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Post Op Visit with NS

HaylieCatOwnerHHaylieCatOwner Posts: 117
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi All, I just had my 3 week post-op visit (after Right L5, S1 Lumbar Laminotomy, Forminotomy, and Diskectomy) with my NS, and it went well. He gave me a copy of the Operation Report. It's interesting to see the description of what he did. Here was the main part: "There was a very large extruded fragment, over a centimenter in size, compressing the ventral surface of the S1 nerve root. This was removed with a pituitary rongeur, and a large annular tear was noted."

An ANNULAR TEAR? Is that pretty common? How does that happen? I was just wondering if anyone else experienced this?

The NS said, now after almost 3 weeks post-op, that I can start bending more, and that the main thing is I can't lift more than 25 lbs for 6 months (this is a big difference to the nothing-over-8-pounds rule I have been on!). No running or jarring my back for 6 months either. Fast walking is okay. He said I should be back to "normal" in 6 months.

Otherwise, he gave me some restrictions about work (taking it slow to get back into things), but he wasn't concerned about reherination unless I lift something heavy. I was kind of surprised at how easy-going and flexible he was about me doing things. After everything I have read here and other places, I would have thought I should still be more careful.

The restrictions were pretty basic: No heels for 6 weeks, and he did say to limit driving to 30 minutes at a time. He said I can take Advil now for the pain and said the pain is expected for a month or so (the numbness in my leg and foot can last 3-4 months).

I did ask for a referral to Physical Therapy, which I have an appointment for an evaluation on Wednesday. I am hopeful that the PT will strengthen my core and help me get stronger. Does anyone have any suggestions on what else I can do to help get my strength back?

Best wishes,


  • I think that the tears are common-I know that I have several tears-in several areas of my spine (for years now).
  • I had two annular tears, also. I might have torn mine initially in a water skiing accident. they can definitely lead to DDD (degenerative disc disease) as they did on mine. glad you had a good report!
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  • Thank you for your feedback. Do you think I will have more likelihood of DDD because of the tear, or will the risk be less because they fixed it?

  • You do noy already have ddd? I thought EVERYONE had ddd! lol!
  • Hi Haylie, I think the annular tear is what allowed the disc material to escape and protrude into the spinal canal. So when the surgeon removed the protrusion he could see the tear. I too had an annular tear in my L4-5 disc. It showed on my first MRI. Then a year and a half later new MRI showed that disc was dessicated, all dried up, which means degenerative disc disease. But not really a comparision cause I had a very unstable spondylolisthesis at that level that caused the whole problem. So now I am fused and recovering nicely. Have you looked at the Chirogeek website. It just has a lot of good info to help understand disc anatomy. Check it out. It sounds like you are progressing nicely. Take care, Sue
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  • By the sounds of it from the report they just noted the annular tear - there is no way to "fix" them. I have had one - basically the disc is like a water filled tyre (or jelly doughnut if you like) - if it tears material from the disc extrudes and when it comes into contact with stuff around the disc - ie nerves - they can cause irritation. As I understood it the annular tear basically equals ddd as it is degenerative - there is no way to replace the water from the tyre (or jelly from the doughnut) and patch it up - sadly!!

  • I still have a lot to learn and wonder why my NS didn't educate me more. The NS spoke to my parents while I was in recovery; my parents say he mentioned the tear and said he "repaired it." I will check again to make sure, because that sonds impossible. I asked the NS today about complcations or things to watch for. He said only 4-5% reherniate and I don't need to worry as long as I don't lift something too heavy or have a bad fall. I'm wondering now if there is more I should know???

    Ya'll are so great--thanks for the info!

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