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Question prior to Microdiscectomy

Hey Everyone,

I’m new to this forum - finding a lot of great information so far. Hoping I might get some advice. My MRI results showed I have a right paracentral disk protrusion L5 S1, with mass effect on the S1 nerve. I also have a posterior disk protrusion and annular tear at L1-2. I do have some sciatica pain, mainly in my glute, with some leg pain. I’ve tried 3 months of PT, chiro manipulations, massage, and injections. Nothing has worked. I’m scheduled for microdiscectomy surgery next Wednesday.

I’m a personal trainer and kick boxing instructor, so needless to say, I need to get this fixed and back on my feet soon (for the sake of my career). I do know it’s going to take time and patience post surgery. My question surrounds the annular tear. My surgeon spoke about the micodisectomy for the L5 S1 issue, but we didn't discuss the disk protrusion and annular tear in L1 -2.

Is anyone familiar with an L1-2 annular tear, and if that’s just something that is not normally repaired with a microdisectomy? I’m heading in for pre-op next Monday, but wanted to take a shot and see if anyone might have some idea on this forum.

Any advice would be much appreciated!
Scott Giles


  • Hi Scott- I just had L5-S1 discectomy, laminectomy, foraminotomy for large herniation that was crushing my left S1 nerve. My initial & second MRI (February 2013 & July 2013), both noted an annular tear. After over 1.5 years of conservative tx, my condition deteriorated very quickly and I was in constant severe pain. The new MRI on 8/1/14 showed that my herniation had tripled in size, causing the nerve compression, & moderate to severe spinal stenosis & narrowing of foramen, but (oddly) did not note the annular tear anymore. I'm not sure why. My surgery was on 8/28 & apparently things had continued to get worse since just since the MRI, as the NS said that, when he got in there, the herniation and nerve compression were much worse than the MRI had shown. So, I know it's not really an answer, but maybe the annular tear has the possibility of healing? Maybe not & it could just no longer be seen on the MRI due to the size or position of the herniation? Then again, maybe with there being such significant worsening noted, the radiologist didn't think it was worth noting (same radiologist read all my MRIs). If you ask you surgeon about it and get an answer, I hope you will post an update, as I'd be interested in the answer too.

    I hope that your surgery went well & your recovery is going smoothly!
    8/28/14 Discectomy, Laminectomy, Foraminotomy L5-S1
    9/15/15 Surgical Debridement of infected surgical incision & drain seroma; wound vac applied
    10/21/14 L5-S1 Osteomyelitis & Discitis; 10/23/14 Bone & Tissue Biopsy = MRSE
  • LC84LLC84 Posts: 599
    edited 09/01/2014 - 3:56 AM
    It really depends on the type and severity of the Annular Tear. The body will attempt to heal the tear by forming scar tissue, this process can take up to 18 months. If the tear is large enough, and there is constant pressure put on the disc ( your line of work could potentially cause added pressure) that can cause the disc to herniate, which is what has happened in my case. I would discuss this with your surgeon before the surgery. He would have to make a larger incision to be able to visibly see that disc. MRI's are a good diagnostic tool but they don't always show everything. Hopefully it's just a small tear that will heal on it's own, but it's definitely worth discussing with your surgeon.

    I wish you luck with your upcoming surgery.
    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
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