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Suggestions on surgery before/after pregnancy

I'm currently 25 years old and have recently recovered from a microdiscectomy at the L5-S1 level.

My timeline:
July 2011- Right leg pain & diagnosed w/herniated disc
Aug-Oct 2011: Series of 3 injections; taking Tramadol/Ultram, Meloxicam/Mobic, & Gabapentin/Neurontin
Nov-Dec 2011: PT learning McKenzie Method
2012 - used McKenzie Method whenever discomfort experienced; got off of all meds except Mobic so I could graduate college
...then I started to wonder, I can't do these stretches or take meds whenever I become pregnant!
June 2013: New MRI to observe if any new changes from 2011
Aug 2013: Finally get follow -up w/neurosurgeon only to find he recommends microdiscectomy but is moving out of state!
Sept-Oct 2013: Find new surgeon & have microdiscectomy
Currently: less disc and concerned bone-to-bone contact will become chronically worse and debilitating during pregnancy??

I had the surgery due to a mild herniation and primarily rt leg pain. I was told that because my disc was completely collapsed and the tissue removed during surgery began to calcify, my recovery would be a slow process. Unfortunately, I am now having my entire left leg experience numbness at night and minimal relief on the right side. The neurosurgeon I am currently seeing says "a bigger surgery would be needed" but will not provide details until after my next MRI and a nerve test is done.
My current concern is: I'd like to start a family after getting married in May. Many reviews on fusion and disc replacement surgeries have further complications (from what I've read.) So I'm wondering if I should just "deal" with the discomfort until after a baby, or will the pressure on my lower spine from being pregnant cause intolerable pain (and stress!) throughout the pregnancy?


  • There unfortunately is no way to know, even for your surgeon if your conditon will worsen or not during a pregnancy. Even without a pregnancy, there is no way to give a patient a time line to say things will remain stable for weeks/months/ years in a spine condition.
    The good news is that hormones released during pregnancy loosen ligaments, and for some reason can reduce pain , but you would have to watch how much weight you gain and how quickly.....too much or too little weight gain can be dangerous in both situations.
    If I were you, I would discuss your concerns with both the surgeon and your gyn/ob and see what they tell you together.
  • I think Sandi gives good advice. I can also tell you that I did physical therapy to help with pain during pregnancy so that's a safe option as well. Best of luck!
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
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