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2 level laminectomy and L3/L4 microdiscectomy. Post Op 15 weeks.

MikeSaundersMMikeSaunders Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi All,

I had a 2 level laminectomy and L3/L4 microdiscectomy on 17th December.
I have had back problems since the age of about 14 (now 27) which caused referred pain in my knees, thighs and hips.
I am very active and love to keep fit. I was playing football one night and I fell hard onto my buttocks. I knew it was a hard fall as I felt the shock in my neck.
I thought I had escaped injury as later that night I took part in an intense boxing training session with no further pain.
A week later I started finding it hard to pass urine, started suffering with saddle anathsthesia and numbness and weakness in my right leg.
A few days after the symptoms started I went to A&E were the surgeon tried sending me on my way with tablets. However I knew all about spinal nerve compression and cauda equina syndrome. He still persisted in telling me I was fine, but eventually I was aditted to hospital.
I was examined by another doctor who said my ankle reflexes were absent and sent me for an urgent MRI. This showed a huge herniation of the L3/L4 lumbar disk and said that sugery should be performed the next morning.
The surgery which should have lasted 2 hours took 4 hours due to exesive bleeding. The surgeon who was brilliant told me that the op was as good as they could have hoped for and time would tell how well I recovered.
The weakness was instantly gone, the cauda equina symptoms cleared within 2 days and the numbness has almost all gone. Just a small area on my thigh and my big toe is stil numb.
I was given the all clear by the surgeon after 7 weeks of taking things VERY CAREFULLY. I am now under a physio who is renound for working with professional sportmen and women. He claimed within 6 months of steadily increasing the rehab I should make a full recovery. Training has been going really well until this week.
I have been experiencing back spasms. This causes me to lean to a side slightly and is very painful. I had these symtoms for years and I feel like this is major setback for me.
My physio is not concerned by this but has said he will keep an eye on me.
Even though I am very fit and active until recently I weighed in at 23 stone. My surgeon told me weight loss is very important and part of my rehab is weight management.
I mentioned to my surgeon at the final consultation about the possibility of disk replacement in the future but he said that was way down the line and I might not ever need it. If these problems did get worse I would avoid a fusion like the plague.
Has anyone else been through this and if so how was your recovery and how long before you was back to full contact sports.




  • I live in the US and believe the disqualifying factors for ADR may be slightly different from the UK and Europe. Sometimes having previous surgery makes it impossible for an artificial disc to be implanted because there is not enough bone to work with...but, I wouldn't know if that might be the case in your situation, or not.

    It is probably impossible for anyone to say whether you will be able to resume full contact sports without causing further damage to your back. You will need to let the microdiscectomy heal thoroughly before returning to sports or you will probably reherniate sooner rather than later. As you were told, I would think six months, at a minimum would be necessary for the disc to scab over.

  • Hello, I'm from the USA, so like Gwennie mentioned, there are different medical opinions for appropriate candidates for ADR (artificial disc replacement).

    The goal of MicroD is to avoid more invasive surgery such as ADR or fusion. I know people that have had MicroD's 10 years ago and are still ok but they have adjusted their life a bit.

    You'll want minimum of 6 months to recover but I'd lean toward a year. My personal opinion would be to really consider what your 'active' lifestyle should be post-op to avoid problems in the future. I don't think you should give up your active lifestyle, but you may want to consider small changes to reduce impact/contact type sports.

    It sounds as if your recovery is going VERY well.
    This is so encouraging and it seems you have a very good therapist!
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  • Thank you for the quick replies. My surgeon and physio are both very confident that I will be able to resume any activity I wish.
    As I mentioned my physio has worked with professional sports teams including the Great Britain Rugby League team and he told me that he has seen players come back from "much much worse" than what I have had done and resumed thier rugby careers at the highest level.
    One thing both surgeon and physio agree on though is that I must lose some weight. My goal is to get to around the 17 Stone mark which considering my build which is muscular and my height of 6' 4" which a nutritonist has told me would be ideal as my back has had to deal with 23 stone pounding the disks for the last 5 years. To be honest I don't think he will let me back to full contact till I reach this weight which I do agree with and will give me the motivation to do so.
    The only concern I have is the spasms which are easing off all the time.
    Again thank you for replying.
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