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Terrified of Microdiscetomy

Hi guys,

Just wondering if there have been any success stories with micro surgery. Im having L5-S1 done first week in April after 6 months of leg and butt pain. I am not in excruciating pain, but have had this dull leg and butt pain for over 6 months now. And I cant sit for more than 30 minutes without it starting up , so no quality of life here. I am confused bc I don't want to end up worse, but cant take this anymore so went ahead and scheduled surgery. Ive read so many horror stories and am terrified of ending up with new pains, especially when my pain is bearable. I know I am the only one who can decide, but it would help if I saw some success stories and stopped reading so many people who actually got worse. Anyone out there? And by the way, I pray for people with chronic pain all the time because I know how it affects your whole life.

Thanks so much, Maria


  • i cant offer any experience, but i was curious if you've tried physical therapy and epidurals? ive never gotten a micro d.
  • donaldson75ddonaldson75 Posts: 2
    edited 03/29/2015 - 4:39 PM
    I had my surgery on my l5/s1 10 days ago, and I can confirm that it was the best thing I could have done. In my case the surgery should have taken 90mins but the extrusion had attached itself to a nerve, so I was under for 3hrs. Today I went walking for an hour; something I haven't been able to do since my catastrophic event in July 2014. The steristrips are still on, but should come off soon. I was uber nervous about the op, but I'm positive that this will improve mine and my young family's life immeasurably ☺ any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Claire
  • edited 04/07/2015 - 9:23 PM
    as formerweightlifter posted did you try epidurals and aqua and land PT? If its tolerable...mine progressed to severe and then I'm not about the epidurals saw too many that didn't work, out of pocket is like 4,000 for the first to meet deductible, that was just the epidural ,so since the surgery was same day no instrumentation I went for it Dr was awesome highly recommended spine surgeon . First 2 weeks seemed like magic happened, ever since have not returned to work my horror story is on here to...and now I too am looking for a POSITIVE post because after 11 months and losing my job, and no quality of life , and subjecting myself to 2 failed epidurals one leaving me for worse....My only consideration is surgery or live with this severe acute pain which is progressively getting worse. So I am talking a fusion l4 l5. and I am TERRIFIED...because my simple microdisectomy left me here...and maybe thats common but im freaked out...
    This can't be happening
  • After 4 months of pain and conservative treatment for L5S1 disc problem, had surgery a week ago. First 2 days were heaven: NO PAIN. The nurse had said I must walk five minutes for every 30 sitting/lying and I did but I think that was a huge mistake. The next day at 4 in the morning I was in the ER screaming for morphine. After three more days of percocet, gapapentin and tizanadine, I have had an almost pain free day, walking relatively easily (with a walker). My surgeon--who was NOT happy to see me in the ER--says 2-6 weeks for "recovery," whatever that might mean.

    Today is the first day for months when I haven't been sobbing and begging my husband to shoot me.
  • I'm still trying to educate myself in all this because even 11 months after I mentioned I am now looking at a fusion. Were yours or is yours going to be a fusion?
    This can't be happening
  • Hi Maria, I herniated the disk at L4-L5 30 years ago ( I was 24 at the time). I couldn't move much, or do anything, for about 3 months. I went to physiotherapy, chiropractor and took meds and the pain eventually subsided. I went back to work ( a very hard job on the back) and every 6 months or so my back would "sprain" in the lumbar area. It felt like all the muscles around the area seized and the pain was unbearable. I would be off work for about 45 days each time but kept going back to work. I kept at the same job for about ten years after the accident and the 6 month sprain cycle continued until it got to the point where 45 days of being off work and receiving treatment wasn't helping. Workers compensation cut me off but I fought it with legal help and was eventually covered again and offered retraining in some other, lighter, field of work. I got into computers and did very well at it. Anyway, long story short: I learned a lot of good stretching procedures, quit going to chiropractors (my neurosurgeons request) and learned to live with a sore back. BTW, my neurosurgeon said he wouldn't operate until the pain is completely unbearable. I have a high pain threshold and understand that we are all different but I'm glad I never had the operation. I've heard too many things about spine surgery. That said, I am NOT telling you to not have it done. This is just my experience. I learned to cope with it, to not do things I shouldn't, got into yoga, stretched religiously and I've been able to live with it. Whatever you do I wish you luck and I hope you start feeling better no matter what you do.
  • Hi everyone. I am 37 and I just had a micro discectomy on L5S1 on April 8th, 2015. I am not sure of the recovery process, but boy am I sore. I can lay , sit all that jazz, but when I go to move. OUCH. My neurosurgeon said to be patient...a co worker said it can be up to 10 days before I feel better. I am glad to follow on this forum to know I'm not the only one in pain..and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel
  • I had 2 within 4 months. Now let me say, I have no regrets. I woke up both times pain free and remained that way until I re-herniated twice. If I have any advice to give you....do nothing your first 6 weeks. It is very easy to re herniate after surgery and that is the hard part. My first time I felt so good I literally forgot about restrictions and yes re herniated. My second, I was a little constipated (TMI but it is what it is) after surgery from the pain meds at hospital and I felt a pop the next day while using the restroom. When the soft tissues are healing, there is no support around the disk. They will tell you it is a slim chance but it does happen if you aren't careful. Just do nothing and I mean nothing. Take it from me lol. I had a great surgeon and I'm facing what my next plan is since typically they won't perform more than two discectomies. It's round 3 for me and I have the lovely sciatica returning...OH boy! Good luck and keep us posted on your recovery!

    All the best-
  • I had a microdiscectomy at l4l5 7 years ago and I am very happy with the result. Good luck whatever you decide to do, it's a tough call but I know I am not sorry I had it done, it gave me my quality of life back and a new appreciation of how nice it is to be free from chronic pain.
  • MagistraMarlaMMagistraMarla San Antonio, TexasPosts: 178
    My hubby had a minimally invasive surgery for a herniated disc 15 years ago. Like ihatesciatica, he reherniated the disc in the middle of the night after the surgery by sleepily reaching to flip up the toilet lid. After a quick re-do on the surgery, he was fine.
    He gradually worked up to being able to again pass the military fitness tests. He was a reserve AF officer at the time, and now even though he's retired from the reserves, he still keeps up his fitness routine and feels fine.

    I'm now recovering from a fusion at L4, 5 & 6. ( kept telling everyone L3,4 & 5, but hubby corrected me). I was truly terrified. It was my worst nightmare. I had even given birth to my babies at home, and the thought of even an epidural with needles in my back was terrifying, let alone an incision in my spine. I did it and I'm now 12 days post-op, and now most of the symptoms that had disabled me are gone. The incision is healing nicely, and I'm walking every day. It's hot, humid and rainy here in South Texas, so we go for walks in the mall, Costco or the grocery store. Some days I can walk for a long while and others I'm happy to stay in my recliner.
    I'm allergic to opioids, so the only pain meds that I take are Ibuprofen 800, Tylenol 500 and Neurontin.
    Listen to your body and if you have the surgery, gradually work up to a fitness routine and you will be fine.
  • Hey guys, thanks everyone for the replies. I didn't end up having to microdiscectomy on April 7 and the surgery itself was not bad at all. I was up and around walking the next day and didn't have too much pain from the incision. The only issue is that I went in for leg and foot pain and that has yet to resolve. So I get a little nervous that I did this for nothing but I guess time will tell I know they say takes a while for the nerves to heal I'm going to ask about getting some Neurontin to deal with my nerve pain at my postop visit on Wednesday. Half of this battle is mental I when I get the pain in my foot it starts to bum me out so if I can resolve that issue for now maybe it will heal soon and all will be well. Good luck to everyone I think about you guys often
  • They don't just say that it takes time for Te nerve to heal. That's the way it actually is.
    This is gathered from statistics of people who had the op. They are in pain for a while and then bam the pain is gone and they go on with their lives :)

    Take care
  • I had a microdisectomy on my neck. Supposed to be outpatient (over night) minimally invasive surgery. Dr. said- "I had a construction worker go back to work after two weeks- he feels great!" yea right. I went from severe agony to excruciating pain, four days in the hospital, pain meds increased, and I have no quality of life. I'm in pain every waking moment of my life. If your pain is bearable, try shots, and phys therap and try to live with it. Thank the Lord it's bearable. Good Luck to you.
  • Thanks Daniel for your reply. You always put my mind at ease when it starts to wander. I had a great day -some foot pain in the am, then it went away and I think thats bc of your pep and I wasn't focused on it.

    God bless you and the others here who respond and help the others through their recoveries. I feel a lot better and know it will heal in time and am doing my best to stay focused. I am a believer in God so what kind of message is that if even I don't have faith? Thanks again for everything.
  • No worried. Anything just to know you feel a lil bit better. I am a believer in god too and for me when the pain became unbearable I never got angry or asked why me.
    You should never ask that question as it is like a surrender. I thought about it and always asked why not me. What do I have so special compared to the guy next door or my friends or relatives? Why should I be spared while others are suffering?

    I could not come up with an answer and clenched my teeth and beared my cross until someone or something decided it was time for me to get that cross of my back.

    This is a lifelong lesson I've learned. Be always grateful for even the little you have on top of your health. Health is most important everything else is just a bonus.

    Take care
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