I wanted to share my surgery experience with others as reading through the forum posts was very helpful prior to my surgery.
I'm a 42 year old male. My back was injured after a fall 3 years ago. MRI showed disc protrusion at l4/l5. Surgery was a last resort, but conservative treatments (epidural steroid) did not improve the constant pain in my butt/hip and shooting down my leg. Sunburn feeling on tops of my feet and could not easily walk without limping, but I was able to avoid opioid painkillers. Initially the pain was on my left side only, but recently became worse on my right side including a paralyzed/burning feeling in my hamstring when I tried to exercise (run, jump rope, shadow box) A more recent MRI showed increased protrusion and degenerative disk disease.
I decided to get surgery based on my worsening symptoms, but I was really terrified. I was not living with debilitating and unrelenting pain, but was very restricted on the activities that I could do and pretty miserable at work. Lots of aching lower back cramps and soreness at the end of the day. I am a couple of days post op from microsiscectomy on l4/l5 and am optimistic about my recovery.
When I woke from anastesia I was in pretty bad pain. I was sitting up slightly and it felt like my vertebre were grinding together. Thankfully I was able to avoid the catheter and pee on my own and get out of there. I was given 2 norcos by the nurse which helped me out quite a bit. The surgery took over 2 hours which was surprising. I did not see the doctor afterwards to talk about how it went. He let my wife know that it went well, and based on how I feel, I think it was a success.
I have been very stiff and sore as expected but the sciatica has disappeared. I was so used to it that it is almost a tangible absence of pain where it used to radiate. I am cautiously overjoyed. I have also noticed that I have a much stronger urine stream, I thought that I was having age related prostate issues but I think the weak stream stemmed from the nerve impingement. I also had some minor erectile dysfunction issues that I attributed to age as well but without saying too much has improved. Not that I can do anything about it right now, but I am very happy about that too.
I have gotten by on 1 norco 3 times per day but have difficulty getting into different positions, off and on the bed or couch. I can definitely feel them wear off with the vertebrae soreness and incision pain, but still no sciatica when walking. A twinge here or there in my butt when adjusting but better than before. I hope and pray it doesn't come back.
My incision is much larger than I expected, like 5" long. I don't know if they can vary that much, but I was expecting a 1 or 2 inch scar. Pretty tender all along the right side of the incision.
I plan on asking the doctor about this and also how much disk material was removed. He said that recovery time was 4-6 weeks but I am going to take it very slowly as recommended by those on this forum, I want to get back to an active lifestyle but am worried about reinjuring and needing fusion. My heart goes out to those who are still living in pain, I am hoping that I will be one of the success stories.