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Lumbar Microdiscectomy or cervical ADR/fusion

Hello friends,
Does microdiscectomy (and laminectomy) relieve back pain? If yes, to what extent?
Should I go for neck surgery first or lower back surgery first?

I have been suffering with lower back pain + right leg pain (upper leg laterally, above knees + left foot) and right neck and upper right back + shoulder burning & tingling pains for several years(more than 10 years).

My MRI reports show disc herniations with L5-S1 annular tear, c4-c5, c5-c6, c6-c7 disc bulges.

1. Multilevel spondylosis in the cervical spine more pronounced on the left at c4-c5 and on the right at c5-c6 with possible
nerve encroachment bilaterally

2. Levoconvex curvature of the lumbar spine with apex at L4

3. Spondylosis at L4-L5 and L5-S1 most pronounced on the right L5-S1 with right facet bony hypertrophy contributing
to moderate right foraminal stenosis at L5-S1 with concern for nerve encroachment

I have taken diagnostic lumbar and cervical steroid injections (Rigth C4, C5, C6, C7 MBB Facet, Righ C7-T1 Epidural,
R L4-5, L5-S1 IAB Facet, R L5 Transforaminal Epidural) twice, with no pain relief.

Taken several tests: discogram, mylogram, CT scans and EMG. Discogram could not reproduce the pain during the test and EMG is negative. Been through Minimally invasive L5-S1 discectomy with no change in the disc bulges or the pain.

All my alternative options and therapies proved no help and I stand at a point to make decision on my surgery. After meeting several doctors, I'm down to 2 spine surgeons who have contradicting opinions on the surgeries.

First doctor does not want to perform any surgery on the lower back since discogram was negative and I have all the motion (bending), but recommended 1 level ADR c5-c6 on the neck.

Second doctor advised to go for L5-S1 microdiscectomy (with laminectomy) and 2 level fusion (c4-c5 and c5-c6) on the neck.

I'm confused which surgery to choose first as both lower back and neck+shoulder are equally painful. Moreover, the
first doctor said that after microdiscectomy, I may not get any relief. For neck, even though my pain symptoms are only to the right, left C4-c5 disc bulge is more than right C5-C6. Should I address both discs or just go for 1 level ADR? 2 level ADR or 2 level fusion?

Those who faced these or similar kind of issues or who had any improvement on the back pain with the discectomy,
please speak out and give us your valuable advice. I understand that this forum is not responsible for any medical advice, but your experiences are very helpful. Thank you.


  • Sue 1965SSue 1965 United KingdomPosts: 115
    Hi I'm glad to read that someone else has a bulge that should be producing left sided pain but is in fact having pain on my right side-arm/shoulder/hand.. I also have lower back pain although my last MRI showed C5/C6 bulger and T4/T5 bulge-both pressing on nerve-I didnt appear to have any problems in the lumbar region.
    I see my consultant again Monday as I have put off having ADR fusion as he has only given me 30% chance of it curing my arm pain and won't help anything else..but I get bad flare ups every few months which are getting harder to cope with-so although the surgery terrifies me-if he will do it-I'm seriously considering it.. Good luck with your decision making..
  • joowee40joowee40 Mississippi Posts: 99
    I'm another of those who feels it on right only and should feel it on left with a left bulge. Waiting on Dr to call with results of myelogram I had last Monday to determine whats really going on and if surgery will do the trick. Good luck.
  • ssirishasssirisha Posts: 11
    edited 12/02/2015 - 2:30 AM
    Sue, thank you for your response.
    Did you try any injections ? What is your next step? Do you have only 1 disc bulge in the cervical region? May be other discs with mild degeneration are the cause of your pain. Why are you not considering ADR instead of fusion?

  • Thanks for your response.
    Did any of ESI's help you? I believe you have lower body pain in addition to numb hand? Do you have leg or lower back pain ?
    What does your MRI tell about neck or lumbar bulges/herniations? I 'm trying to understand is yours SI joint pain or lumbar disc pain?

  • Sue 1965SSue 1965 United KingdomPosts: 115
    edited 12/02/2015 - 4:47 AM
    Hello and thanks! I have had nerve root injection in CT scanner-tried physio/acupuncture/tens/been tested for carpal tunnel/ulnar nerve entrapment-all to no avail-I think it may be ADR with fusion that is in the offing..

    Think I have only one disc in the cervical area that is pushing on a nerve-but will know more what my options are after monday 0712 when I see my consultant-I think he is reluctant to do the op as he says its only a 30% chance of curing my arm pain only..

    Thanks for replying!
  • Keep me updated and good luck.
    Let me know if you need any info from any part of my pain story which will be helpful.
  • Sue 1965SSue 1965 United KingdomPosts: 115
    Thanks and I will..
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