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Do I need microdiscectomy? (sciatica+leg drop+numbness+leg muscle weakness)

Hi friends,

Thanks for accepting me into your community.

I have had back pain for the last 8 years.

Had one L5-S1 microdiscectomy about 6 and half years back which was successful. Since my first surgery, I was more or less doing good with occasional episodes of back pain which went away with exercises, pain killer and muscle relaxant.

I had a L5-S1 disk reherniation about a month back. 

L5-51 interval new right far lateral disc extrusion descending from disc level measuring 1.5 x 1.1 x 0.7 cm with obliteration of the right lateral recess in the area of descending right S1 newe root with mildly engorged swollen appearing right S1 nerve root.

2 weeks back, I developed plantar flexor foot drop where I am unable to do a right-leg only toe raise i.e. I can't lift my body using just my right foot. I can walk on both heels though. Right ankle reflex is gone. 

Also, my right upper glutes don't become tight all the way like they used to until a few days back. I feel my upper glutes are weaker in the last couple of days.

Numbness along the buttock, back of the thigh, calf and the small toes. The pain moves a lot from buttock, back of the thigh, calf muscla and foot and sometimes lower back though most of the time it stays at buttock and back of the thigh.

My SLR is about 45 degrees and when I raise my leg, it trembles around 45 degrees. Probably a weak hamstrings.

My balance on my right foot isn't good. Sometimes, I lose my balance but haven't had a fall yet.

I got an ESI (epidural steroid injection) about 3 days back. Doesn't seem to have helped much. Gabapentin 300mg 2-3 times a day helps me a lot.

Do I need surgery? Will the muscle weakness/numbness get cured without surgery?

Thanks for reading.



  • LizLiz Posts: 9,745
    edited 02/18/2019 - 5:00 PM

    hello kallu 

    welcome to spine health

    there are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice. what is the opinion of your doctor?

    all new members should take the system tutorial


    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • kallu- As Liz said nobody here can or should make any decision for you, surgery is a very personal decision that should be between you and your doctor, most doctors will try to avoid surgery with conservative treatments, sometimes they work sometimes they don't, but you know you tried everything you could to avoid surgery.

    Veritas-Health Moderator

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  • Thanks @Liz, @challenger,

    Does anyone know of cases similar to mine where the muscle weakness will resolve on its own?

    I met a neurosurgeon last week. He is out this week and wanted to see how the ESI helps (doesn't seem to have helped since it was administered 3 days back)

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