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New member and frightened after microdiscectomy-HELP!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,322
I'm glad to have found this board. I had a microdiscectomy on L4-5 on my left side a week ago. I was doing great...no pain or anything...until a few days ago. Now I'm having some burning in my left cheek and a little pain in my lower leg. I'm also having some lower back cramps.

I herniated my disc in late February/early March and it has been very painful with sciatic pain since that time. I did the round of prednisone but it didn't help so my doctor finally decided on surgery which I had a week ago.

Is this post-op pain normal? My surgeon really didn't tell me what to expect after the surgery in terms of what I might feel and might not feel so I'm kind of at a loss. I have been walking and finally got out of the house two days ago.

I'm kind of scared because I had hoped the surgery would resolve all my issues. I talked to a lot of people who said they had the same surgery and came out of anethesia with NO pain and only had to take aspirin and was fine. I am so NOT in that place!

ANY feedback would be appreciated. Thanks! :)


  • to that place! I had a micro in Dec 07 and it was a failed surgery so I am actually in worse pain than before. But, I never even got the initial relief like you did. What you are experiencing is perfectly normal to be just one week out from surgery. You have to remember that even though the incision was small they did some major surgery while they were in there. I feel very sure that what you are feeling is just part of the healing process. Our nerves do not like to be messed with and seem to get very angry after surgery. Try ice on your cheek 20 mins on and 20 off and see if that helps. If you are concerned the best person to ask would be your doc. Give him a call and I am sure that they will answer any questions for you. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
  • :) i saw this was your first post and i wanted to welcome you to the forum! we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i agree that your doctor is the best person to ask. you don't want to let that go for too long in case it is a problem. good luck and i hope you are feeling better soon! Jenny :)
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  • Thank you for your comments and for welcoming me. It was getting better but I got up this morning and my leg felt like it did BEFORE surgery only more cramping than a sharp pain. I've been riding in the car more in the last few days and my mom has been driving. She's not comfortable driving in a big city and she's a little too eager with the break. I'm hoping that might be the cause for the discomfort. I see the nurse next week but if the pain gets worse I will call the doctor.

    I just went through a lot to get to the surgery and then the surgery itself was a lot so...I just want my old life back! =((
  • understood. I think we all understand that.
  • Hi,
    I am new also.
    Just had on the 23rd of July a laminectomy.
    I have stenosis. I had so many epiduals that I lost count.
    Nothing helped...pt, chiro, shots, so I recently made appointment with a neuro.
    She was very sure that it was the correct direction to take. So I finally after four years or so in pain, agreed.
    I have L4-L5 & S1 stenosis as well at in the neck!
    I see that most here have had the microdiscetomy which is the same only laser, correct?

    Well to make this short, I guess that my body went into trama due to the surgery and I developed fluid on my spine where the incision is. I had to have a tap, first to help draw the fluid and also to see if there was an infection present. Also she told me I had a small blood clot!
    As per her not to be concerned.
    Well not even 2 minutes leaving the office, I got like one whopper of a headache. So severe that I really thouhgt I was having a stroke....Called when I got home and got that "it can happen" Ok so... excedrin and gator ade..
    Next day againnnnnn so they had me go to the Er and it is like an hour away...seems like they hit membrane? So here I am like leaking like a hose(enough to soak the clothing I had on) administerd IV, pain meds,antibiotics, and sent me home.
    I had an office vist with her and I still have alllllll the same symptoms...leg numbness to feet, and thighs and of course the butt... sitting at time is almost impossible.

    Well now I guess it is a wait and see..the inflamation is still there and she said that the body will absorb the fluid as per the tap..
    Well sorry so long but the bottom line in my question is..
    she stated that I may have one..scar tissue from fibro..and two from the recent surgery!! Can you get scar tissue that fast?
    I never knew that I had fibro how do you get scar tissue from it?
    Is this possible and as for the long term..has anyone here who had this surgery seen any results? I know all are different but time wise, how long does a person see results?

    Praying and waiting...
    Thank you
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  • Hi sorry you are going through what I am. I am three weeks post op and still am having pain in my bum down my leg. I just saw the NS and he said it could be swelling (nerves), re-herniation (I have not done anything), bone fragments fell under the nerves, or just a bad disc from being herniated and deg disease.

    I have been taking anti-imflamitories, with no sucess. He suggested an MRI to rule out the bad stuff, so hopefully it is just swelling and will take some time to heal.

    Hope yours get's better and ask your doc about steriods or anti imflamitories...

    Take care....
  • I am now 7 weeks post L5-S1 discectomy. The pain I had after surgery and for 3-4 straight weeks was constant and so much worse than before the operation.
    I was on all manner of pain killers and am only now feeling an improvement. I was heartbroken and convinced that I had made a huge mistake.
    However, I did a lot of reading of these Boards and it would appear that, although there are a lot of people who get instant relief, 6 weeks or so is pretty good. Keep reading the Board - the people here are really supportive and have helped me more than I can say.
    The only other advice I would give is to take the minimum of pain killers - I've just had a horrible week trying to get off Oxycodone. It was not pretty!

    Hope you see a dramatic improvement soon,

  • Definitely takes time to heal. If I recall correctly (stated elsewhere in these boards, or a review I read) the nerves heal at approximately 1" (yes that's inch) per month. I've also read (thanks to all these great people here on these boards) that there are persons who have taken up to 2 years to realize the full benefits of surgery.

    I've realized (I'm 6 weeks post-op of disc/lami of l4/l5 & l5/s1) that the NORMAL life I had before the back injury (which was over 6 years ago now) is going to take time. I may never get my former life back, but just to be able to walk down the block, or doing normal daily activities will be enough for now.

    Patience is truly a virtue in the case of surgery. I hope you feel better very soon, and don't be afraid or nervous to ask questions.

  • Although NS #1 said that a fusion was a "when, not if" deal for me and that microdiscectomy was not an option because there was no disc to "ectomy", NS #2 thought that the micro was a valid option and that fusion was not inevitable.

    Well, I went with #2 and am now 2 weeks post-op and in more pain than I was before the surgery and wondering if I made the biggest mistake of my life.......

    My "normal" life included 20 hours or so per week of swim/bike/run and triathlon competition at the national level. While I hoped to get back to that, I now would be thrilled to be out of pain.

    What have I done???

  • two weeks is not enough time. I was also thinking that my doc did something horribly wrong to me and feeling as I had made the biggest mistake of my life even at 2 months post op. Although my surgery was failed, it did somewhat help the pain down my leg. Be patient and try to keep a positive attitude. Follow docs orders to the letter and you will improve from where you are today. It just will not happen overnight.
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