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5 mm extrusion big enough for discectomy?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I realize many people have had discectomies on this site, however many say large or huge when speaking of their disc bulges/extrusions.
Does anyone know--is a 5mm lumbar extrusion with fragments large enough for a discectomy? My nuero reccommended this as my last choice. I have had six injections, PT, chiro, accupuncture, and massage with no relief.


  • my doctor never gave me a measurement of the herniation it is more in how it feels to you also MRI's are not extremely accurate both of mine showed minimal herniations but when he went in there they were accualy much larger.this is just my experence not medical fact.
  • What a great point. My chiro and my pain doc (injection guy) told me the same thing. That being--once surgeons get in there the bulge can be quite more than anticipated. I asked the main question from 1st post because my nuerosurgeon is very hesitant about giving me surgery because of the size of the extrusion, even with the fragment. I just wish I knew when a doc thinks it's big enough-I guess I should've asked.
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  • I asked my Dr the same thing because I had a 1 CM herniation and he said it's hard to say because everyone has a differnt siz disc space. So A 5mm might be big one one person and small on another...did I explain that right? In my case a 1 cm was HUGE...Then I had my 1st MicroD...just had my 2nd one and not sure of the size becuase he didnt even bother doing an MRI...the amount of pain I was in and my symptoms was enough for him i guess. He did tell me after surgery that it was even bigger than the 1st rupture. Hope this helps and best of luck to you.
  • It's crazy sometimes.
    There are people walking around with massive herniations that don't even know it because they have no symptoms.

    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • My opinion is that if the herniation is 5mm and you have a successful surgery you have more disc to save and live with.
    I hope everything turns out great and a speedy recovery.
    Let us know how it goes.

    Paul- I wish I was one of those people.
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  • Is the extrusion pressing on a nerve root, or is it off to the side? From the amount of pain you describe, I'm assuming you have nerve compression. In that case, I think it would be wise to remove it, given the other treatments you've tried. However -- do you have more than one level that has 'gone bad'? I had three ruptured discs. Supposedly, only one was pushing on the nerve root. I had a microdiscectomy to relieve that pain and it only worked for about six months. After that, I quickly began to fall apart again. It took two surgeries in the space of four days to fuse my three levels. I'm 11 weeks out and still miserable. I guess I'm saying, be careful what you wish for -- you may get it.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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