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Surgery, yes or no?

Jack123JJack123 Posts: 7
edited 11/13/2015 - 9:20 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Ok to cut a long story short. Been suffering with L4 and L5 discs for about 10 years now. Pain sometimes very low and other times very high.

Been on light duties at work and no sports all year.

Finally have bitten the bullet and on the waiting list for microdiscectomy, after opting out before.

Would people recommend it? I am in not in huge pain right now just the niggle of leg pain. But I don't want to carry on being on light duties at work and not playing sport. Have tried other options in the past. (Physio etc, specialist doesn't think injections will help me as I have had the problem for such a long time)

Thanks for reading this is my first ever post!


No one on the forum is medically qualified to give advice, only you can decide on whether surgery is right for you after discussion with your doctor and doing your own research

Microdiscectomy Spine Surgery: Risks, Complications, and Success Rates


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Liz, spine-health Moderator

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Akorona1AAkorona1 Posts: 2
    edited 11/14/2015 - 7:10 PM
    This is my first post too! I'm in a very similar situation with the same question. I've been dealing with back problems that tend to flair every 6 months or so. It started in 2011 with a large herniation L4-L5. I went conservative, having multiple steroid injections and/or oral steroids each time. But it keeps coming back. I changed docs and we are planning a L4-S1 laminectomy/discectomy on 11/24. During the 3 weeks I've been waiting, the pain has improved but I have not been active. (I'm a nurse so always on my feet or sitting to chart)

    I know I'm nervous about recovery, and keep thinking since I'm in less pain maybe I shouldn't do it. Then one day I do a little more and The pain comes back down my legs and back. So I'm on the fence too. Any recommendations?
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 724
    The surgery will likely eliminate your nerve pain... but it won't "cure" you. Unlike a cut on your hand that heals over and is as good as new... your herniated disc will never be the same again even after surgery. In a discectomy the surgeon cuts the herniated portion away that is pressing on your nerve roots and the disc scars over but does NOT grow back like your skin. So you may feel great but your back will never be 100% again... if you over stress it with heavy lifting or aggressive sports, etc... you run a big chance of re-herniating what is left of your disc. On the other hand if you do nothing the herniation will likely only get worse to the point where you can't do anything and be in really horrible 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
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    Welcome to Spine-Health
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  • Anyone got any recommendations?
  • Well I suppose it comes down to what you are willing to put up with....if you're willing to rest 80% of the time in order for the pain not to be aggravated then maybe opting out is an option???
    I've been told I am a candidate for surgery but my age is apparently an issue-36- but I want a life NOW and...I think.....I'm willing to risk surgery....I think...to get my life back!
    I know it's scary but the big picture has to come into play. Get the facts on the risks and make an educated choice.
    I am desperate for a fix, a cure, and I've tried everything else. I know in my head I'm thinking of surgery as the magic answer but it can go very bad. But there's always someone worse and someone better, you have to make your life the best it can be.
    If only we could see what the best thing to do is!!!! I wish you all the very best xxx
    Ps keep us posted xx
    Kirsti x
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,846
    No one here is even qualified to tell you to have surgery or not.
    That answer can only come from your doctor and from yourself.

    You can outline every situation, every symptom, every pain, but it still is not enough for anyone else to make a decision for you.

    You can see how many people had success with their surgery and you will read about those that did not

    But I do believe most people will say that if you can deal with the discomfort then waiting for surgery may be your path. But as I said,
    there are other things to consider, if you have a disc pressing on a nerve root, than its sooner vs later. That is why the decision you make has
    to come from discussions with your doctor and your family.

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thanks very much for your replies. I know i can go on quite easily without surgery, but I will be sacrificing things I really enjoy (sports etc) so I am leaning toward surgery to hopefully take away the immediate pain and then hit physio really hard to strengthen up and hopefully return to normal life in a year or so
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