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Discogram results, thoughts?

Shine OnSShine On Posts: 87
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:20 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello everyone!
I had my discogram yesterday and I am so happy to have that behind me, although it wasn't bad at all.
My L4 disc didn't hold the dye at all =( The disc above and below are in so so shape, they at least held the dye. I guess I have several holes in L4 (my surgeon thought I had a small tear). I will be talking to my surgeon hopefully next week in regards to the results. I was hoping to get any advise or thoughts any of you may have.
Here are my thoughts, after talking to my doctor that did the discogram (who was amazing btw). He feels that my two options will be fusion or SCS. Which is what my surgeon has talked about in the past.
My huge dilema is do I go for the fusion, and then have the option of the SCS if needed later. Keep in mind, I am fully aware of how serious a fusion is, I don't take it lightly at all. Or, do I just get a SCS and see what kind of pain relief I get. My #1 concern is permanent nerve damage, if I get the SCS first, am I just delaying the obvious. It's such a huge decision. Thank you so much for listening. It helps to put my thoughts into words and have people read it that I know understand. This site has been such a blessing to me over the last year and a half.


  • You have a good reason to be concerned as this is a very serious decision. We can offer you our thoughts and opinions, but the final decision is yours, hopefully with the help of your surgeon. If you have not done so already, maybe it would be a good idea to go for a second (or third) opinion.

    Once you have various options maybe it would be a good time to discuss them with your PCP or any of the surgeons that you trust the most.

    A good question to ask would be whether the SCS would be a permanent solution or would you need to have a fusion down the road? If the surgeon thinks that SCS would solve your problem, then ask why was fusion suggested?

    You don't have to rush your decision, before making it try to get as much information as possible, and talk to as many surgeons as you can. Also, get whatever information you can about the surgeons themselves, education (including board certification), experience, reputation, etc. Sometimes talking to nurses and other medical staff can be very revealing.

    Good luck! At the end, trust yourself that you will decided what is right for you.

  • I'm being silly but what's a SCS? As soon as you tell me I'll be like "OH yeah, I knew that!"
  • Lori,

    Just wanted to throw this out there as something to ask about. I'm also curious if anyone has had this procedure and is capable of commenting.

    IDET (Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy) is a new and minimally invasive treatment that is intended to treat pain due to disc degeneration. Here is a video on it:


    One would think if you can repair the tear in the disc, you could prevent going down the painful road of fusion. I recollect a member having this done last year in the fall but do not remember her outcome.

  • A Spinal Cord Stimulator.
  • I knew that you knew!Hehe
  • Thanks for the responses.
    Does anyone have any thoughts on the nerve damage? Does it get worse the longer you wait? I would never make a rushed decision on this, I do feel that I need to start coming to some conclusions though after my discogram yesterday. Plus my quality of life stinks =( And now I have the cervical pain, I feel like I need to start making some decisions on what direction to take. The nerve damage scares me the most.
  • would that be an option? I see that you have had one in your lumbar region. I also had a microdiscectomy at L3/L4.
  • I went back and re-read your post. It looks like it is the same disc that you already had the discectomy on. I am assuming that your discectomy failed and now you are at the point of a fusion, correct? I am interested in your story because I had a microD back in Dec 07 that also failed and I am in a lot of pain and thinking that I will also end up going the fusion route? Did the discectomy fix the tare and now you have new tare?
  • Hi painintheback,
    My 2 Discectomies were at L5 S1. It re herniated after the first surgery and I had a revision about 6 weeks after. When you look at my MRI, the L5 S1 looks great. So, my question was why in the heck am I in so much pain then?? That led to the Discogram, my surgeon guessed that I had a tear at L4 and that was probably the source of the pain. As I said in my post, I have holes in my L4 disc, it wouldn't hold the dye at all =( The doctor said it was horrible, he couldn't believe it. He said that a fusion really is my only option at this point, but of course I will be meeting with my surgeon hopefully this coming week to get his thoughts. I thought that maybe I could get a spinal cord stimulator instead of a fusion, ya know trying to take the conservative route. I had an appointment with my PCP today and asked her about my back situation (she is very familiar with my back history, I have been going to her for 11 years), anyway, she made a comment to me that a SCS is for people that don't have a surgical option, if I could have a fusion why wouldn't I try to fix my problem and then if for some reason it didn't "work" I could look at the option of a SCS later. I'm fairly young, 41 and I feel, deserve a chance at being "fixed". Although, I am scared of having a fusion, I have tried all conservative treatments and as the Discogram showed am a mess. I have also discovered that I have a buldging disc at C6...GRRR. I would love the opportunity to solve the lumbar issues, or as close as possible and then focus on the cervical problems - hopefully with injections. I have an appointment on 8/20 for an injection in my neck with the doctor that did my discogram, he is amazing and is the #1 in the state for injections, this will be my first injection with him. My dream would be to have a successful fusion on my lumbar spine, and have the injections take the edge off of the neck/arm etc pain, I would be a happy camper.
    This is by far the hardest thing I have ever had to go through and I know there is more to come. I just try to stay positive and know that God has put me here for a reason.
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