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l5/s1 microdiscectomy recovery


I am a 44 yr old male. I am average build. I had disc herniation in l4/l5 l5/s1 with a foot drop and acute radicular pain. mri revealed disc herniation at l4/l5 and l5/s1 with narrowing of spinal canal and disk rupture at l5. i had microdiscectomy and it has been about 5 weeks post operation. two days ago i started getting the symptoms that led up to the operation back, pain down the back of the legs and growing lower back pain. I have not lifted any weights or bent over and avoided all the things that I was warned about. There is also weakened power of my right toe and a pain down my right scrotum. Can anyone tell me the possibility of reherniation over this period. Also the doctors recommending continuing with physiotherapy and regular mobilisation being doused with pain killers. I do not feel comfortable doing this, but my six weeks of post operative leave is also coming to an end. Should I insist on a second MRI scan. Any help in this regard will be helpful.



  • How much relief did you feel over the last 5 weeks? I would be curious to see a new MRI

  • I am 5 days post-op minimally invasive micodiscectomy to remove large disc fragment from L4/5. Disc was removed and doctor was very certain no other "debris" was in the spinal canal. Also said the L4/5 point of origin was already healed fairly well. He said I should expect a complete recovery (I know).

    Surgery instantly relieved all sciatica. Now on day 5, my leg is feeling numb from thigh to calf. Not pain, and not consistently. Only while I'm at work (sitting down mostly).

    Would love to hear an update from you on your situation

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  • I have had 3 microdiscectomies. After the first I felt little but a year later it started again and it led me to my second one. After the second one I got excruciating pain 10 days later and got an emergency MRI which showed that I had herniated again ( all at the same level). I am now 7 weeks past the last one and 3 weeks past I experienced the same leg pain and  got another MRI which showed just scar tissue. Since last week my lower back is really painful but I'll see what happens.

    In your case it sounds more like scar tissue as it slowly gets worse? But only an MRI can tell you for sure.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,434

    Five weeks post surgery is still not a very long time.  Please read Recovery, the most important phase - Patience

    So many people after disc surgery have various pains, some the same as before surgery, new ones afterwards.  People rush to think that they re-herniated their disc.   Yes, thats always a possibility, but I would say 100% of the members here that thought that they did, in fact did not.  Its not that easy to re-herniated the disc.  That assumes you follow all the rules, limitations, restrictions that were given to you.  And it sounds like you did do that.

    But since you are concerned, contact your surgeon to discuss it with them.  They will be in a better position to determine if any diagnostic test needs to be done.   Remeber, its the insurance companies that have the final approval on all diagnostic tests.  So, by saying should you insist on a mri, its the doctor that has to provide the proper  rationale and justification to the insurance companies, so that it could be approved.

    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
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