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Microdisectomy advice..please

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,208
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I was recently recommended for a discectomy(sp?) @ L5 S1 after conservative treatments have been unsuccessful...these include:
1. giving myself time to rest and allowing the pain to reside
2. physical therapy(couldn't walk for two weeks after second visit)
3. pharmaceutical treatment Naprosyn, predisone and Vicodin--got me a trip to the ER following three days of severe nausea & vomiting--diagnosed with severe gastritis from the combination of medications

After researching the surgery I am leaning toward having it done. I'd really appreciate some advice on the following questions.
1. I was told I should have the surgery within six months of the herniation in order to have the best results… true or undue pressure from the surgeon?
2. I am a kindergarten teacher and the mother of two..is the four week return to work/household duties reasonable?
3. I have read in more than one place that this surgery will help buttock/leg pain (sciatica) but not back pain?? In addition to the back pain I have a lot of pain at the base of my spine. This pain affects my quality of life, is it true that the surgery will not help this pain? If not, is there a better option?

I apologize for the length of this post, I'm trying to process all of this in order to make and informed decision before making such a big decision. I am so grateful for any information you could give. THANKS!


  • different on their recovery time. I think that alot depends on what kind of shape that you are to begin with. I have had a failed endoscopic microD last year. It did help my leg/butt pain for the most part but I do have back pain, trouble sitting, standing, walking. I also have arthritis of the facet joints so it is hard to say what it may help in your case. I was not even able to lift my right leg for 3 months. But, mine was radical meaning that most of the disc was removed. I did read a post the other day from somebody that said that they felt better and had great pain relief immediately after microD. So I would think that it will be best to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Good luck to you and please keep us posted.
  • I have done the microdisectomy of L4-5 on 29 Aug.
    pre-op I cannot move my left foot.
    I can walked to toilet after 24 hours
    I can walked for 15 min after 1 weeks
    I can walked for 30mins after 4 weeks
    i cannot band my back even now. I can do many thing if not to band the back.
    taking care of children will ofter band the back, that the problem.
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  • https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/back-surgery/microdiscectomy-spine-surgery-risks-complications-and-success-rates

    welcome to sh.
    i just posted a link for you on microdiscectomy surgery.
    yes there are sucess stories out there and re herniation stories. you will read and hear it from both sides.

    you can also look up more information on other procedures by clicking the treatment link at the top of the page.

    sorry your in this position.
    l5/s1 is the most common for injury to the back. you would not believe the people i run into that say "oh yeah i had that surgery" whether it be fusion or the micro.

    what type of pain do you have in your lower back?
    deep burning pain all the time? (like heartburn but in your back)
    sharp pain? shooting stabbing pain?

    as for the questions asked there are no answers till the surgery is done and over with. as each patient reacts and recovers at a different speed.

    we are here to give you all the support needed. we are not qualified to give you medical advice or any medical diagnosis. we can give as much personal experience as we know how.

    hang in there. get the drs appt. discuss all your options.
    if you are not happy with the 1st always get a 2nd if able due to circumstances. they either will have the same view or two totally different views.

    in your case as being a mom and a teacher i would want the lower back pain gone. of course after having 3 spinal surgeries myself. the pain does not go away completley, but even just a 50 percent chance is fine with me.

    we are here to support you through your journey so any questions we may be able to help with ask away.
    and your post was not long. i am the queen of long posts :d
    dull ache??
  • I just had a L5-S1 microdiscectomy 9/15, so I am 4 weeks post op. Here's my timeline:

    First MRI confirmed herniation 12/07. Mainly buttock and lower back pain. Did Pysical therapy for 2 months and took it easy. Back to normal activities (I am very active and played ice hockey 3 times per week after PT).

    Reinjured in June 08, this time my pain was mainly in the back of the leg and upper calf, with occasional burst down to my foot. Also, my leg became tingly and numb at times and was noticeably weaker in a calf raise test. Took it easy and then back to PT in July for a month. Received epidural injection in July with no success. Leg pain kept getting worse despite my PT efforts. Had Micro surgery 9/15.

    Post op, my leg pain was 85% gone. Naturally, I was very stiff and uncomfortable, but was happy the leg pain was virtually gone. I still have some pins and needles in my leg, and the pain still comes and goes for short spurts. But nothing like before. The strength in my calf lift seems to be improving, but still not all the way there.

    I was back to work for 1/2 days in week and a half. Full days in 3 weeks. Driving in one week and walking about 2 miles per day right now (cumulative). Sitting is still very uncomfortable after about 20 minutes, and so is standing still. Also not recommended to do either of those for very long for proper healing.

    I am not a doctor, but both my surgeon and physical therapist seemed much more concerned about leg symptoms than back symptoms. As for the surgery. Well, if I had it to do over again, In hindsight, would have stayed away from playing hockey longer than I did after the 1st injury, and I may have been able to avoid the surgery all together. That aside, I'm glad I did the surgery when I did and so far I feel much better.

    Sorry for the long winded response, Tony
  • Hi

    From the time my pain started and the time I got surgery, 9 months had elapsed. In that time, my right calf and leg shrank an inch and a half(I never noticed it).
    The longer the nerve is compressed, the longer it will take to recover. It took many months post-op for the leg symptoms to go away. The nerve took time to forget the compression. (sometimes they never forget....permanent damage)
    I was told by the doctors that having the nerve compressed the way mine was for 9 months was borderline too long.

    I was half-way decent at 3 weeks, but my procedure was outpatient and very very minimally invasive. No bone/ligament/muscle cutting was done.

    90% of my pain was in the low back. The procedure got rid of it.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
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  • Thanks to all for your advice and support. I've posted a new set of questions after my second opinion appointment, maybe you could take a look?
  • I went through a micro D in November of last year on L5 S1 and it was just an outpatient surgery. ( I asked to stay overnight so I didn't have to deal with my house of craziness)
    I took 2 week off from work, I am a teachers aid for 1st and 2nd grade special ed program. After 2 weeks, I was back to work and teaching full time. I was sore, but I took it easy when I came home, iced and took my meds. I also have a 10 and 7 year old and they were great! (of course they were 9 and 6 at the time)
    The surgery was a success until I had a major asthma attack and herniated it all again, it was a bad attack! Other than that, all was going well. I just had a level 2 ALIF on September 25th.
    I always say, do what is best for you! Get all the opinions you need to feel comfortable with your decision making process! It's your body!

    Take care!
  • Hey ebkteach.
    I have had a similar rate of success as Tony reported. I herniated L5-S1 disc on 7/26. Had PT, steroid paks and 2 ESI's until finally undergoing microdisc on 10/9. I also have a 6 year old and need to get back to being an active dad so was willing to jump into recovery surgery even only after 10 weeks of dealing with it. Needless to say the pain was 85% gone when I woke from the 1.5 hour surgery. I am on my way back to full recovery at 6 days post op and am VERY glad to have not waited too long to have the surgery. I still have lingering leg/calf/butt pain but am convinced this will terminate in a few weeks after resting and walking alot. It WILL get better. Make sure your surgeon does this every day as a career and is well researched and respected. Good Luck!
  • levels L4-5, 41 years old

    1. have been dealing with it off and on since 1997 and wondering why it took me so long to get it taken care of.

    2. 4 weeks is very reasonable to teach...staying on your feet will help you.

    3. I had serious pain at base of spine too. Was told it may not help....well, I was informed wrongly. That pain has gone away as well.

    Don't listen/believe to everything you hear...your body/mind knows what's right for you...listen to it!!! Wished I would have quite a bit earlier.

    Best wishes in your road to being pain free
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