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S1/L5 Bulge after lamectomy discectomy surgery a year ago

petite39ppetite39 Posts: 17
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I found out today from the MRI I had done last week that I have a bulge at S1/L5. I had a lamectomy and discetomy surgery done on that same disc last year, not once but twice. My question is, How can I have a bulge in that disc if I don't have any disc material left? I just don't understand how I can have this. Any insite would be appreciated. Oh, by the way, I'm scheduled to have steroid injections, a series of 3, done on that disc to reduce the bulge.


  • During a Lami/Disc I believe that only the part that is bulged or herniated is usually removed, leaving the rest of the disc there to keep the space between the vertebrae . Usually during a fusion the whole disk may be removed. My surgeon said that once my disk herniated a third time a fusion would be the way to go and that is what happened and what I ended up having done. Hang in there.
  • With discectomies, they only remove PART of the disc material... Whatever part is spilling out... Not the entire thing. Discs can reherniate countless times.
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  • But as Julie said,usually after the 3rd time the disc comes out and fusion is performed.
    Sorry that you have to deal with this,but MicroD is not a guarantee against future bulge or herniation.
    Hope it gets better for you.
  • Perhaps my story can help.
    I also have a "broad based disc bulge/protrusion" after a micro-D 8 months ago in January. As a result, my MD ordered injections- which did very little. Then he said pain management, or a repeat Micro-D, although he was rather reluctant to perform it.

    I took myself and my MRI disc to another MD and he said I should try pain management until I couldn't live with it, at which point he would recommend an open discectomy, not another micro-D. His point, which I tend to agree with, was if it didn't work once, what makes you think it will work again? Especially with the same doctor and technique.

    He basically said that the MD can't get at much with the narrow field provided by the micro procedure. If it works, great. If it doesn't, and sometimes herniations are in difficult to reach areas, or some bone removal in the recess is required to make some room for the nerve, he likes to follow a micro-D that didn't provide complete relief with an open discectomy to get a better outcome.

    Hope that helps. I ponder his advice daily as I chew Advil. When you are no longer in agony, but in enough pain to be mostly miserable, I have found it is very difficult to go back under the knife. I looked forward to my first surgery b/c I had no decision to make- the pain was that bad. This one is much harder to schedule. And I still haven't.
  • I had an S1/L5 lamectomy and discetomy last year, now the disc is bulging and I'm schedule for a tranferaminal injection (steroid) on Wed. But a friend of mine was bed ridden for 3 months but she didn't have surgery. I was wondering if these 3 steroid injections don't work for me, do you think bed rest would?
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  • Hi. I had a lami in 12/2005..and yes they only take out the bad part of the disc..not the whole disc. I re-hernitated in 12/07. i had a series of three shots earlier this year..got some relief. Then it came back with a vengenence recently. I had another shot with no luck. I am not on tons of meds and waiting for a laser procedure and then probably an endoscopic microdisectomy in a few months. Good luck.

  • I have read your stories many times here and I realy begin to wonder what is going on.
    Surely if the disc keeps herniating then it is time to look at WHY rather then just removing it. :/
    Petite what is your spine like? Are the herniations at the same location of the disc each time? Do you have a slight curvature that needs to be addressed or are there other pressures from higher vertebrae?
    These are the questions I think you need to ask. I know surgeons are surgeons and often dont like going into detail but it seems if you have a re-occuring problem that it is time to look at the cause of it instead of just the repair job.

    Hope everything works out for you.
    Blessings Sara
  • I think you need to find out if your MRI reveals more than just a bulging disc.

    For example, when I got the original report on my MRI, I was told I had a moderate disc protrusion at L5/S1 that was displacing the left S1 nerve root. That report came from a physical medicine specialist over the phone.

    When I saw my pain management specialist for the first time, he showed me the MRI and pointed out the bulge pressing on the nerve root. After 3 rounds of ESI's, I was referred to my surgeon.

    The surgeon reviewed the MRI with me, pointing out the bulge impinging on the nerve root. However, he also noted that the disc was completely black as compared to my other discs which were lighter in color (the disc was dehydrated). He also noted signs of partial collapse of the disc space.

    In the end, he said I could do a discectomy now, but due to DDD and the condition of the disc, I would have to do a fusion within the next few years. He also said if he did a discectomy, chances were very good that another bulge would appear before doing a fusion. So, I decided to do the fusion now.

    The bottom line of this report is that you may not get the entire story from one person's interpretation of your MRI. Remember that when your MRI is ordered, the doctor provides information about what the technician should look for. In my case, the doctor said I had pain across the lower back with some radiating pain down the right leg. The disc bulge impinging the nerve root explained the pain. The disc being dehydrated and partial collapse of the disc space did not have anything directly to do with the pain, which is why they were not revealed in the original interpretation.
  • MarkR, how did your PLIF work out so far? I see it's been a month... hope you're on the road to recovery!
  • IrinchickIIrinchick Posts: 7
    edited 01/08/2014 - 11:13 AM
    I had L4/5 discectomy in July 2011 send have been fine either no pain, but in August 2013 I had my baby via a c section and since have been having sciatica pain in my left leg. Currently on morphine for my pain and just received the result of my MRI scan which says I have L4/5 disc degeneration with annular bulging and left sided posterolateral disc prolapse occupying the left lateral recess and compressing the L5 nerve root. At L3/4 there is a left lateral annular bulge with annular tear. Has anybody else had similar problems and East have you done to ease the constant pain.
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