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L5/S1 disk bulge..to have surgery or not

turbo313tturbo313 Posts: 122
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:56 AM in Lower Back Pain
that is the question!

I know you are not doctors, but I value your opinions. I meet with my NS tomorrow to discuss my discogram and CT results. Here are my CT results:

L4-5: a broad based 3mm disc protrusion is present, causing mild concavity of the ventral thecal sac. Borderline or mild lateral recess stenoses are present at the level of the proximal L5 roots bilaterally. There is laterilization to the right foraminal and extra foraminal regions, where protrusion measures 4 or 5mm. Diffuse right foraminal and extra foraminal annular fissuring is seen. there is mild right foraminal stenosis, with contact and possible flattening of the proximal exiting right L4 root.

L5-S1: mild right foraminal spondylosis seen. There is a broad-based 4mm disc protrusion laterilizing to the right foraminal region, with mild to moderate inferior right foraminal stenosis, but no displacement of the exiting right L5 root. Disc protrusion likely flattens the right S1 root in the lateral recess, but no frank lateral stenosis is seen.

My question to you is did you have fusion surgery and did it help? Are you better than before or worse? I really want to weigh all of my options before committing to surgery. Any insight you can provide will be greatly appreciated.




  • I did have the PLIF (lumbar fusion) and it helped me tremendously. It is a brutal surgery so dont expect to wake up feeling great. The recovery took some time. It was about 2 months before I started feeling better. Back to work at 3 months.


  • I am expecting a long and hard recovery for this. My dr has already told me it will be longer than my cervical fusion.

    I am so happy you had great results Julie. I am hopeful if that is what my NS recommends that I will have good results as well.

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  • a marcaine challenge test at L5/S1.

    Apparently my MRI results and my discogram are not matching up. MRI showd L4/L5 disk to be very bad, yet it is not causing my pain. L5/S1 looks good yet is killing me.

    My NS wants to be sure that this is the cause of my pain before he even suggests surgery. This is why I see him...very thorough and does not jump on the surgery bandwagon unless absolutely necessary :)

  • I'm not sure what to expect from it. My NS said it shouldn't hurt..which I am all for!

    Any L5/S1 fusion stories..successes or failures I am very interested in hearing about.


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  • Hi Connie. I had a PLIF L5/S1 fusion 2 months ago and am very pleased with the results. I was walking a mile on the treadmill the day after leaving hospital and off all painkillers by the second week. The fusion has stopped the mechanical problem caused by end stage disc degeneration and bone on bone rubbing. I had some difficulty sitting for the first few weeks but that has resolved and I was advised by the physio to bend from a week after surgery.

  • I've got L5 issues as well. Have met for a 2nd opinion this week. Going to meet with two other surgeons. Of course, they are surgeons, so they want to cut! The first one did suspect a hip issue though that I didn't know I had so that's good to know. Also he thought that injections for facet joints would help the bending pain and sacroiliac injections for back pain. If those are better, then I can go without back surgery. Then I might do weight loss surgery or be feeling better and back into walking and going to the gym and losing weight on my own. If I can lose 30 pounds that would help. I've lost 10 so far. We will see!
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