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Worried my microdiscectomy has failed--please advise



  • I am 39 yo male. I had a large herniation l4-l5 from construction site accident 8/9/11. Had hemilaminectomy/ discectomy 3/1/12. I was suffering from severe butt ,leg , and foot pain. I was doing great after surgery...except for some new numbness on front of thigh and occasional burning in same spot on front of thigh. About a week ago the sciatic pain came back. Every day it gets worse...I am taking neurotin, hydrocodone, and now a medrol dose pack . I am nearly in as much pain as before. The pain is in my butt and calf. I can't walk now for more than 5 minutes...sitting is almost impossible. I went to doc two days ago and he said if I reherniated it I would be way worse than before surgery. Help! I am also having a problem getting pain under control. Surgeon switched me from oxycodone to hydrocodone a week after surgery...which was fine but my last visit he put me on the neurotin 300mg 3 x day and didn't refill my hydrocodone...the neurotin doesn't do much so I called and got hydro refilled but it seems like they are very hesitant to give pain meds. The hyrocodone isn't touching the pain at all but I'm worried he's gonna think im a junky if I call again and ask for something stronger...I hate this
  • edited 09/02/2012 - 2:42 AM
    I got injured back in Feb of this year and felt this bad tear pain in my lower back at work so off to the ER I went. They did the basic x rays, pain meds, and see a specialist if problems continue. They did and my employer sent me to see a SPORTS MEDICINCE doctor with NO history I could find about if he was trained with backs. Plus he was pretty young so I am guessing he is pretty new to being a doctor and is all Sports Medicine. I got 3 different diagnosis from him in a 1 month period as things were getting worse. Bad lower back pain and massive spasms in one of my legs at night and never had one in the other. When I say bad I mean bad I literally felt I had to push down on my foot and felt my ankle crack so I could walk them off and I was like a fish out of water. I fell into my closet doors during these, cut my head falling into a door jamb, cuts on my body from falling, etc.

    He gave me prescription ibuprofen and muscle relaxers which I had horrible side effects from. I stopped the muscle relaxers and all side effects went away, but he said I had ulcers and not side effects despite me telling him once I stopped taking them symptoms went away. He did not want to do an MRI despite things getting worse and a history of herniating l4 & l5 saying it was not necessary. PT was excruciating and I went to see him for a back problem and he wanted to treat me for ulcers (never and still do not have any stomach problems) so needless to say I found a new doctor after it got so bad I had to go back to ER again.

    I called my GP and he immediately ordered an MRI and referred me to an ortho surgeon to speed things up. Stupid me remembers this 6 months later that my GP called when the results came in telling me I had some bulging discs. When I seen the back surgeon he told me my MRI was fine, gave me a cortisone shot and PT resumed and MORE pain. Then I got an epidural, pain continued. I remember the surgeons exact words " I am a surgeon and if their was something inside he could fix he would" and this was about a month after seeing him. My GP said let's try some Gabapentin and see what happens and it was a miracle med for the spasms and never had one again. For the back pain it did nothing. Back doctor said he wanted to really go over my lumbar MRI and came back and said he did find a very tiny herniation that was so small that is how it was overlooked but said that could not be the problem because with the time that has past it would have healed it was so small.

    Back surgeon ordered up another MRI a level up to see if the problem was up their and it came back perfect. Then I got the shock of my life after seeing him for almost 3 months when he took me and showed me my Lumbar MRI. Not a clue what I was looking at but he then told me about a bulging disc (just 1 he pointed at). Back to the exam room and told me some options. Live with this back pain for 2 to 3 years or he could do a microdisectomy , 2 weeks of doing nothing, 4 weeks of PT, and 4 weeks of work reconditioning (I have an extremely demanding and heavy lifting job).

    It sounded like a no brainier after he explained SOME of the risk factors which I later found out through research their we're many more. All went good the first 2 weeks and pain resumed with light stretches they told me to do until PT and start walking. Stretches started pain immediately so i called the doctor and was told to stop them and just walk, which i did stop them and just walked everyday as told. About 5 to 6 days later I awoke in excruciating pain and could not get out of. bed so off to the ER again where I collapsed in pain which got me a 2 day stay on steroids and morphine. Another MRI and he said all was perfect and seen him 2 weeks later telling him pain was still present and something was not right which he dismissed saying all was good. I told him I was having frequent urination, bed wetting at night, and could not get an erection. He sent me to a Urologist which said it was all connected to my back after the test he ran. So how could all be fine with new problems developing???

    PT and car rides are excruciating and now these new problems also turned into more new problems. Excruciating pain now radiating all over. Going up into shoulder blades, into hips, occasional groin wrap arounds, weak legs, numb calves tingly feet. Any uncontrolled movement triggers pain, cannot fall asleep, wake 1 to 2 times a night in pain, and can barely walk now. So i basically walk on egg shells thinking about any move i make, but i make mistakes ans pain shoots through me somewhere, which follows no rhyme or reason where it will go. Their wonderful pain management wants me to wean off the Norco to zero for 30 days to see where my pain level is at. It's at an 8 to 10 now so do they have some different pain number higher then 10???? To me that is sadistic to wean me off a med I now take 4 which gives me SLIGHT RELIEF, but something is better than nothing. Now i basically live in a chair, walk as much as I can to keep my legs strong, bathroom is on 2nd floor which i go to MANY times a day from the urge to urinate non stop. Getting out consist of going on my deck and to doctors and car rides are excruciating pain. I do wear a TENS unit that helps from the second I wake up until I go to sleep. I tried sleeping with it on but falling asleep is hard enough and have to turn it down from what I set it at in the day seems to do nothing so I do not wear it at night anymore.

    Now I got another opinion from a Nero Surgeon and he says I probably need a fusion and go for a mylogram for confirmation. How did all this turn from back pain and now a possible fusion?

    I read criteria for a microdisectomy and it said shooting leg pains, herniated disc that will not heal with conventional care, loss of bowel and bladder function, and trauma. I NEVER HAD ANY OF THOSE!!!!! I now have a ton of problems now after the surgery with things getting worse by the day it seems.

    Why did this surgeon NEVER tell me any of these things and keep this from me and I did not have a new MRI before surgery and he sprung this microdisectomy surgery option right at about 3 months of seeing me from my MRI 3 months prior. Did these disc bulges just fall out of the sky and onto my MRI reports which I had to get for my second opinion. He says all is fine but a Nero Surgeon wants a test for confirmation to see if I need a fusion now. One is right and one is wrong but with all the new problems I have to steer towards the Nero being correct saying their is a problem.

    Pain management doc did a bunch of tests on me to and their diagnosis is Failed Back Surgery Syndrome. Then they expect me to go 30 days without pain medication to see where my pain level is at knowing a Nero thinks I need a Fusion, to me that is sadistic with the pain I am in. What I currentltly take is not that effective but it does help a little. Something is better than nothing I look at it, but 30 days of not getting any slight relief I feel is impossible. I have a high tolerance for pain I feel, but this no way. Then they want to put me on very, very strong pain meds extended release and an immediate release. But go for 30 days on nothing and tell us where my pain level is when it's at an 8 to a 10 already. Anyone have any reasoning on that one? I have never abused medications and was always chasing the pain despite taking them to stay ahead of it. They can see my history of what I was prescribed because they are all computerized so none of this makes sense to me.

    I did a lot of research after the fact and if I had no leg pain, herniated disc, etc why did he do this surgery??? I had spasms which were controlled by medication pain was bad but nothing like this. No where near this !!!! Why did he hold back not telling me anything I wonder??? I do not know 99% of what the MRI report means but the l4L5 is states disc bulge in both and it states L5S1 bulge in the first but in the after surgery talks about the changes he did to me.

    This is a bad dream I just cannot wake up from and is a total mess.

    Anyone have a clue why he did this surgery to me? Would have held back the MRI findings? Oh yeah I forgot. I looked at my last visit summary and he has in it herniated disc and no mention from the Nero on me having one before surgery. Also from what I read microdisectomies are for leg pain and do nothing for back pain. I read all over. "For back pain you must first find the underlying cause". Is that correct? I NEVER had radiating leg pain just spasms controlled by medications working perfect.

    Any advise would help because I am totally lost and getting worse. Also any other problems can I expect to get? Everyday I just live in pain and keep putting off going to the ER but I feel that day coming soon because yesterday was pretty close. I have been up since 3:00 AM because of my kind awakening of pain.
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  • Hi all,

    Thanks for all your previous posts, it's good to know that other people have experienced the same issues that I am currently experiencing and I now hope that you’ve all made a full recovery.

    I've recently had a microdisectomy for a large prolapsed disc, central right of my L4/L5 ( on the 21st of July 2014). I’ve been suffering with sciatic nerve pain in my right buttock for around 9 months, which over the final couple of months moved around to my left side and back whilst the sensation would also spread down my right leg.

    The first 5 days post surgery I felt great. The pain vanished completely but unfortunately returned after around 5-6 days. The pain returned deep within my right buttock (piriformis area) but this pain has continued to intensify over the last couple of weeks, spreading onto the outer and upper side of my buttock. I spoke with my contact at the hospital who has suggested that I may have been over doing the walks (I had built up to 30min walks and can complete 5-6km daily). I’m therefore in the process of resting with only very short walks every 30 minutes or so around my house to see how i react. I have also been told that I should not do any physiotherapy or core strengthening until I see my surgeon again, which is scheduled for the 25th of September (9.5weeks post surgery).

    As everyone’s comment on here seem to be a couple of years old, and as you all seem to have gone through what I am currently experiencing, please could you confirm the long term outcome of your surgery.

    Did the pain that returned post surgery gradually disappear? If so how long did this process take?
    When did you start physiotherapy/PT?

    Any comments or advice would be much appreciated.

    Thanks for your time,
    Cheers Peter
  • LizLiz Posts: 9,720
    this is a very old thread, for best support and information i suggest you make a new thread in introductions, you can do this by clicking on 'create forum post' on the left column.



    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery

  • BrentB66 said:

    it sounds like all of you guys are doing really well ! I wish I was doing as well. I had a microdiscectomy 8 1/2 weeks ago and I still can't walk more than 100 feet or stand up for more than 5 minutes. I've been doing PT for 4 weeks and it doesn't seem to be helping. I'm very worried that I'll be crippled for life ! When will this nerve ever heal ? Also, I've been favoring my good side and my spine is so out of whack that I have some major scoliosis going on.

    Hi Brent - I am similar after 3 weeks post op on L5 Disc.. I wanted to check in hoe you are doing now and offer me some hope?
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