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L5-S1, Surgery options. Help! I need your opinion please.

2

Comments

  • Welcome to Spine Health Sally.

    Did the doctors know what surgery we needed?

    I think you have to understand that most surgeons (orthor or neuro) will specialize in specific techniques. The guys who scecialize in minimally invasive will push that, the ones who specialize in PLIFs or 360's will in turn push that.

    If your doctor think a microdiscectomy will be enough they should do that, but if you have spinal instabilty (that caused the herniation) they would likely want to fix that root cause(fusion or adr).

    This is why it is important to get more opinions and educate yourself about the procedure and treatments.


    My PLIF (posterior lumbar interbody fusion) was excellent for me. I had instabilty and after so many years the disc material was all but gone. Every time I moved the remaining disc material would slide in and out of the spinal canal. I did have a doctor suggest a microdiscectomy... He was crazy.

    I am so glad I didn't follow through with that. When I finally met my NS he said my symptoms didn't make sense with my MRI images. So he ordered a flexion/extension x-ray and there it was "retrololisthis". After 17 month of treatment (ESI's, PT's, Traction) I had a real diagnosis and a fusion scheduled.

    The fusion was brutal, but each day was better and after awhile I was so happy & healthy. I had been in so much pain for so long that it was hard to believe that I could feel so good.

    Then I messed up my neck and then to make matters worse I was T-boned 2 days after being released to go back to work after my ACDF.....

    Life is like a box of chocolates....:)

    Julie
  • After I hurt my back and was in pain, I started looking online for knowledge. From there, I got an MRI. Then I started "shopping" for the right procedure and right surgeon for me.

    8. That's how many surgeons I interviewed/had consults with.
    From Northern California, to SoCal, to Arizona.

    One wanted to do a 360* fusion on me. That's where they open you from hip to hip in the front and in the back too. Some wanted to do different versions of fusions. Others wanted to do outdated versions of a microdiscectomy and some laminectomies thrown in for good measure.
    Finally, I found a surgeon that offered a modern procedure that I liked.

    -----------------------------
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
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  • Hello,
    I thank you all for your valuable information -- I have been reading like a crazy lady-- feel like I am cramming for a final in college! hahaha.

    My appointment is tomorrow--I "think" I know what he may recommend in my particular situation.

    I have felt very isolated and alone for too many years now-- and now feel like there are people who "get" me. The words I read here-- they could have come from ME! It is so comforting.. though awful there are so many in pain... but I found like I have found a life raft in the middle of the ocean.

    I have a new hope that, I am ashamed to admit, I had lost somewhere on my journey.

    So.. Thanks... I have a new cyber home. It feels great...
    Sally
  • Good luck with your appt tomorrow, and keep us posted! My issue is with my t-spine, but I had a thoracic discectomy on 7/6. Remember that you are dealing with the spine, which is major surgery. Regardless of what the surgeon says tomorrow, make sure you get a second, or even third, opinion. I had gotten 3 opinions...an ortho and two neuro's. The ortho didn't think I needed surgery and wasn't even sure my pain was coming from the disc, even though my pain was textbook for a herniated disc in the t-spine. The two neuro's both agreed that I needed surgery because I had two discs that were compressing my spine. I ended up going with the second neuro, because he was affiliated with a larger hospital which ranks #14 in the country for their dept of NS. He also specializes in the thoracic spine, which is a delicate area compared to the cervical or lumbar. In any case, definitely seek multiple opinions and make sure you find a surgeon that you are comfortable with.
  • Hello,
    well, went to the neurosurgeon. After driving 3 hrs each way to the appointment, I find out:
    --he does not recommend surgery- has not seen success in his past, and most likely will not relieve my back pain, infact, I could end up much worse than I am. (I do know it can get worse for me-- but at that moment in time... Worse? how the heck can that happen???....).
    -- he recommends another opinon, and gave me a referall. This second opinion is for a "Spine Specialist". I then ask him--- "what is your specialty?". His is.. brain tumours.
    Yes, my lovely GP, sent me to a specialist for brain tumours, oh, and he does 'some' spine surgeries.

    So.. I feel.. very frustrated. years of this.. stuff. I feel like I am in a Jerry Springer show or something. Three years convincing my GP there IS a problem. Three years of demanding tests.. like Xrays, CT, MRI... Physio referall.. he still refuses, YES, refuses, to send me to a pain clinic. I am not able to get in to this clinic without this GP referal. *and, I live in a small Canadian town that has a Dr. shortage.. at least 10,000 people in my town do not have a family GP. All use the emergency at the hospital.* wee bit of background.
    I have done a self mangement pain course, learned about CBT, Congnitive Behaviour Therapy- (cause this GP said this was "all in my head", "you are a female and just can't handle the pain", oh .. and my favorite-- "you are just depressed and THAT is what is causing yoru back pain....". All statements this GP made, 100% provable. NO exagerations.
    Now-- not to be a pessimist, I am sure it will be atleast 6 months before I can see this ... real... spine specialist.
    Now the tears start... I am just.... sooooo frustrated. My life is on "pause", since Dec 2007. Sigh.


    Thank you for listening to my rant. I will now go put on my "up the mood" CD, and enjoy some positive music. and herbal tea.
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  • Sorry to hear that. This is why I fiercely oppose that kind of "system" and the people who want it here in the states.

    Can you travel down here to seek real care?
    -----------------------------
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • I am so sorry to hear about your appointment.A brain surgeon? ~X( and I am sure you probably waited a long time for this appointment.

    I really hope that you are able to get into a fellowship trained orthopedic or neurosurgeon soon. Did you get the name of the doctor that he is refering you to so that you can search them out on the internet to ensure that they are specialized in spines.

    I also live in Canada, and have waited so long for appointments with surgeons. My original surgeon wanted me to have a fusion (but he doesn't do them any longer) so then had to wait a long time for two other opinions from surgeons that do them. Only to be told that they didn't recomend that, only discectomy/lami. Now 9 weeks out, I am worse than before.

    Maybe you could try to get on a cancellation list to possible speed up the wait time?

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Hi Paul and Karen-
    Paul- can't travel to the States- good point though!

    Karen-- I feel for you also-- the "hurry up and wait" game--
    I have checked out the next surgeon referral, and he's a good one. Making sure whom I am seeing now-- such alot to learn, being pro-active in your care- and learning all about backs and all the options available- while dealing with the chronic pain.
    I have no idea when I will see this next guy-- anywhere from 3 weeks to 9 months.
    One second I feel like flying the white flag- others I get so darn frustrated I want to-- well, you all know it. Gotta keep positive, be grateful for what I do have in life, and find a way to live in the here and now.

    Thanks again for your shoulders and ears, and your great advice.!!
  • Hi Paul and Karen-
    Paul- can't travel to the States- good point though!

    Karen-- I feel for you also-- the "hurry up and wait" game--
    I have checked out the next surgeon referral, and he's a good one. Making sure whom I am seeing now-- such alot to learn, being pro-active in your care- and learning all about backs and all the options available- while dealing with the chronic pain.
    I have no idea when I will see this next guy-- anywhere from 3 weeks to 9 months.
    One second I feel like flying the white flag- others I get so darn frustrated I want to-- well, you all know it. Gotta keep positive, be grateful for what I do have in life, and find a way to live in the here and now.

    Thanks again for your shoulders and ears, and your great advice.!!
  • hi i have been looking throu the posts and youve had many great replies.i am new to this forum myself (or any forum for that matter) unfortunatley,ive had only 1 reply from 2 post thingys (not very helpfull or uplifting)..what you wrote about the docter saying about depression..i got told the same thing..what was said about it being in your head..again,i was told the same..going in circles..same...feeling frustrated..same...only difference being that ive been searching for answers and help for 16yrs!!..only last year finally they found an extra bone that descends downwards on the left side of my pelvis..on the screen it didnt look small either..they say i would have been born with it..so how comes after yrs of bone scans/body scans/radio isotopes/xrays etc no one has found it until now!!!.though they hardley said a word about anything except they wanted to try a steroid and anastetic type injection to see if it helps.well,i havent seen them since the ijection as theyve now spend a year rearranging/cancelling my appoinmnts constantly!.im only 31 with 4 young boys,love to keep active but held back,struggling through everyday of chronic pain and discomfort,until the entire left side of my body decides to give way and have a wierd spasmy epileptic bludi fit,EVEN when i'm swimming!!..the one exercise that almost everyone can fall back and rely on,but no,i cant even do that!..anyway,i could waffle on and on (i have adhd and could talk for britain)..i hope all gets sorted soon for you..me,i will continue my search for answers and maybe,just maybe one day i'll get somewhere!
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