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Surgery - Yes or No???


To cut a long story short I'm 33 years old and I have a sequestered disc L5/S1 with nerve impingement also present is a disc bulge also impinging on some nerves. My symptoms have improved over the last 4 weeks but I have required 4 days in hospital for pain management at the start of the flare. In the last year I have had 3 months off work sick. I saw my consultant yesterday who offered a operation or injection. He also said that I should make a full recovery after 2+ years. I'm active and want to return to running and exercise. My question is and I know nobody has the qualifications to make a reccomendation. But from people's experiences should I have surgery or not??? All advice welcome and greatly appreciated :-)


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    Only You , your family and your doctor can determine the best route.

    From my experience, I would want to try all the conservative treatments once, perhaps twice before going for surgery.
    But, the fact that you have a disc impinging on a nerve root tells me surgery will be required.

    I would ask your doctor, the pros and cons of having or not having surgery.

    Many people go a long time, perhaps a lifetime living with a herniated disc. The bigger problem comes when the nerve
    root is in question. If the nerve is being damage, it may take longer to heal than the actual disc surgery.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • From this site is that surgery is not done for pain relief, it's done to fix a "hardware" problem if you will. If you get pain relief, that's a bonus. So you might want to talk with your doc about realistically, can you expect pain relief?

    I agree with Ron about making sure you have tried every non-surgical solution first.

    Finally, I would listen to what your gut is telling you. Mine says it would not be a good idea for me, though my Ortho thinks I should have it. I did go to the Nero he recommended, so I could make an informed decision, & he said he won't touch me with a 10-ft pole, so that's that.

    Good luck with your decision, we will support you no matter what.
    We can't always control the cards we are dealt in life, but we can control how we play the hand
  • StardustSStardust Posts: 2
    edited 04/08/2014 - 6:42 PM
    I have been diagnosed with L5-S1 slipped pinching the nerve and causing pain to both legs when walking and standing. this has been a ongoing issue for some 20 years and just now found out why. meanwhile i have had a right knee replacement done due to osteoarthritis and the left knee still needs done but is tolerable at this time but my other issue now is my left ankle is extremely painful when walking. i do not know which way to go first. making a appointment now for a foot/ankle ortho to see what the problem is there. any ideas ??

    Duplicate post please follow link


    Post Edited by Liz The Spine-Health Moderator Team
  • Thanks for your replies guys. I am in the position if having choice which is good. I have consulted with many professionals and the overall response is to opt for surgery. My gut tells me this is the right thing to do. I have tried one year of training my core muscles exercising in moderation and things just keep getting worse. I'm not a fan of the steroid injections as this just masks the problem rather than treat the underlying disc problem. My consultant was on the fence and said it was my choice. I guess it's time in will save having the operation and the damage that the impingement may be causing to my nerves. Cheers guys
  • I know for me, my first surgery was due to a broken vertebrae and after my first surgery I had pain. I did do injections which made a huge difference. I did have to have a second surgery due to my spinal cord contusion not healing but my surgeon said that she would NEVER do a surgery because of pain and I am in pediatrics. Since there is a risk if worsening this pain post surgery she said to never risk it. So try the injections and any other pain relief things because surgery in your case could make your problem worse. Plus I live with pain daily- high pain.
  • it sounds like your consultant is offering you a fusion ?? that sound a bit drastic when a less invasive operation may reduce your problems .I would get another opinion .if you have neurological problems like leg pain /weakness foot problems bladder/bowel problems then an operation is the only option but a fusion is a massive operation and the people that I know that have had it done are all still in pain including myself .I feel for you because I was once an active person but now the constant pain has me in a recliner 24/7 get some advice for another consultant please ..spinal operations are no fun and hell to recover from and if you get the wrong consultant on a bad day ..ITS YOUR LIFE my friend a bad day for the consultant and a life of pain for you ..please think about that before you do anything .if you think about it .spine health is a massive pain site and this is just one site of many ..you don't want to be a regular on here if you can avoid it ..and that's nothing again spine health I am just looking out for you ...remember spine surgery is a last resort with many life long problems ..many of us on her are on our 2nd 3rd or even more surgeries because the first one started to go wrong a few years after it was done and when you get to your 2nd 3rd you know your in trouble .if you definitely require surgery find the best person for the job and make sure he/she is not over doing your surgery ...a fusion ..if that's whats on the table sounds too much to me ..but that's only my opinion
    good luck
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
  • Hey tony, thanks for your input it's appreciated. Luckily it is not a fusion that I've been offered but a discectomy. There is no chance I would go for a fusion as I've heard nothing but bad things about them. I'm hoping this minor operation will resolve my problems and I can get back to business. I'm positive this will put an end to the back ache I've had for years and the debilitating nerve pain I've had on and off for a year. Thanks again Marc
  • I am of the opinion, that when it comes to nerve impingement that surgery that can relieve the compression then it should be done, sooner rather than later....that gives the nerve the best chance of recovery.......the longer you wait, and the more the compression lingers, the potential for a negative outcome becomes more likely.
    I hope that the discectomy works to relieve your pain and that you find yourself back in the land of the living very soon. Just make sure to follow the post op restrictions until your surgeon clears you.......too often we see those who jump right back into doing things they were doing before they had the surgery or injury and wind up reherniating because they fail to follow the post op instructions.
  • Best of luck to you in your surgery! We'll see you in the the surgery recovery forums where I will remind you about those post op restrictions!
  • backache99backache99 Posts: 1,338
    edited 04/14/2014 - 7:01 AM
    I am happy that you are NOT going for a fusion a laminectomy or discectomy is a much smaller operation and if you have a half decent consultant you should make a very good recovery .I first operation was a discectomy and I made a good recovery and it would have been better if done today {I had open surgery so I have a 6 inch scar down my back }no they do it laparoscopically most of the time and you should have a just a small scar ..good luck
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014
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