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Discectomy Advise

so over itsso over it Posts: 51
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery


I have been dealing with back pain for 12 years and the last four have been the toughest. I am "So Over It". I was scheduled for surgery today (Posterior Lumbar Fusion) and my insurance denied it and gave an alternative for a Discectomy..Currently my L4/L5 disc is torn which is the root cause of my pain. I am inquiring to see who can share info on the Discectomy experience. Specifically:

Local or General Anethesia
Inpatient or Outpatient

Any and all information would be greatly appreciated.

Thank for listening.



  • Welcome to the site! :D

    First of all, you have a great bunch of people who have been through everything I could ever imagine. There are also some great stickies up at the top of the page with all kinds of great information.

    My story, I had a discectomy/laminectomy at the l4/l5 & l5/s1 levels. Went in and did paperwork at 5:00a.m, wheeled into the surgical room at 7:20a.m. and woke up at 9:45a.m. I was back home and in my own comfy bed by 6:00p.m that same night.

    They put me out completely, outpatient. Recovery time? I was back to work (desk job) at the 4 week mark, though if I really needed to I could have been back a week earlier, though I personally wish I would have stayed out until the 6 week mark.

    At 17 weeks I'm doing pretty dang good. All my nerves have come back to life, and I can feel my leg and toes for the first time in 6 months. I also went through approximately 7 weeks of physical therapy, which I highly recommend to everyone.

    My only problem right now, well 2 actually, I broke my big toe which prevents me from walking as much as I want to, and when I lay down flat on my back for a extended period of time it takes time for me to get my back warmed up.

    Other than that, doing great. Wish I didn't have to have the surgery, but I am so glad I did the procedure. :))(

  • I had my diskectomy on Thursday Jan 10, 2008. I was put out completely. I was at the hospital at 5:30 am, surgery at 8:00 am, home in bed by 2:00 pm. Thru Sunday was pretty tough, but Monday I was done taking my pain pills. =D> By Friday I was out to dinner for my mother in laws birthday, and Saturday I was walking around a new home complex for my sister. <:P <br />
    The bad news is, since then I have further collapsed and need a fusion. :''( Keep in mind I was supposed to have a fusion too rather than a diskectomy back in January, but because of my weight, and the fact that my doctor prefers to do fusions from the front, they did the somewhat emergent diskectomy because of what the herniation was doing to my legs/nerves. They couldn't risk waiting for me to lose the weight.

    There is a good chance the diskectomy can do the trick for you, and you may not need the fusion after all. But I have one word of advice for you that is so important - Do not, I repeat, do not, do too much right after your surgery. You will feel much better, and feel capable of doing a lot more than you are used to right now. Whatever the doc tells you to do, or not to do, follow his orders. I was doing way too much too soon, and can't help but think that might be why I collapsed further. :<

    Take care,


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  • I cannot imagine doing a fusion just for a torn disc. I am not surprised your insurance denied it. For something like that they should DEFINITELY start off small. Going straight to fusion for that is jumping the gun. You should for sure start with the discectomy. No reason to put your body through a fusion unless it's your last resort! Fusion is MAJOR, MAJOR surgery. Go for the discectomy.... You may be pleasantly surprised!

    I had a MicroD, general anesthesia, outpatient, recovery took me a few days, but I ended up having a fusion 4 months later, since once they opened me up and looked at my disc, they found it was completely dry and useless, and told me it wasn't a herniation, but degenerative disc disease. So, if it were just a herniation I probably would have been fine... I felt good for about 2 weeks. Then it was downhill from there.

    Wish ya only the best!
  • I had 2 microdisc and my stay was overnight both times. After about four days off pain meds but those days were rough. :jawdrop: :jawdrop: I went back to work in 6 weeks both times =D> =D>
  • Thank you so much for the information. I have another appointment with my surgeon on 11/11 so I really wanted to educate myself to the procedure and other options as well.
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  • was on Sept. 5, inpatient, arrived at hospital at 5:45, surgery at 7:30 to about 9:00, home by noon the next day. Stopped taking pain meds the day after I got home. Back to work the next week (for just a few hours) and built up from there. Back is doing fine, still some numbness in the right foot. For me, fear of the unknown was the hardest part. The surgery took care of the super-intense pain and from then on, life is good. I wish you all the best.

  • Hi there,

    Here are a few comments on my own MicroD procedure that I had in Jan08 at L4L5:

    General anaesthestic, op took >2 hours due to disc fragments tangled in the sciatic nerve.

    Came round in the recovery room with NO LEG PAIN!

    Had 2 night stay in hospital due to low blood pressure.

    Some soreness at incision site but felt more like I had been kicked hard in the back rather than the awful nerve pain I had previously.

    Had 2 weeks recovery at my parents place to gradually learn what I could lift, was off pain killers after about 7-10 days.

    After 2 weeks went home with my 2 kids (at the time 7 months old and 2 years old) being a full time Mum.

    Now, 9 months on I am doing fantastic and apart from the odd bit of foot numbness and stiffness in the lower back if I haven't done my stretches for a while I am 100% pain free.

    Good luck with your appointment, and wishing you every success for your operation.


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