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To cut, or not to cut


I'm looking for some advice from anyone that can help. I have a herniated disc at L4/5 which has caused some issues- mainly foot drop. I've had 2 epidurals and the pain has simply gone away. I still have foot drop though. I'm scheduled for a microdiscectomy in 2 weeks but that scheduling was off of the MRI that was done when I was in pain. I've been doing PT all along and, while some strength has returned, I still can't lift my foot or walk with out a limp. It's only been 8 or so weeks since this all started and I'm wondering if it makes sense to go ahead with the surgery or if its possible that the disc returned to where it's supposed to be and I just have nerve damage now. I would think that the doctor would check again before going in but that's not the case. I guess my questions are, 1) is it possible to have long term nerve damage from a few weeks of the L4 nerve being pinched, and 2), is it possible that the nerve is still being pressed by the disc and I simply have no pain because of the epidural? My concern is the the doctor goes in and discovers that there isn't anything to remove.

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    Your questions are very good ones.......but best directed to your doctor.

    He knows your situation best. Keep good communication with all doctors...for guidance and reassurance.

    I wish you best of luck
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • i to had an L4/l5 slipped disc in July last year ,,,, the hospital delayed my mri scan till 2 weeks later got my results 4 weeks after at a different hospital has they referred me saying I needed surgery,,, when I did finely get the results the surgeon said he didn't think my foot would recover has my local hospital delayed things,,, any way he said I needed a microdiscectomy to relieve pain in leg only has he said it would not relieve pain in back but I had it mainly in leg so went ahead with it,,,, that was in September my foot drop is still there hasn't improved at all,, pain in leg gone,, I've still got numbness mainly in my big toe and top of foot also down side of leg,,,, I've been told by someone else it might come back it might not so just have to wait and see,,, nerves grow back slow but I thought I would at least been able to lift it a it but can't,,, have to wear an AFO outside due to tripping and falling,, I try and manage without one inside just have to watch when the grandchildren have been make sure every thing is picked up lol,,,,,
    Hope you get some answers,,, I also had my foot drop for 7-8 weeks before surgery and I still have it 10 months later,,,, could they not do another scan to check the disc ,,,, good luck,,, debbie
  • Thanks for the comments. I will get a message to my doc to see if he will order another MRI prior to next Tuesday. I think I might simply have nerve damage at this point because over the weekend I tweaked something and got the leg pain back briefly.
  • Hope everything goes well,,, keep me informed,,
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