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Fusion or Disc Replacement? Anyone have input?
I used to be a member on the old forum and just re-registered today.
34 year old male. Played impact sports when I was younger (football). Herniated disc at L4/L5 about 2 years ago with full left leg numbnes and loss of bladder control.
Had first "MicroD" on L4/L5 in March 2007
Had second "MicroD" on L4/L5 in July 2008
Past few weeks I've been feeling numbness in left leg and foot with some pain in my left side. Also have some throbbing pains in my left groin which is not good because that was the major problem before the 2nd surgery.
Had an MRI today and got the images burned to a CD Rom. Looked at the pics and it appears that there is a herniation again at L4/L5. I'm no radiologist....but it's quite easy to see. The herniation isn't as big as prior ones (perhaps that's because there isn't enough disc left to protrude) bit even a layman like me can see it.
My surgeon hasn't seen the images yet, but I have an appointment with him on April 20th...so we will see what the deal is then.
In the meantime, I figure I better start preparing mentally for the 3rd surgery. Surgeon told me if I herniate again, we can't do another microdisectomy and it's going to have to be a fusion or artificial disc replacement.
What's the general consensus on these ADRs? I've accepted the fact that I'll never play golf or other sports again, so I'm not too concerned with the reduced range of motion with a fusion. As long as I can walk and perhaps swim I would be a happy fellow.
Most doctors I talk to (I'm a sales rep that visits with doctors on a daily basis) tell me to go for the artificial disc....but I'm worried that it could dis-lodge and going in to correct it could be a major surgery in itself.
Is a fusion really that bad? Anyone on here with a fusion that has trouble bending over to put on shoes and underwear due to fusing the joint?
Any input is appreciated.