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Got my results from the discogram...

medic008mmedic008 Posts: 13
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:48 AM in Lower Back Pain
Just as I thought I have severe DDD in my lower back. L3-4,L4-5, and L5-S1 are SEVERELY degenerated. The Dr was thinking decompression before the discogram, and now not so much. My discs are compressed to less than 15%of original height. So he couldn't fit the cannula in the disc for decompression. I also have severe arthritis in the facet joints and something else that I can't remember, I have to get a copy of the report.

So the Dr was thinking of doing facet injections in the mean time to help give me some relief. And he was also talking about a SCS. That, I am not too sure about.

I asked about any type of surgery, and he kind of scoffed at it. Now mind you, he is a PM Dr, not a surgeon. I feel I need to see a surgeon. I would like to try as many conservative treatments as possible before I talk about surgery or a SCS.

Do any of you have any suggestions?


  • My suggestion is to find a fellowship-trained spine surgeon, ortho or neuro (my personal preference is ortho), but a surgeon who only works on spines. If they specialize in your spinal area (lumbar), all the better. My surgeon is part of a center that has onsite PT and Physios and he particularly specializes in serious cervical issues.

    I'm a little confused as to why they'd be talking SCS before surgery even though surgery is considered the last resort. It's actually second to last, with the SCS and pain pump being last resort after you've had surgery and are at MMI.

    Since this is a PM, I'll stick with my first suggestion, to find a highly qualified surgeon and that doesn't necessarily mean surgery. Many times they have resources they try before surgery, but it depends on your personal condition.

    I assume that you had some pretty serious pain in those three discs during the discogram? I've never had one, but have heard and seen the stories.

    Take care and let us know what you decide to do.

  • Just about any PM will suggest an SCS before suggesting talking to a surgeon. Many of them feel they can work their PM magic and help you avoid the dreaded surgery. Well at least that's my own personal conclusion from the PM docs I've encountered along the way. They mean well, but I think they feel that some how they have failed if you wind up leaving PM to go to a surgeon.

    I would definitely see someone and have things evaluated from a structural or stability long term stand point. An SCS is a great device, but once one goes in, you will have a very difficult time finding any surgeon who will evaluate you or touch you in the future. So it pays to make sure you don't have any kind of stability problems first. Your PM doc may be right, but hindsight is 20/20 and if you can get someone to take a look first ...

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  • I never thought about what C said about PM doctors. Of course, I've never been to one and my problems are primarily cervical related, but it's interesting to hear that point of view from someone who does have an SCS and has a lot of experience with PMs.

    I've learned something new today. Thanks, C.
  • Thank you both for your replies. I was thinking along the same lines as both of you to begin with. I know the PMD will suggest what he can to make money, and keep you there for the rest of your life. I am going to contact the Neuro-Spine Institute in Appleton, I have a few friends that have been there and they said the DRs were amazing. Hopefully it won't take long to get in with them. Also, being a new RN, I can't afford to take the time off that a SCS would require.
  • I would get at least two opinions from surgeons. Just like the PM is likely to push what he can do a surgeon is likely to push surgery. You might also want to go to an orthopedist or neurologist who isn't a surgeon. That might be a middle ground.

    I know from my experience that surgery is really not an option for reducing pain from facet degeneration. Unless you prevent movement in the whole area you can't stop the pain. It's kinda like having a broken bone. Unless you completely immobilize it you will have pain. But you may need some stabilization to prevent further damage.

    Hope you can get some more info.
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  • I haven't had the same experience of surgeons pushing surgery- the best surgeons usually choose their patients pretty carefully. But you might find a huge difference between surgeons in the type of approach they'd take, so more than one opinion is always a good idea.

  • Oh Medic I am so sorry that you are hurting!!!

    Spine Surgeons do spine surgeries....I would check with other Drs and neuros too!! Major back surgery is not always an easy fix, I am talking from personal experience ONLY!!.

    I will keep you in my prayers for less pain!!!
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