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Microdiscectomy Scheduled for Friday

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
I am scheduled for my surgery on Friday morning (it is Wednesday night now) and I am starting to question if the surgery is really necessary. Here is my story.

A few months ago I started feeling pain in my right leg and back while standing and walking. I went on a vacation and did a lot of walking which seemed to have made the pain worse. When I got home I made an appointment w/ my PCP and she gave me a steroid regimen and recommended PT. I started PT but after 2 visits of PT which involved mostly hamstring stretching the pain got much worse. The pain was so bad that I couldn't sleep, stand, sit, you get the idea. I went for a MRI and I could tell by looking at the films that a disc had herniated. It is L5-S1 and is certainly a good sized herniation. I saw the spinal doc and he almost immediately recommended surgery - just due to the size of the herniation.

Since this meeting the pain has basically all subsided and was replaced with lost muscle strength in my calf and numbness on the bottom of my foot. The numbness seems to be getting better but the strength hasn't seemed to come back.

Now I am just a day or so from the surgery and I am starting to feel better I am beginning to wonder if the surgery is really necessary after all.

Any thoughts? I don't really expect an answer but maybe some guidance? In the back of my mind I know that if I don't get it fixed it will be some small movement and then I am back in severe pain again.

It is just hard to accept surgery when I seem to be feeling a bit better.

Thanks for your thoughts.


  • I don't have any answers, but you're not alone. Like you I had a very large herniation L5-S1. It started in January. The pain has been debilitating. I'd not been able stand, walk, sit, let alone work. I've done chiro plus DRX9000 which worked wonders. But I'm not fully functional. I've seen two chiros and two neurologists and they all recommend surgery. I may be having surgery in the next few weeks. However, now I feel so much better. My mobility is better than it's ever been since this whole sciatica thing started. I have virtually no pain--no numbness, no loss in muscle strength. But like you I'm concerned that in the future the slightest movement may set this whole thing off again. I look forward to reading other spineys responses. I wish you the best in your upcoming surgery.

  • Thanks for the comments.

    paulgla, I tried to follow the link in your post but I got an access denied error.

    The surgery is a microdiscectomy, I suspect the least invasive option as the doc said that there would only be a 2cm incision. I haven't had any muscle loss that I am aware of just lack of control over my calf muscle which started about the same time as the numbness - while on vacation and did a considerable amount of walking. Prior to the numbness the pain was light. I suppose it is possible though that my pain would be more severe if the numbness was gone. That would make sense given that I have begun having a bit more pain now that some of the feeling has begun to return to the leg.

    I think that some of it is pre-surgery jitters but since I am feeling better it is just making me question the need more. I do trust the physician which is why I called today and asked his opinion. Shots weren't considered an option because the prolapse was so large that he felt that they wouldn't have much of an affect. For reference the prolapse is between L5-S1 and extends down the cavity until nearly the bottom of the S1 vertebrate.

    Again, I appreciate the thoughts and thanks for putting up with me on this.
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  • I just got off the phone w/ the doc and he said I am following the normal path for healing. He recommended that we wait on the surgery and revisit in a couple of weeks to see how I am progressing.

    I'll update the thread with how things progress.
  • I think you've made a good decision.Give yourself some time, and see how it goes.Especially if this a first episode.
    Hope it gets better w/o a surgery soon.

  • NOTE: The first TAB should go to the post button, not to the BBCode link which when clicked goes to a different page and erases all you have written.

    I just wanted to update this thread with where I am with my injury. I had an appointment with the Dr. today and he is concerned about my lost strength in my right leg. I am unable to lift myself onto the ball of my foot even one time on my right leg and because of this I walk with a pretty decent limp. He wants to see me in another 4 weeks to see if I have regained any of the strength in that calf. If I have not he will want to do the surgery as he is afraid that the longer the nerve is being pressured the more likely it is that I will not regain my strength/control of my calf muscle.

    The pain is basically all gone except for when I am taking walks or stand for longer than about 10 minutes. Even this although it is very uncomfortable it certainly isn't miserable.

    Thanks for your help and advice.

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