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is microdiscectomy worth it ( Risk vs Results)


What is your opinion about microdiscectomy ..

is there serious risks as the open surgery to hurt the nerve ??

are the results good??

can we say that microdiscectomy is best surgerical option until now ?


  • catfishmanccatfishman Posts: 185
    edited 10/24/2012 - 4:00 AM
    i am not familiar with your condition, but that is what was recommened for me about a year ago. i have not gotten it done, because i have a physical job, and i have not heard of to many successfull outcomes, especially on here. it seems everyone reherniates, gets another microdiscectomy, then needs more surgery. i would love to get the operation if it was a for sure fix, but i know there are no gaurantees.
  • I had one 7 months ago and have had a hard time recovering, BUT I had a pretty serious situation with a piece of the disc breaking off and lodging right into the nerve. Lots of damage that will take another year possibly to heal up and I may still have some pain left after that. I'm disappointed as to where I am at, but also I made a lot of stupid choices to mess up my back in the first place. I was at a 9.5 (feels like a bear mauling my leg) out of 10 on the pain scale when I screamed my way all the way to the ER. So surgery sounded damn good to me. And yeah, it will probably reherniate one day but not because of the surgery but because of genetics and lifestyle. If I can live with less pain and more functionality until that day because of this surgery, I would call it a success.

    I know at least 5 people personally who have had a discectomy and it worked 100% for them. Some of them were normal at just 3 months recovery. The success rate is quite high. Just remember that the reason most people are on these types of forums is because the surgery probably didn't work for them. The other 90% of people that had successful surgeries aren't going to be posting. I just wanted to point that out because I'm not sure you will find a fair answer on here as to whether you should have one or not.

    So I guess my answer to your question is how much pain are you in and how much does it affect your life? If you are miserable, I think surgery is a worthy consideration. Also, have you done physical therapy? Physical Therapy probably would have helped me more if I had gone much sooner than I did. There is also a good book called "Foundation" with back strengthening exercises. That helped me a lot to realize how I was bending and lifting incorrectly.

    The surgery seems pretty safe. I think that said there was only a .01% chance of nerve damage due to the surgery itself.

    Good luck! Perhaps one day someone will come up with a better solution and we can shut down this forum.
  • My husband had a microdiscectomy 23 years ago and has not required further surgery.
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • My sciatica got so bad I could not sleep through the pain. No positioning gave relief. I am 7 weeks post-op today. It has not been all roses, but I blame myself. I have been pushing too hard. But even my bad days post-op are less than half of a bad day pre-op. Maybe even less than a quarter. So so far so good for me, recovery is slow but it is happening!
    L5S1 REMOVED herniation. Years of pain & compression. Microdiscectomy complete!! Trying to be super smart & safe with recovery!
  • Surgery on back is major surgery (micro only means smaller incision and less disruption to the muscles).
    There are many other options prior to surgery - PT, anti inflammatory, rest, ESI/injections, Steroids, etc.
    As for as my result?
    I had no choice. I ruptured a disc that instantly brought my pain to a 10 (didn't realize it was a 10 at the time) and I lost feeling in my groin, buttocks, left back leg, and left foot. They were worried I'd have bowel/bladdar nerve damage and that an epidural shot would do nothing.
    Risks? Yes, you can get worse, they can hit a nerve, they can leave disc behind, surgery creates scar tissue that could adhere to the nerve, etc.
    Success? Really depends on your situation. I know folks that have had success. For me? It took a revision to get any relief and while my pain is now manageable, I never got feeling back and still have pain. It helps leg pain predominantly. So even with my situation, I still can say I got relief after the revision Microdiscectomy.

    It is not a decision to be taken lightly.
  • I am 8 days today after my MicroD surgery. Feel pain when I sit on a chair too long or at the time when I am getting up to an upright position and in the first few steps of walking, but overall I am standing more straight then ever before. I feel that my back is even overreacting in an extreme lurdoze positioning ......... Like the piece of the ruptured disk the surgeon cut off was so big that now there is nothing to withhold the position of my spine. So this is a big gain for me and definitely a good result.
    Cons: I had bowel movement problems right after surgery, couldn't go to the bathroom for a few days and felt bloated and uncomfortable every time I eat a meal. And now It's the opposite ............ I am afraid to walk too far away from home in the morning. Has nobody experienced some similar post surgery effects ?

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