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Opinions/Advice on my 5th surgery coming up

JohnnyOJJohnnyO Posts: 118
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hey everybody. I met with my NS and was informed I will need surgery again, my 5th, due to another L5/S1 disc herniation. I had a discectomy at L4/L5 in May and while recovering my L5/S1 literally just slipped. I have done nothing but sit around, nothing physical, and the disc just moved and pressed right into a nerve, I didnt notice it happened but after not hardly any pain relief after three months another MRI was ordered. I am currently on oxycodone and valium for pain relief, neurontin, lyrica, and cymbalta have all not helped and I discontinued their use.

My options given to me today were a percutaneous discectomy in the hope that afterwards the L5/S1 disc will move a little and hopefully relieve pressure off the nerves causing most of my pain. I will need a discography for this and the risk that scares me is that my pain could get worse after the procedure. My second option is a fusion. My surgeon did not sound to positive on the idea because of my age and the worry of needing multiple fusions as I age, but because of how many surgeries Ive already had they believe I should consider it. The next option would be to go in there and clip the part of disc causing the problem off and hope I do not reherniate, another discectomy.

Im stuck on what to do, I am thinking of trying the percutaneous discectomy but am not too optimistic about it working. Im not too high on a fusion right now but am considering it. The discectomy is fine but I worry about reherniating especially since I have not done anything lately and still my disc moved out of a good place again. My surgeon told me that probably because the changes in my spine from my L4/L5 surgery in May caused things to move around and adjust a bit and the L5/S1 disc slightly moved out and into a bad place.

Any opinions/advice/experience is appreciated.


  • paul is write. only you can make the decison in the end.
    do as much research as you can. if the other types of surgery did not work mabye fusion is a huge option for you. just my personal opinion. my brothers all have had back surgery already and are only in their 20's and 30's.
    some of us are just dealt some not so good cards in life s you can see by my profile on the bottom }:)
    but keep hanging in there. ;)
    i can say i was very pleased with my cervical fusion.
    i have full movement and no complaints.
    my lumbar went great except i did not fuse. it took away my orginal pain though. so i will have that re done sept 17th.

    i also will probably need more surgery in the future for my back. but i lay that on the back burner and try not to think about it till it comes time. it is hereditary and nothing i can do about it. THANKS TO DAD on that one [(

    good luck on your decison on what to do.. :)))
  • I always chime in on the age posts.

    Only 22 here!

    My NS feels fusion is my only option... So the pros outweigh the cons. Chances are if they give you fusion as an option, they feel the pros outweigh the cons for you, too. If this is your 5th surgery and you haven't had a fusion yet, seems like they're taking the conservative route... It may be the only thing to fix the problem...
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  • Thanks for replying. Im now leaning on passing up the percutaneous discectomy and skipping to a regular discectomy or a fusion. Reading about it I think that it will most likely not work for me and I do not want to waste 3 month's on something I do not believe will work. My family thinks I should try discectomy one more time and then go with a fusion should something happen again. Im still not sure. This is the third time I have herniated L5/S1 and the NS's at the hospital I go to, one of the best, says that usually after a third herniation they recommend fusion, if I have a discectomy and re-herniate again there is no doubt I will have to get a fusion L4/L5 and L5/S1. Im having a tough time deciding and may have to think about it through the weekend which sucks because I wanted to get the ball rolling before the weekend.
  • sorry ur having such a hard time deciding.
    it is a HEAVY tuff thing to think about.
    just my opinion and mine only if i were in your shoes if all the others did not work. fusing may or may not take care of it. u just don't know till it is done. but personally i would head for the fusion if they keep herniating. instead of putting urself through another diskectomy again.
    its like playing a poker game.
    wish i could help more in your decsion but i know u will figure it out at some point what is the BEST for you and you only..

    keep hanging in there we r here for support if u need us!!! >:D<
  • Hi JonnyO

    2 years ago I was not too far away from where you are.
    My choices were a little different but th eprocess is much the same. Let me share with you my rationale and hindsight.

    ADR or Fusion? (bit different but bear with me)

    After weighing up more for less / less is more (recovery versus effects) I decided realistically I was likely to suffer again with my back and went for the sort it out good and proper, Fusion and no faffing around. Ok big recovery and tim eout but I hoped to claw more life back, eventaully.

    However, my story is not an instant success and shows you need to be ready for the "what if's" in case you have a hiccup like me!

    I still don't regret my surgeries and wish my surgeon would be more radical but I am only 36 and hence the reason why he is slow and sure. Meanwhile I have lost 2 years of my life, but hey! This is only temporary!

    Think carefully what you would gain and potentailly loose from each procedure. weigh up the risk / benefit.

    I never saw how old you were on the post? If you are young, you have age on your side for a recovery from Fusion.
    Good luck in your decision.
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  • I wish you lotsa luck in your upcoming surgery.

    Best Wishes,
    CHristina :)
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