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What to expect on the day of surgery?

I am curious...maybe anxious is a better word....about what it feels like being put under when you are having a microdiscectomy? What does it feel like when you wake up(medication wise)? What does the incision site feel like, do you feel nothing bc of the meds or something? What about the first time you get up to walk around or use the toilet?

Dont be afraid to tell me if stuff did hurt, I would rather know and be prepared mentally than go in anxious as h*ll not knowing or wake up in terrible pain thinking there would be none.

I know everyone is different. a 10/10 for me might be a 4/10 for someone else and vice versa.

Thanks in advance :)


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    For starters, each:

    • person
    has various variables that all come into play regarding what to expect.

    But overall and in general.

    • 1. They will put you in a bed in the hospital pre-op room.
      2. There they will ask all sorts of questions to make sure you are the right person and having the right surgery
      3. They will take your vitals, and generally the anesthesiologist and surgeon will come in to talk to you and verify everything
      4. They will start some IV's and normally start to slowly sedate you
      5. They will roll you into the surgical room, put you on a bed, talk some more and start to sedate you.
      6. The feeling is one of just about falling asleep, but not remembering it
      7. You will not experience anything during surgery
      8. After surgery you will be put into a recovery room, there all your vitals will be monitored.
      9 When you awake, you will be a bit sore, perhaps confused.
      10. Eventually they will bring you to your room.
      11. I never felt anything around the incision site
      12. Most hospitals want to see their patients get up the first night, but that may differ.
    I am not saying that this are the steps each surgery takes, but these are the most general ones.
    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
  • It hurts like the dickens! Mine was l4/l5 and I thought it felt like a searing pain right in the center of my world. You do not want to lose that pain pump in your bed; keep it close! I thought the meds (I don't care for Dilaudid...makes me barf, Morphine is easier) kept the pain at a reasonable level. When they come in to get you up, it's like "WHAT?" and then, magically, once you get up it really starts to get easier. I was flat on my back and couldn't sit the first day or adjust myself. It's nice if you have someone with you who can help you eat, etc.
    Lumbar laminectomy L-4/L-5, 2006
    XLIF with posterior pedicle screws L-4/L-5, 4-23-2013
  • first you will be introduced to your bed and a full medical history will be taken by a nurse she will ask about any allergies if you're allergic to anything your wristband will be red .you will be nil by mouth on the day of your surgery and as the final hour approaches you will be wheeled down to the OR and seen by the anaesthetist they will insert a cannula in the back of your hand or inside your forearm as this is being done you will be breathing a weak mix of O2 and other medical gasses as the IV drug usually diprivan is given you will be out like a light whilst your asleep your vital signs are monitored and the surgery is performed after surgery you will go to surgery recovery where you will be left to wake up after the staff are happy for you to go back to your room a porter will take you there where you will be monitored intensely for the first day and night you will have your blood pressure /respirations checked and your fluid intake monitored unless there are problems you should not require catheterization and should be up on your feet a few hours after surgery you may have a PCA that a device that gives a controlled amount of a pain killer normally morphine at set times you will be allowed to give yourself the drug as and when you require it but the device is set so you can't OD after a few days you should be allowed home and providing there are no complications you should make a good recovery normally within 3/9 months .just remember its still spinal surgery and its a repair so your spine won't be as strong as it was .report any leg /foot abnormalities /pain to your consultant as this may require attention
  • I was really very lucky, I had my Microdisectomy on July 15 and it really was a piece of cake. Instead of going to the hospital, mine was done in an outpatient surgery center and I went home right after. When waking up following the procedure, I did notice some soreness around the incision site, but nothing terrible. I would highly recommend having the procedure done as an outpatient procedure, preferably outside the hospital.
    microdiscectomy 7-2014
  • I had l4 l5 MD surgery July 14th, and Ron's summary above is pretty much what I experienced. The sedation process works very well prior to getting wheeled into OR and being put under. No anxiety, pain or memory of the time I was knocked out thru the time I came out of anesthesia. Only setback I had was I couldn't urinate after coming out of anesthesia (and was Catheterized 2x and then admitted overnight). I also had a Foley catheter placed in after I was admitted. Most pain I experienced was the catheters being inserted and taken out!!! Incision area hurt a bit and had around same amount of pain in leg prior to op, as well as a bit more numbness and weakness in leg. 3 weeks post op I am feeling much better with pain and leg seems to be getting stronger. Good luck with your surgery!
  • Izzy46 said:
    I was really very lucky, I had my Microdisectomy on July 15 and it really was a piece of cake. Instead of going to the hospital, mine was done in an outpatient surgery center and I went home right after. When waking up following the procedure, I did notice some soreness around the incision site, but nothing terrible. I would highly recommend having the procedure done as an outpatient procedure, preferably outside the hospital.
    I had a very similar experience to Izzy at an outpatient surgery center. I went in with a 9.5 /10 pain level unable to stand, walk or sit upright. I do not AT ALL even remember going into the surgery room or anything until after I woke up in the recovery room. (This was my first time with general anesthesia or surgery, by the way.) I remember a slightly uncomfortable feeling when I awoke...I knew the bed was pressing against a sore spot on my back, but nothing that I would really describe as pain. I was positioned sitting reclined in the bed. After I was alert enough, the nurse had me up and walking around the nurse's station. For the first time in months, I did not hurt at all. I went back to the recovery room, ate some crackers and then took another walk around the area. I got my last dose of pain meds (took pills) and then went over the discharge instructions and rode home sitting quite comfortably. I ate lunch and felt very good the rest of the day. We even went out to dinner that night!

    I know everyone's experience is different, but I thought it was very easy. Unfortunately, I only had 5 weeks of relief and then I re-herniated, even larger this time. I will be undergoing the surgery once again in about two weeks. Hopefully it will be just as easy this time. Good luck and don't let all the horror stories scare you!
    Left leg radiculopathy/sciatic pain
    L5/S1 microdiscectomy - May 30, 2014
    L5/S1 microdiscectomy - Aug 14, 2014
    L5/S1 TLIF - Sept. 24, 2014
    Left-side screws/rod removed along with bone fragment Dec. 29, 2014
  • Ive been offered this surgery as a treatment option by a nero surgeon after dealing with sciatica and tinglibg in my left foot for a year. Ive also been told by 2 orthopedic doctor s that they would not recommend since the l4 l5 disc tear if only about 2or 3 mm. My symptoms generally aren't getting any better after all kinds of different treatment s from epidural injections to chiropractor adjustment s and traction. I guess im a little reluctance to pull the trigger because of 2 orthopedic doctor s not recommend ing surgery at this point.
  • hawk057hhawk057 Posts: 76
    edited 08/04/2014 - 5:02 PM
    Your answers were great and exactly what I was looking for! My surgery is tomorrow at 1pm, need to be at the hospital at 9am so it will be a long day. Guess I had the name of the procedure wrong it is a Laminectomy(which I am told is very similar) Did anyone get nauseous from the meds? My mom is an ambulatory nurse and says I will probably be nauseous once I get home so go light on the eating. The one thing I am nervous about is my reaction to the g.a. I have only had fentanyland versed and that just made me a bit loopy and sleepy but no bad reaction. I just dont want a catheter cuz feel, as guy, nothing should be inserted in that hole :D

    Anyways, thanks again. Still a bit nervous but you all helped :) And good luck Coltsfan78 with yours hope the second time is a success!
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