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Microdiscectomy in 2-3 weeks.

phenom34pphenom34 Posts: 27
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Ive been having hell with an l5-s1 herniation for the past year. Mainly sciatica which hasn't been too bad lately and numbness, particularly in the genitals.

I am kind of getting nervous thinking about it as it gets near. I have went through many doctors and finally found a surgeon that I like and he has done miracles on two people I know. Ive done every single conservative treatment under the sun.

I am just wondering if anyone had one of these and had genital numbness prior. Did it fix your condition? My surgeon said it was common and will likely go away.

I am just worried that waiting all this time may have caused permanent damage and the surgery wont do anything to fix it. Although, I was just following doctors advice to wait it out and try conservative treatments.

What will recovery be like? He is planning on doing a percutaneous microdiscectomy which sounds like the least invasive surgery possible.


  • Unfortunately, no one can really answer your question about possible nerve damage, including the physicians. But you will not influence the outcome by worrying about it. The usual statement is the longer the nerve is compressed, the greater the chance for permanent damage, but we can all think of examples of someone who ended up with permanent damage in a matter of a couple weeks. There are also plenty of cases where people waited years and had no damage....

    It is always a good idea to try all the conservative treatments prior to thinking about surgery, but it sounds like you gave it all a good try, and it is time to move on. The majority of patients get good results from a discectomy. The important thing is your behavior after the operation.

    The biggest problem surgeons have is in trying to impress about their patients that they must follow their instructions immediately after surgery. Many feel more-or-less pain-free for the first time in months/years and just can't wait to do all the things they have not bee able to do. As a result, they do too much and end up living to regret it...causing a flare-up or even a reherniation.

    The first three weeks after surgery are really critical. It will be important for you to remember to restrict activities that involves bending at the waist, twisting, lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk, reaching overhead or to the side (move your body rather than trying to reach for something). Also avoid riding very far in a car at the beginning. Road vibrations and anything that is bumpy or jarring is also hard on the discs.

    Hopefully your surgeon will be able to decompress that nerve and you will be feeling better soon.

    Did you read through the "stickie" note near the top of the page entitled "Post surgery Must-Haves?" It is a good idea to think about what you will need post-surgery so you are prepared.

  • no one can tell you. I have read that at 10 months the damage is permanent but not sure.

    I think the questions to ask are how successful does your doctor think the surgery will be? Has he looked at the quality of your disc and the disc height?

    I'm asking b/c I had a microdiscectomy on L5-S1 and it was bad (the day I felt it, I lost feeling in 1/2 my buttocks, back of left leg, left heel to outer toe, and a little in the groin area.

    I never really got better from the surgery b/c I re-herniated the disc early on but they wanted to wait 6 weeks before re-MRI'ng me.

    Now doctors are looking at the overall health of the disc and space, etc. to determine if revision surgery will work.

    They have told me that they think my nerve is still within the timeframe to regain some feeling. I've been told it is doubtful my foot reflex will come back. They did warn me that if I experiece a 3rd hernation, the nerve may not withstand the hit and further more the bones might collapse the nerve which will cause permanent damage.

    It sounds like the right next step but one thing I wish I had done is get pre surgery X-rays to look at disc space and bone structure. From this, if you re-herniate, they can actually see comparison to before and after and 2nd after.

    Good luck.

    I've heard many folks have good outcome with the microD's.
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  • My doctor said that while he can't make promises he is optimistic that I will regain most if not all sensation. He said he's seen many similar cases and he has had good results.
  • is probably true based on national statistics.
    The failure rate is actually only 5-10% I believe (US). That's why I recommended asking him for information about disc quality compared to your other discs and disc height compared to your other discs. While this is not a predicter, it's good to get the baselines in the event you have issues in the future.

    The surgery's success rate is high and most folks seem to get leg pain relief and once that nerve is free, I'm told that by week 6 you will feel good and have to 'stop' yourself from over doing it.

    Keep us posted!

  • He said disk height is down a bit and that disk is pretty much shot as the nucleus has been displaced. The rest of my disks are in great shape.

    It is pretty obvious that there is pressure on the nerve root/displacement of it from the disk. He thinks that getting rid of the bulge will let it go back in place and be relieved of pressure. I may see an improvement immediately or within a short time span he thinks.
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  • That's great that he gave you this information. This way you have it if you need it (which hopefully you won't) in the future.

    Keep us posted.
    I will strongly urge you take it easy per doctors orders. You will feel good shortly after the surgery (or better) but don't be "brave" by over-doing it. Be cautious and remember you are worth pampering for a good recovery!

  • I had this done and will encourage you to read the sticky titled post op must haves. Not being able to twist or bend will mean that you may need some help with personal hygiene among other things.

    I also had the percutaneous laser disc surgery. I was totally unprepared for my recovery which really made things much worse.

    My leg pain did get worse before it got better. It took 1 full year for the nerve to heal. The longer that it is compressed the longer it will take to heal. It is really hard to say that you will fit into any category of statistics. Everyone is so different that it is impossible to say where you might fall.

    The best advice that I can give you is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
  • Did you have any numbness along with the pain? Did the numbness heal?
  • numb. I do have numbness in my tailbone that gets worse when sitting but I don't think that it was related.

    try not to worry too much about it. If your doc has seen many cases like yours and the numbness went away that is a good sign.

    Good luck to you and keep us posted.
  • I had a microdiscectomy on L5-S1 4 weeks ago yesterday. It has worked out great so far. Prior to the surgery, I had pain in my hip and calf along with a numbness and tingling in my left foot. The doctor did the surgery in his office operating room. I was in surgery for an hour and recovery for an hour before I went home. I was told to do nothing except walk 10 minutes 3 times a day and gradually walk for longer periods. I had hip pain in the morning for about a week after the surgery for a short while and a tingling in my foot for a couple of weeks. I still have 2 weeks to go of taking it easy but all seems to be back to better than normal. I had prior back injuries from an accident 40+ years ago and they told me it wouldn't help that problem but it has. I can walk and stand much better than I have been able to for the last 25 year. The main thing to do is to follow the doctor's orders and not overdo anything.
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