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Re-herniation after microdiscectomy. Anyone avoided 2nd surgery by letting it resorp?

I re-herniated 5 weeks post of from my first l4-l5 discectomy. Just as first time around, still the surgeon is saying it is upto me. Even tho re-herniation is large (12mm) its not pressing on CES related nerves. He also shared his own personal story where he waited a year and avoided surgery. Has anyone else been able to do this with a large herniation? Any stories ? My uneducated hope is that if I'm able to pull this off I won't have to face fusion. He did say that the rupture in the disc is large. so my percentages for re-occurrence are higher.


  • I have seen research studies on large herniations that were not bothersome to a patient after a year and some physical therapy. I also know one person who had a disk herniation at L4-5 and then herniated L5-S1. He had surgery for the first, but for L5-S1 he seems to have healed it by waiting.
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 724
    Dear David

    If your not in pain why not try avoiding the surgery like your doctor did... I live in China and reabsorbtion is a common approach that a lot of people here use if they can tolerate the pain.
    Harry - 63 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • Why did you have the surgery to begin with? If you are not having major life limitations from any herniations you have I would not want any spine surgery. I know personally that spine surgery causes easier injury after disc replacements and fusions. How did you re-herniate post surgery?
  • Thank you all for the responses. Sorry for not being clear in my first post. The first surgery was done because I had pain in right foot and leg, also had minor foot drop and loss of strength. And I was honestly just scared for getting permanent nerve damage if I waited too long. I waited 2 months and had surgery. The re-herniation happened as I was reaching across the table to grab my phone. This was 5 weeks post op.

    The new symptoms are along the lines of what I had after first herniation except, I now also have minor symptoms in left leg and foot. This time around I researched more and learnt about fusion and the endgame (if there is one). Now I'm more worried about fusion rather than risking permanent nerve damage by waiting it out.

    from what I'm reading. It would probably be worth it waiting it out. I am trying to pick out of two scenarios 1)Fusion in future and then possible domino to neighboring discs 2) wait and risk permanent nerve damage to some extent (this may or may not work and then I may still be staring at fusion in the future).
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 724
    Dear David,

    And a third option would be to have another discectomy...
    Harry - 63 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • I would agree with Harry, a second discectomy if you don't have any kind of structural abnormalities might do the trick for you, it kind of depends on how you use your spine.
    And for the other poster questioning how someone reherniates... it's actually quite common after discectomy, a lot of people actually reherniate and have no symptoms so...
  • My concern with the second discectomy is that In case I re-herniate again (my doc says my chances of re-herniation are higher due to size of my rupture) I'll be looking at a fusion at that point. I still have some disc height left now. If I can tough it out (at risk of nerve damage) and it works it would be great. Otherwise I have the surgery option always (discectomy or fusion depending on how bad it is)
  • RunnerHKTRRunnerHKT Posts: 231
    edited 10/24/2015 - 5:26 AM
    If you aren't having any symptoms now, then the risk of damaging your nerve right now is minimal, [edit]. The second thing to think on is that he gave you a choice. Many surgeons these days give lots of choice, but for both of my surgeries I have had several surgeons tell me that there is no option but surgery...that I could delay it with steroid injections or something, but that I would have to have surgery. I think you actually have a great shot at healing this, again it kind of depends on how you want to use your spine, Like if you are an avid golfer or bowler, its going to be more difficult than if you are an avid poker player.
    I think it would help you to seek a second, and maybe a third opinion. It really helped me to make some decisions and get comfortable with what I have to do. Good Luck!
  • Hello everyone, I've read several of the posts on disk herniation, fusions, and re-herniations. My personal experience has been 1.5 yrs I was living on the most debilitating pain in my right leg from my putter thigh to the base of my foot. Numbness from my outter calf to the bottom of my foot and 3rd metatarsal over. Movement of any type was ungodly. I didn't believe in using narcotics to control it since I was a med student at the time and had saw what it done to people as they mentally got hooked on it cause the pain was managed and they were afraid of surgery. So I continued life the best I could w/ help from family and my husband. Graduated w/ honors and started my new career in working with my mother kidney physician (nephrologist). After seeing me in such debilitating pain, he advised me to see a neurologist done a MRI and found I have a large herniation on my RT side impending completely on my nerve root along with my S1. O was horrified so I was recommend to a neurosurgeon who practices surgical nonevasive procedures such as the Microdiscectomy. So I confirmed a consult and sceduled a pre-op and surgery date. I have to say its wasn't peaches and cream after recovery. I had nerve pain in my LEFT buttock that radiated down to my knee and whatwas out patient was a 3 day stay. Now my recovery at home home has been touch and go. Even at 4.5 wks. But please remember I felt with this for a year and a half.
    I am doing well I take it easy the beat I can I have done some minor bending using my legs. I also have invested in a grabber and a walker.
    PLEASE REMEMBER I cannot express this enough you all are individuals and not one the same. Advice is awesome it certainly helped me in many ways BUT...,. I strongly recommend to consult with your PCP, neurologist and neurosurgeon as to what limitations and form of recovery you should follow to avoid and reoccurring problems especially with your spine. EVERYONE'S HEALING process is different. I am slowly healing AND easing back into some activity. Walking is great but don't push yourself to do anything. Listen to your body but practice common sense when doing anything you physician would or wouldn't want you to do. I am open to questions of my own experience through my surgery since I didn't post many details and iI am glad to share but I'm 90% pain free but still stiff and have experiences leg cramps mild RLS due to opioid use for short term and I may have some helpful strategies that may help you.
    I wish everyone well for any spinal surgeries and recovery!
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    edited 10/28/2015 - 10:28 AM
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