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re-herniation at L4/L5

I had a microdiscectomy at L4/5 in July 2011 after a herniated disc caused incredible pain. I healed well andwas back to full function after 5-6 months.

Then in November 2012, I started to get numbness in the saddle area (cauda equina). Again, coupled with extreme pain. I ended up having another micro-discectomy due to a ruptured disc at L4/S1. Recovery took about 4 months and I was back to normal activity.

In April of this year, I started getting leg pain again. I went to the ER, got a steroid shot and the tapered steroid pack. The pain started to get much better, but then my toes went numb and I had significant weakness in my leg.

Afte multiple doc visits, MRI, CT scan, etc. It turns out that L4/5 re-herniated. My pain is almost completely gone, but....still can't move my toes and have numbness in toes, foot, and outside calf.

I've seen two neurosurgeons. One wanted to fuse immediately. The other is suggesting another MD.

I'm torn. I think fusion is out of the question for me, but I don't know if I should do the MD or just wait. What are the risks of permanent nerve damage in toes or foot? I feel perfectly fine, just no feeling in the foot. It is very strange. And I'm having a hard time agreeing to surgery when I feel almost completely normal...

So uncertain, any advice would be appreciated.


  • The longer you go with nerve pain/numbness the greater chance you won't get the feeling back. If the pain/numbness is being caused by a nerve being compressed it is being damaged.

    Undergoing a fusion is a hard decision. I'd recommend that if you have a trusted family doctor go to him/her and have the discussion. Sometimes a neutral medical professional that you know can help you make this big decision.

    I'm not sure, but it just seems like microdiscectomies are a Band-Aid. I'm sure some folks can live a long time with a micro being done, but I see a lot of posts from people that had a micro done but now need a fusion because they continue to herniate. Best of luck and I hope you feel better soon.

    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
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