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Tear in my s3,s4,s5 L1. Has anyone had similar?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I just found out that I have a tear in my s3, s4 and s5 L1. correct me if im wrong on the last one. But I am 40 years old and am frightened to go through a surgery. I guess they will "fuse" those areas. I am also on watch, if I start feeling numbing of my legs or pee or poo on myself for no reason I must call 911. I had this injury at work and workers comp is taking care of it. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you


  • I am wondering if you meant to say L3,L4,L5 and S1?

    Have you tried any conservative treatments yet? Surgery should be the last resort after everything else has been tried and failed. Surgery holds no guarantees and sometimes brings more pain.

    Have you had at least 2 opinions on this from qualified spinal specialists?
  • No not yet. and it is the S3, S4 and another one. I will get back to you on that soon. It is tears, is that the same as a herniated disc? ALl I know is that i get these weird numbness that runs through my knee to shin area sometimes. Today it was a total of 3 times that lasted for like 2 seconds. I read up on it and I guess when your back gets aggrevated the nerves also start to do things as well.
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    There are also various degrees of tears.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I also think it may be lumbar as lumbar runs L1-L5 while the sacrum is essentially one "bone". I've never seen reference in any materials to anything beyond S1.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • I think it is l4, l5 and s1 , I could be wrong. I won't find out till Monday anyways. thanks
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  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    In 1993 I had a fusion L4-S1 with hardware. I did very well for 17 years - but do to some special spinal circumstances I'm now facing extending it to L3. I have very lax ligaments and tendons so joints (including the spine) tend to move around too much thus the further surgery I'll be having.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • I also had herniated/ruptured/torn discs from S1-L4 (and my L4/L3 is not so good either).

    I did years of PT, cortisone and physiotherapy to avoid back surgery. It is the second morst painful surgery there is. Open heart being the worst. If there are complications - you will most likely be stuck with them for life. Fusion surgery is a BIG deal and that decision is not to be taken easily or lightly.

    For me, I too was watching for CES (the loss of bladder/bowel control). When the pain got really bad and I started to have some instances of CES, I had a discogram done - to make sure that it was the discs that were giving me pain and to determine exactly WHICH ones were doing it.

    I honestly was ready to pay almost any price to stop the CES and to try and alleviate the pain. THAT's when I said 'go' to my neurosurgeon. I'm glad I waited, I'm glad I really thought it out - otherwise I may not be so cavalier about my permanent nerve damage that came about due to surgical complications.

    Best of luck.
  • Welcome and of course sorry you are here b/c obviously it means you are facing back issues.

    I have torn/herniated/ruptured L5-S1.
    For me it was an instantaneous "pop" and significant pain and couldn't stand. After a visit to the ER I had basically lost feeling in my left buttocks, back thigh and then had calve cramping (but felt it), and then numb left heel to outer toe. The disc was severely compressing the Sciatic nerve.

    MRI results should be able to show you if it is a free floating mass from the disc pressing or if it's more bulging. If it is bulging, I would ask about conservative treatments such as PT, bed rest, inversion therapy, steroids, etc. I would ask about the possibility of epidural injection.

    I didn't have a choice b/c due to the significant weakness in my left leg and numbness (numbness was partially in groin area) they were concerned that as soon as I came off the medroldose (steroid) pack, it would quickly progress and effect my bladdar/bowel.

    I had a microdiscectomy in which they remove the 'piece of disc' pressing on the nerve. If they recommend this, get a 2nd and 3rd opinion.

    If you end up needing this type of surgery, it is 'minimally invasive' but take them seriously during the 6 week recovery. Otherwise, you run a risk of reherniating the disc(s)

    Definitely watch the pain. Take it easy. I'd recommend lying flat, icing for 10 mins, and short walks. If you are sitting be in a good posture and try to limit your sitting to 20-30 mins. I'm not a doctor but listen to your body and don't do what hurts. Take care of yourself b/c if there is any chance to avoid surgery, it's worth adjusting your lifestyle to avoid the surgery.

    Let us know how your appt goes tomorrow.
  • Also, if they are quick to recommend fusion...do not take this lightly because as saltzworks says, it is a big surgery. Some doctors will tell you they do minimally invasive fusions but they should clarify the only thing minimally invasive is the incision size and less messing with muscles. The surgery is still major as they are putting screws/rods in your back and removing disc (shock absorbers).

    Even if the bones fuse and it resolves the current issue, the challenge is you have to worry about the future b/c fusions tend to put additional pressure on the vertabrae disc above/below the point of fusion. It's definitely worth doing research.

    I've been spending the last month reading b/c I've had to decide on trying a revision microdiscectomy for a re-herniated disc or fusion.
  • a fusion, L3-S1. If you can avoid having all of those levels fused, I'd really recommend other options. You will be very stiff if you have all of those levels fused. I had severe annular tears in all three levels, along with DDD, spondy, and scoliosis, so I didn't have much choice. I did, however, try all the non-invasive options first.

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