicated new herniated discs at the L3/L4 and L4/L5 positions.
The surgeon suggested either more PT incorporating traction or another surgery. I commented that I thought PT caused the new herniations and that when I do my exercises, it makes the pain feel worse. He then suggested surgery. I'm opting for surgery again which may be a cavalier attitude toward it, but I don't have high hopes for PT since I did everything by the book with PT the first time and followed all directives and came out with new herniations.
So my question, the surgeon will be going through the old incision site and expanding it upward about two inches to get to the L3/L4 herniation and he will be removing the pulpus (not sure on the spelling but it is the interior jelly part) of both discs and leaving the anulous to support my back. I had questions about that if it would be enough to support my back and he said it would since I'm not overweight and fairly athletic and eat right. Should I expect this surgery to be about the same on the pain and recovery scale? Will going back into the same site be more painful? In general, will recovery time be about the same? I know everyone is different so there may not be a general consensus, but to hear others' experiences would be helpful.