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Had L5S1 Discectomy in June, what to do now?

HeidiLynnMHHeidiLynnM Posts: 445
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:48 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello everyone :H . I had the discectomy in June on L5S1. Well, I have to say that there is no change in how I feel. The hernation is now gone, but according to my new mri, I have a disk bulge there. I also had a emg done, and it shows severe nerve damage from my back.

I am not quite sure what to do. My pain management doctor wants to give me coritzone(sp) injections in my back, and if that doesn't work, he wants me to get the Spinal cord stimulator. I am not too keen on the stimulator.

What I am wondering is, have any of you also been through the same thing? I still have my back, and leg pain. I am also on work comp.

Thanks for reading! >:D<


  • Did you get a discogram done before the surgery?

    Try neurography. It can image the nerves better than MRI's.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Hello there, sorry to read about your situation and hope I can help a bit.

    I also had a disectomy plus spinal fusion at L4, L5 and S1 six months ago and know how horrible this is. Luckily for me I have had an improvement in my leg/foot pains as these were constant and just agony prior to my op. I do still have back pain and stiffness but it doesn't make me cry every single day so I guess this must also be an improvement?! I have been told this op can take a year to recover from by my surgeon, so am keeping my fingers crossed for constant improvement til then...

    Anyway, what I really wanted to say to you is that last Christmas Eve I actually had cortizone injections into my whole sacral iliac joint as this was the last option they wanted to try before major surgery. I think they filled the whole area with them all around my affected vertebra but I have to say that I had absolutely NO improvement in my pain levels as a result of these. I do know someone who these have helped, but can honestly also say that her back is not in as much of a state as either yours or mine.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do and I hope the above helps in some way,
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  • I have already had a discogram. That was the worse pain the world. I also have had IDET, non-invasive surgery. I have had epi injections, and the joint kind of injection.

    What I am wondering is if I were to have a spinal fusion, would it take my leg, and back pain away? I am not sure if my surgeon even wants to do a fusion. He told me that at first I didn't need one. I feel like I am getting worse than better. I am scared of having a fusion, and it failing. My husband had one, and he will be on pain meds for the rest of his life.

  • Heidi,

    Since you are dealing with Worker's Comp - Get an excellent attorney. Your company may be working with you right now, but at some point they may get nasty. There is a value associated with every injury at which point they may begin to contest treatment. It is important for them to know that you are serious about your care. 'nough said.

    I would opt for artificial disc replacement over fusion if at all possible. If you have contraindicators for ADR, then fusion may be your only option. The US is finally getting on the ball with ADR, but overseas, it is much more common and they have much more experience in thoses cases.

    Good luck. I know how spine stuff changes your life. People who don't have back issues don't know how truely lucky they are.


  • Thanks guys! I do have a great lawyer, the insurance company has never said no to anything. I guess that is a good thing?
    So basically, the injection that the pain management doctor wants to do really isn't that great? I had 3 epi injections, they did nothing.
    I am going to be calling my surgeons office tomorrow to get a appointment. I am curious to see if the artifical disk replacement would work. When I first saw him, he told me that there was no need for a fusion. I had 2 others tell me that I needed one. I stuck with the one who said to do the discectomy, my surgeon I have now.
    What if I say that I would like to try this surgery, and he says no? Do I find another doctor? I hate living with this pain everyday. I am beginning to hate it! I have many other problems besides this, all together it adds up.
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  • HeidiLynn-
    I had the same surgery 6wks ago and am having the same problem that you are! I've been on 3 steroid dose packs, I have no pain for a few days after starting them , then the pain and tingling starts back up in my rt leg. The neurosurgeon says it could take months & up to a year before my nerve calms down! I'm not happy either. He said that if I still had the pain in 4wks, that I should see a pain doc and get a steroid shot! I don't know what to do! I can't sit at all or I am in severe pain and nothing helps!
  • I had the same surgery as you in july. I sounds like the same thing that happened to me. The herniation came back. Since then, i have done some More spindal decompression and PT. And it has slowly gotten better. Im just trying to hold out to get ADR, I really dont want to do a fusion.

    Also, have the doctors mention doing another discectomy?
  • I think the majority of "discectomies", micro or otherwise just end up weakening the disc wall. Unless there is a free fragment that is laying on the nerve root OR you are having severe numbness/bowel, bladder issues, I believe these surgeries end up failing in the long run. A normal spine has a certain amount of disc tissue between vertebra for a reason. That tissue seperates the vertebra an thus gives room for the nerve roots that exit the spine and travel to various parts of the body (bad design IMO, but that's between me and God, LOL!). If you remove some of that tissue whether it is by a scalpal/laser/radio frequency etc., it is still being removed and the disc space will shrink. Since the blood supply drops off in our late 20's/early 30's, healing doesn't happen quickly after surgery (another flaw, thanks God :/) and that disc can reherniate very easily.

    Fusion and ADR are the only ways to really regain the proper disc height for your nerve roots, unfortunately. Fusion has it's obvious problems in adjacent disc disease and ADR is a relatively new treatment with limited, long term observable data. It is projected to do quite well though. The more they implant, the better they get at it and the more reliable data we have to help us decide.

    GL all.

  • I guess we are all in the same boat! :''(
    I am going to get in to see my surgeon because I just don't know what to do! Nerve damage is the worse! My legs feel like they have walked miles, and miles. My back is a different story. :T
  • I guess we are all in the same boat! :''(
    I am going to get in to see my surgeon because I just don't know what to do! Nerve damage is the worse! My legs feel like they have walked miles, and miles. My back is a different story. :T
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