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surgery next week? have lots of ?'s

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I saw my dr. this morning and got my MRI results. I have another herniation L5/S1. The spot that was repaired in my 1st surgery looks good, but the new herniation is small but protruding way out directly on the nerve. I'm having an epidural in the morning, but he wants me in for surgery next week if I'm not better quickly. I'm all for it because I can barely walk and am competely miserable.

Here are some questions:
To those of you who have had 2 discectomies, has the recovery been similar each time?

My dr. talked about removing the jelly stuff from the disc. What's that all about? Where can I learn more about this? What's that procedure called? What are the implications of having that done? How does the spine stay stable after that? I could go on and on with questions.

If you have any experience or knowledge about this, please point me in the right direction.


  • Hi toi

    First welcome to the forum. I'm sorry you are suffering so much. All the question can be answered either on this site or Back.com. These are the sites i visited before my surgeries and they helped me so much. Each person in this site has suffered as much or more then you and they do care that you are suffering even tho they do not say so. Your doctor can and should answer all your questions even tho they say they don't have the time.

    I wrote a list of question "three pages" and handed them to my doctor the night before the surgery when everyone came to my room to meet me. You should have seen their faces! :jawdrop: I don't think very many people have done this to them. I had them speak to me in terms that i could understand and i took notes so i wouldn't forget.

    Hang in there and i hope you get your questions answered.
    Evelyn :H
    Had PLIF in 2008 and a Laminectomy. One level fusion, L4-L5.
  • Thanks for the reply. I figured that I could find all of the answers on this site. However since I'm not familiar with the site or exactly what to search, I'm not coming up with anything useful. I hope that someone who has been in this situation can point me in the right direction.

    Also, my dr. is fantastic and great about answering questions. But I do think it's very important for me to educate myself. I have a 1 and 3 year old to take care of and need to get prepared for this asap.
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  • :) hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i am sorry you are facing surgery but getting prepared and having your questions answered is very important to a good recovery. check out the "Back and Neck surgery" forum for info on what you need after your surgery. it will help ensure you start your recovery right. check the top of the forum page under "Treatments" for good info on your surgery with pics. also check out the"Good News" forum for a read on successful SH surgeries. others will be by to help you i am sure. i always want to mention that a bottle of the "dry shampoo" which doesn't require water will help keep your hair manageable for a few days if you can't shower. good luck and keep us informed. Jenny :)
  • Hi toi,
    I had to have two lami/discectomies at L5/S1 (16 months apart) for reherniation. The actual surgical procedures were exactly the same for me with both surgeries. I hope all goes well and you are feeling better soon :)
  • but I had my diskectomy at L5 S1 in January. Felt good for about a month and a half, then the old pain started to come back. Basically, my disk fully collapsed and now I need a fusion.

    I had a 11 milimeter herniation which is huge. Basically, all the "jelly" from my disk blew out. If I wasn't overweight, I would have had the fusion then. But my doc prefers the anterior approach. He told me the diskectomy might do the trick. He did the diskectomy because of what the herniation was doing to my nerve, instead of waiting for me to lose the weight. Well almost a year later, I have not lost all of the weight, and just switched insurances, so I am starting all over again.

    Anyway, point is, the diskectomy might work out perfectly for you. Everybody's body is different.

    I hope the second surgery fixes you, I really do. But don't be surprised if down the road you ultimately need a fusion. I'm assuming it's the same level that you need the diskectomy on? If not, and it's small, I would imagine there is a good chance that is all you will need. :)

    The "jelly" is called the nucleus. I wondered how I could possibly avoid a fusion when he was going to scrape out the remainder of the disk, just like you. He told me that scar tissue forms, and ultimately the body may fuse itself.

    PM me if you want. :D

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  • I am a 47 year old male and I have had 2 discectomies on L5-S1. The first was in 1997 and the second in 2000. My recovery time for the 2nd surgery was a little longer, due to the fact that the surgeon had scar tissue from the first surgery to deal with.

    I hope this is helpful and good luck with your upcoming surgery.

  • Thanks for the information! It is really helpful. And caityc, I may pm you after I have some time to think about all of this.

    I had an epi with contrast today. I refused all sedation, so I feel good except for my leg being numb. My dr. said if I'm not significantly better by Friday, he wants surgery next week. I'm glad he's moving fast, but it gives me little time to educate myself.

    Anyway, I really appreciate your comments and info.!!!!!!!
  • Great to see you here, I am glad to see you are finding the site helpful!

    How is the epidural working out, is it giving you major relief or is it too soon to know?

    Take care

  • Epi is giving some relief, very good relief. However, I still can't walk anywhere close to normal and the numbness is still there. Soooooooo, I'm not sure where my dr. is going to draw the line between surgery and no surgery. I certainly can't function like this. But at least it's not intolerable now.
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