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Is surgery required? 13mm fragment L5/S1

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm writing for my husband...

He's had on and off numbness from his right buttock down his leg and middle toes. An MRI revealed 3 herniated disks but only one causing a problem, the L5/S1. This one has left a 13mm free fragment lodged against his spinal cord and nerve ending. Also, the disc has an additional fragment hanging from it. He's no longer a candidate for the Xclose to repair the tear and the surgery, because of the fragment location, would require two bone pieces to be removed and an open incision of about 2 inches. The dilemma is that he is really doing quite well and is still working. He's able to walk without a limp the majority of the time and only sometimes complains about pain. No special pain medication is needed. Even the numbness sometimes goes away. The NS recommended surgery. To make matters worse, his job area is very laborous so a good back is necessary. Is surgery inevitable? What if he waits until it progresses? Should he even wait? Will alternative treatments help at all?



  • Hello Heddid, welcome to SH. You have found a great site full of a wealth of information and support. We are not surgeons here and therefore can just give you our experiences and opinions. That sounds like a huge protrusion. The spinal canal is rather small. The question I would ask is what will happen if he doesn't have the surgery? Is he at risk for cauda equina syndrome with the level being L5-S1? Sometimes waiting can lead to permanent nerve damage. No one can definitely be sure, but your surgeon is the best resource for this. Good-luck, Sue
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