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L4-5 L5-S1 Microdiscectomy Surgery -

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13

Comments

  • Can anyone that has been through this surgery help me with questions?  Looking to compile a list to ask my Doctor as to next steps after my 2 week appointment.  What i can do, what i shouldn't do, how long, next steps in terms of rehabilitation, etc.  If anyone has any key questions they felt they wish they asked or did ask, please post them up.

  • Hi,


    I am a pretty elite athlete who competes at the professional level in cycling and was an Olympic hopeful in swimming. I had an L5S1 microdiscectomy on April 11 and am now two weeks post-op. My symptoms before surgery sound similar to yours. I went on a long training ride one Saturday and noticed some sciatic pain and foot numbness. I thought it was just a muscle spasm so sadly, I stretched and stretched which probably made it worse. The next day, my calf began to hurt like a spasm, but soon I realized it was muscle weakness.  The muscle weakness was the most alarming symptom and I knew I needed to act. 

    I had an MRI and saw three surgeons who all said surgery may be necessary - especially because of the muscle weakness. As an elite athlete, I researched alternatives and I just didn’t see an option other than surgery. I needed the nerve to be decompressed, and I didn’t want to use the “wait and see” approach because the longer your nerve is compressed, the more damage that is done. I went for surgery.

    Now I’m here, two weeks post op. My sciatic pain is mostly gone, but still lingering. I can walk a few steps on my toes which is an improvement for the calf strength which gives me hope. As an athlete like yourself, I have come to the conclusion that getting the surgery and having the nerve decompressed was the best option to help my calf. I do think the recovery will be long, but I did not want to risk having that nerve continue to be pinched.

    Hope my story helps!

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  • rymaggirrymaggi Posts: 15
    edited 04/30/2018 - 10:08 PM

    Hi Anna,

    Thanks for sharing your story.  I just passed the two week mark and had my first day back at work.  My muscle weakness in my calf is still there and the doctor told me to start working on getting it back through assisted heel raises.

    Hopefully we will both recover and regain strength so we can get back to doing the things we love.  Unlike myself, it sounds like you acted quick which puts you in a good position to regain everything.  Sadly myself, I'm not so optimistic, however my doctor is...

  • rymaggirrymaggi Posts: 15
    edited 04/30/2018 - 10:18 PM

    Also, little update.

    I've returned to work.  Feeling like i never had surgery for the most part.  I find myself doing normal things like bending, twisting, leaning as i have zero pain feedback, but i know i'm not supposed to so i try to catch myself.  Sitting is a non-issue, i can sit as long as i want and i feel zero sciatica pain.

    The incision is about 95% healed, but i still have swelling underneath it.  In the morning it's not bad but the more i do throughout the day the worse the swelling gets.  Even above the incision, sometimes there is a bump or two, like defined round bumps.  I asked my doctor at my 2 week post opp appointment and he said it was completely normal.  Scheduled to see him again at the end of the month which i will give another update.

    Currently, I have zero sciatica pain, i get little ghost sensations almost, but i think it's just from being tight in the muscles, but i'll feel it into my ankle and foot.  It's not painful it just grabs my attention for a split second. The entire back of my calf is still not able to be flexed, when i try it looks like its trying to take shape but is still semi-soft to the tough where as my other calf is rock solid.  Currently trying to work on it throughout the day.  My lower left glute also does not flex what so ever, i try to laugh at it cause you can clearly tell, its more giggly than jello.  Wonder if i will ever be able to squat again.

    I'm back to sleeping like i used to which is nice, mornings i feel completely fine as well.  Still extremely happy i received the surgery, but still mad i didn't do it sooner/not being granted an MRI 3 years ago while i was under the Obamacare insurance.  They denied me three times with all the symptoms mentioned in my original post.

    Does anyone know what the typical timeline is to return to the gym?  I've lost a lot of muscle mass and am ready to return to meal prepping and lifting again.  I'm guessing 2nd month?

  • Don't get back to gym before 4 months mark

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  • @rymaggi

    It is really important that you stick to the things your surgeon or medical team told you to avoid.

    I had to have physiotherapy before anything like a gym was even mentioned.  I was set my first appointment at 3 weeks and the physio said it was too early and just checked I was doing the three small exercises the physio at the hospital had set for me to do.  She then made an appointment for me for 5 weeks from memory, but even then, we did very little and concentrated on perfecting the exercises set at the hospital.

    It would be vest to check with your medical team about sitting for long periods of time as I was told to only perch for 6 weeks and that my disc would be at risk of re-herniating up to 3 months while it healed.

    It is very easy to feel better and then push yourself but please do this under the guidance of your surgeon.

    Really good news that you have had a success surgery and you are pain free.

    Take care

    AJ

    AJGormit
    Spine-Health Moderator
    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    L5/S1 herniation Apr 2013
    nerve root injections Oct 2013
    L5/S1 discectomy Jan 2014
    L5/S1 nerve roo &, facet joint injections & edpidural Jan 2015
    L5/S1 revised discectomy, L4/L5 discectomy & Wallis Inswing Stabilisation L4/L5 May 1st 2015
    L4-S1 TLIF with decompression June 2017
  • The link may be useful for questions to your medical team :-

    Recovery, the most important phase

    Take care

    AJ

    AJGormit
    Spine-Health Moderator
    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    L5/S1 herniation Apr 2013
    nerve root injections Oct 2013
    L5/S1 discectomy Jan 2014
    L5/S1 nerve roo &, facet joint injections & edpidural Jan 2015
    L5/S1 revised discectomy, L4/L5 discectomy & Wallis Inswing Stabilisation L4/L5 May 1st 2015
    L4-S1 TLIF with decompression June 2017
  • Thanks Aj.  I am now 4 weeks and feel completely fine. 6 week appointment on memorial day.  Haven't had any issues at all.

  • And, my incision looks great.  Completely healed.  No more inflammation.  And i take nothing for pain, only ibuprofen if i get a headache.  I do feel the incision when im driving.  When at work in my $800 chair i'm completely fine, i sit all day, no issue.  I do stand when i feel like it, but when i stand i do hunch over so i just sit straight up


    I have no zero progress in my numb foot, ankle, butt, hamstring.  Still completely numb and maybe can get a 20% flex out of those locations.

  • Will update after memorial day weekend.

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