I recently had a repeat micro discectomy for a herniated disc at L4-L5 level on the right side. Majority of my pain and numbness was in my right leg with just minor pain on left. My pre op MRI looked really bad, mass effect compressing nerve root on right so surgery was absolutely necessary. I thought for sure I was looking at a fusion, according to my primary care doctor and MRI report, but my surgeon stated it wasn't necessary yet. He told me that the recommendation is for a second micro discectomy on a repeat herniation, so I just went with it, he is a very experienced surgeon and has done a couple surgeries on me already.
My surgery went well, no complications and I was at home after a couple of hours. When the surgeon spoke with my wife while I was in recovery he mentioned to her that there was no disc material left between those vertebrae. She told me about it later on after I had regained my senses. When I questioned him about this at my 2 week visit he just kind of blew it off and basically said that's how it is.
Is this normal? What can I expect over the coming years as far as no disc or cushioning between these vertebrae? I understand that the spaces where the nerve roots exit are more narrow now but what worries me is the stability, it's constantly popping when I move around. I realize that another surgery is inevitable but why couldn't he have just done a fusion once he realized there was no disc left? My wife would have signed consent. I'm not sure if it matters but I'm in my early forties. Welcome to Spine-Health
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~ spine-health moderator, savage