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Why surgery very last reserve??

Hi there. I want to know why the doctors say that the surgery should be the last reserve? If you have a breast cancer is stage 1 you remove it ASAP. If you have have pneumonia u treat it ASAP. Why would you want to wait u too last minute to fix a a a k with surgery. Lets say in my case: bulging l5s1 at age of 23. Wouldn't it make more sense to treat is surgically while I'm still young rather than waiting until it completely degenerates and ruptures completely when I am older and possibly have more issues with health? I mean I think I need not only treat pain but also kinda fix the disk, right? If you can. Please provide your opinion and expertise!!



  • The only opinion I will give you about that is if you want to have the surgery then keep going to doctors until you find one that will do it. However, in my experience, their first question is what other forms of treatment have you tried? Find a Neurosurgeon that will help you.
    36 yr old with one degenerative disc (L5-S1)
    3 rounds of Epidurals in 2013
    6 PT visits in 2013
    Microdiscectomy L5 S1 on 9/5/2013.
    Re-herniated in January 2014.
    Epidural on 3/3/14.
    A/PLIF (L5-S1) 6/3/14
  • some insurance companies will not cover the surgery until all other treatments have been tried.also back surgery is alot different than other surgeries, your spine has to support your weight your entire life.
  • My back surgeries were not a last resort. I always had choice, surgery or steroid injection. I only had to do PT one time that was back in 2008 before I had my first MRI I always choose surgery. My fusions were successful. I wouldn't change it for nothing.
    Discectomies 05/08 and 04/11, fusions L4-5 Feb 9,2012 and L3-L4 June 28,2012, Staph infection washout 3/2/2012, Bulged L5-S1. SCS trial on January 17th, 2014, which was a success! Permanent SCS on February 20th.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
    Here are just some of the highlights:

    - Detailed medical libraries of Articles and Videos that address almost every Spinal Conditions and Treatment

    - The Wellness section contains articles, tips and videos to help patients after surgery and also to help people avoid surgery.

    - Under the Resource tab, there is a section Doctor Advice Health Center which can be invaluable.

    - As a bonus, Spine-Health provides these patient forums. Here is where you can meet thousands of other people who understand and can relate to your situation. You will soon become part of the Spiney family who provide comfort and the advantages of a Support System. You are now part of this family that is approximately 20,600 International members and growing daily.

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    Here are some you should take a look at:
    Read before you post
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    All of this will help make your threads better and improve the times and quality of responses you will receive.

    If you have any questions or need assistance, you can use the Private Message facility to contact any one of the Moderators on my team:






    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • odouglassoodouglass Posts: 264
    edited 09/27/2013 - 5:40 AM

    My surgery was only done after trying the other non-surgical options because insurance required it. However, we always knew (doctors) that due to my condition we would do surgery. I could've waited to get a little older to do it or do it at 25 and get it done with so I could live a normal life and have kids earlier. Therefore, I went through with it with the confidence from my neurosurgeon that it would prove successful! :)

    Olivia Douglass
    MIS TLIF L5/S1 on 5/1/13
  • for a bulging disc and it is difficult to know if in fact, the bulge is the source of pain. A bulge, depending on it's location, severity and your position anatomically at the time of the imaging is all very relevant in making a determination of whether or not surgery is an option or not. It would be terrible to go ahead with just a finding of a disc bulge only to go a head with surgery and then find out that the surgery did not address the cause of the pain.
    You can have a bulge in a disc simply because you lay wrong during the test, or it can only be present while you stand, and not while you are laying down. A bulge can be very minor in that it is not in contact with any spine nerves or thecal sac, and therefore not be the cause of the pain.
    DDD Resources



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