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Would you have a second microdiscectomy if you were me ?

So I have to make a big decision this week and need your advice. I had an MD six weeks ago and from the moment I woke up, my crippling ( and I mean crippling) foot pain was still there. I was told it was the nerve settling bla bla but at 2.5 weeks post op I had an MRI which showed some sort of tissue or residual debris was touching the S1 nerve which is inflamed and swollen. I now have appalling coccyx pain too and can barely sit. I have had two nerve root injections to flush out the debris but they made no difference. This week I have to go for another MRI on Thursday with a view to having another op on Friday. I am terrified. The first MD made things so much worse. The surgeon is supposed to be one of the best in the UK so I don't think it was an error on his part. Just bad luck. But what to do ? I can't carry on like this but can't face the possibility of another op making it even worse . What do you think ?


  • KerryTailfordKerryTailford London UKPosts: 3
    edited 07/18/2015 - 7:24 AM
    I feel for you. I had two discectomys at the same time and had prodiscs put in. I would say if you can have it and get them fused it would be better than having prodiscs. I know everyone is different but in my case I'm still suffering from crippling pain day and night.

    Are your discs crumbling or are they protruding?

    Welcome to Spine-Health
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    Kind regards

    Degenerative disc.
    Prodiscs put in 2010 L3& L4
  • It is the fact that there is 'debris' that is the problem (although this could be a bit of disc that was not completely removed during the MD) . I hope you are doing well.
  • Hi!

    Don't know if I'll be of any help but....

    If I were in your position I'd be asking myself could I live with the current pain and go about my new daily life. If I could I'd find out from the consultant if there was also any risk of neurological damage (muscle atrophy, permanent numbness etc) by leaving things as they are.

    Also, if the disc looks okay and the surgery would be to remove debris then in my mind it shouldn't be any worse to recover from than the microdiscectomy as there won't be a need to cut through bone to gain access as that's already been performed.

    I think if I were in your position and I woke up from surgery with the same awful sciatic pain as going in I would have the surgery. When you say you can't live with the pain, if I was feeling like that and conservative treatment failed I'd be thinking that I had nothing to lose. Before my microdiscectomy I was bed bound for 2 months and couldn't stand or sit without excruciating pain down my leg and feeling like my foot had been run over by a car. There's no way I could have lived with that and when the consultant said I needed a microdiscectomy I knew exactly what I was getting myself into but took it gladly to see if I could get some relief.

    I'm only 8 weeks post op from a microdiscectomy also in the UK (and still having daily ups and downs from mild sciatica which seems to switch legs and lower backache) so know all too well what you're going through with the pain and post op recovery!

    Best of luck in whatever you choose and I hope your name soon becomes painfreefoot!
    L5-S1 microdiscectomy, May 2015
  • That is a very helpful and thoughtful reply . I appreciate it. I think I will have the surgery !
  • I think I may have responded to you before, but maybe it got lost somewhere. I have been in your shoes (somewhat different circumstances as my "debris" was found with a CT scan immediately after my fusion surgery, which was the third surgery for me in about 4 months' time last year.

    When I woke up from the surgery, I realized that both of my feet were pretty numb where only my left foot had been a problem leading up to the surgery. They sent me for a CT before I even got to my room again and the surgeon told me that there was something in there that could be causing some nerve irritation. I'd had so many surgeries in such a short time that we decided to just wait and see if it caused any issues. The numbness in my right foot disappeared and so we didn't do anything...for a while.

    I did have some weakness in my left side that was concerning however, so at each follow-up appt., my surgeon was still concerned. I had the fusion in late Sept. and by Dec., since none of my left-side symptoms had shown any improvement, the surgeon recommended that we go back in, remove a couple of screws that he was slightly concerned about based on how close they were to the nerve and remove the bone fragment that was irritating the nerve. He told me I didn't have to do it, but that it might be causing my residual symptoms. After much deliberation, I did the revision surgery (removed two screws, one rod and a bone fragment). The surgery was easy, but unfortunately, it didn't change my symptoms at all. That being said, I'm glad to know that there is now nothing left to irritate the nerve because I think I'd always wonder and worry.

    In your case, with your symptoms, I'd do it. Obviously this is completely your choice, but I think the downside of leaving an irritant on your nerve outweighs a relatively "easy" minimally invasive surgery. Best wishes to you, whatever you decide.
    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
  • So what do they suggest for you now ? I hope you find some relief ! Thanks for the advice !
  • Coltsfan78CColtsfan78 Posts: 182
    edited 07/19/2015 - 4:52 PM
    Well, I've done everything that I'm willing to do. At this point, it's a wait-and-see game. Maybe the nerve will eventually heal (although it's been 7 months since the last surgery and 10 since my fusion, with no change). Most likely, I'm stuck with the residual nerve damage in my foot. It's not fun, but it's manageable with medication. It's amazing what you learn to adapt to...still, if nerve damage can be avoided....do it!!
    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
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