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L5-S1 Microdiscectomy - Oct 7

LorinEliz37LLorinEliz37 Posts: 17
edited 09/22/2015 - 9:47 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I am new here. I have had lower back pain for about the past three years. Finally after three years of failed conservative treatment my primary care ordered an MRI. We found a herniated disc, so I was referred to a neurosurgeon. Met with the neurosurgeon and he is recommending surgery. I scheduled the surgery today (today has been the worst pain yet!) and it is set for Oct. 7 at 7:30AM. I'm a bit anxious. Any recommendations/advice?

A few questions:
*My surgery is outpatient. Is that standard? How long did others stay in the hospital (hours? days?)?
*After surgery what position was most comfortable? Sittings? Laying down? Standing?
*My surgeon said I could probably be back to work in 2-3 weeks. Is that reasonable from other's experience?
*I read the list of what to have post-op on this forum. Any specific recommendations from people who have gone through microdiscectomies? Is a walker needed? Any specific supplies or items you would recommend?

Any advice or suggestions would be great!

Microdiscectomy (Microdecompression) Spine Surgery

Welcome to Spine-Health
Please click on link for helpful information.,
~ spine-health moderator, savage
L5-S1, Laminectomy / Discectomy, 10/7/2015


  • brandis77bbrandis77 Posts: 193
    edited 09/23/2015 - 2:58 PM
    Hi! Everyone's body is different, feel free to check out the L4/5/S1 thread under "recovering from surgery" for some personal stories.
    My surgery was outpatient and I could've left the same day, but opted to stay in the surgical center overnight anyways. I had already met my out of pocket maximum from my previous surgery this year, so I figured why not. :)
    You will probably be told to minimize your sitting time post-op. Laying was always most comfortable for me.
    I could not imagine going back to work after 2-3 weeks. I went back after 8 weeks and felt like I still needed more time, but it will depend on your body and your job. My lumbar surgery was just 3 months after my cervical surgery, so it's possible that 2 surgeries so close together made it harder for my body to recover? I'm not sure.
    You probably won't need a walker. But at least one grabber stick is a must! I had two, which was great because I was able to use them to put on my socks. You should also look into the various hygiene-assisted devices out there, keeping in mind that you will need to limit your bending and twisting.

    Hope this is helpful!
    L4/5/S1 scar tissue removal surgery, plus unexpected L4/5 microdiscectomy #2 October 2015
    L4/5 microdiscectomy May 2015
    2-level ADR C4-6 (Mobi-C) February 2015
  • Thanks, Brandis77 for the input. I am a bit worried that I won't be able to go back after 2-3 weeks. I'll have to meet with HR at work to see what would happen if I need to extend my leave.
    L5-S1, Laminectomy / Discectomy, 10/7/2015
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  • Michelle99MMichelle99 Posts: 57
    edited 09/23/2015 - 7:46 PM
    Hi there and welcome!

    I totally agree with Brandiss77, first of all, I was an in
    Patient mainly because I was in hospital for a week before my surgery when I went numb from the waist down and couldn't stand the pain any longer coping at home.

    You'll be surprised how quickly the physios get you up and moving around. Your pain will be very different from what you are experiencing at the moment, whichis a relief, wound pain can only get better. I wasn't allowed to sit for a few weeks and told to stand or lie down, recliners are definitely out too! I had a frame for the first time I was up but then quickly I walked unaided with my physio just there for support. They prefer you to support yourself because this way your back starts to strengthen quicker which is essential.

    A grabber is the ultimate must have because you won't be allowed to bend for a good 12 weeks. Infact I'm still told now, 4 months after my second discectomy that bending is something that you have to be really careful of since you can reherniate quickly, especially in the first three months.

    Oh my, 2-3 weeks to return to work, I wasn't ready until 12 weeks. That's when I felt strong enough, although my return was delayed since I reherniated and had to have a second surgery. You can get a chair to put over the toilet with arms to help you stand and a chair for the shower, baths are a no, no until your wound heals and they are very difficult to get in and out of, I didn't risk that one.

    Good luck for your surgery and feel free to keep asking those questions. We're always here.
  • Hi Michelle99,
    Thanks for the comment. I appreciate you sharing your experience. I really hope not to be out of work longer than 2 weeks, but to prepare for the good possibility of being out longer I am meeting with an HR rep on Monday to figure out medical leave and short term disability.
    Yesterday I actually felt pretty good, not too much pain, and I was like "maybe something fixed it self", but nope... today I went to the movies and after sitting for that long all the pain came back. So just anxious for oct 7th to come and ready to start the recovery process.
    L5-S1, Laminectomy / Discectomy, 10/7/2015
  • Yes, sometimes we get lulled in to a false sense of security. You feel ok and then bam, something happens to bring us back to reality. With me its sitting also. I would say just keep an open mind about your return to work, two weeks is not long. This is major surgery and you need to get over the anaesthetic also. It's good that you are getting prepared. Not too long now and I wish you well. Let us know how you go on.
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  • brandis77bbrandis77 Posts: 193
    edited 09/27/2015 - 7:42 AM
    Something I learned while recovering from both surgeries is that spinal issues can be unpredictable. Both before and after surgery, I found that just because I had a good day, did not mean that the next day would be good/better. My body was all over the place! Just remember that you decided on surgery for a reason, and be prepared for a long recovery just in case.
    L4/5/S1 scar tissue removal surgery, plus unexpected L4/5 microdiscectomy #2 October 2015
    L4/5 microdiscectomy May 2015
    2-level ADR C4-6 (Mobi-C) February 2015
  • UghUUgh Posts: 1
    edited 09/29/2015 - 9:12 AM
    I am not to sure how I did it but I blew the L5-s1 so bad the doctor took me in for emergency surgery. My poor body has been threw so much over the last year. Sept 2014 I lost my finger, broke foot and cracked ribs. Feb I had a shunt put in my brain. And now this.
    The doctor is thinking I messed up my back in the first accident with my ribs and finger since I took a bad fall. And now it just finally gave.
    I am 2 weeks post op and everything seems to take the wind out of me. How long till I start to feel normal again?

    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    ~ spine-health moderator, savage
  • Sorry to hear about all the pain and trouble you have had. Hang in there, you will feel better soon, take everyday one step at a time and keep a diary, then you'll see how far you have come. You sometimes get so stuck in the moment, or at least I did, that you forget what you can do today that you couldn't do yesterday. With me it was things like getting myself off the couch on my own. At first my husband had to help me, but before long I was comfortable enough to get myself up.

    Take it easy, you have had a major operation and it takes time, it is still very early dats for you yet.

    Keep us updated and all the best.
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