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Microdiscectomy Revision: Am I suppose to Hurt This Much

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2

Comments

  • Tom ATom A KentuckyPosts: 28
    I am reliving twenty years ago with you and rkey. I too was about thirty and had microdisc surgery at L4 L5. The piece removed was large enough that L4 collapsed onto L5 so I did not have the choice of fusion or a second discectomy. After one month of hell I was fused at L4 L5. Yes the following weeks were not fun with two steps forward and three back. I listened to my therapist, ate the pain as much as possible and walked and walked and walked some more. Fusion was the best thing that I could have done. I went back to softball and sand volleyball for seventeen years before my next fusion which was seven more years than I was told to expect. I never would have had the assurance of a sound structure to live my life without worry if I just had another discectomy. I don't know how what your MRI looks like, but you are about to have more disc removed. Have you asked your surgeon about the need for fusion in the future? This is an agonizing decision and it's hard to know the right call for you and your wife. Fusion will mean more pain and more risk, but there might be a lot more upside to getting it over with now IF your surgeon believes it is a real possibility in the coming years. I wish you well and look forward to following your progress. You too rkey; grin and bare it buddy and take it slow.
  • hurtinunithhurtinunit ClevelandPosts: 11
    We discussed doing the fusion now, but the fact that there is no scar tissue and a clean approach to get to herniation was a big factor. 88% is the success rate on all revisions. He explained there are no guarantees though but this was the most conservative approach keeping the spine in its original structure and still leaves the option of a fusion. 

    It was a tough choice but the recovery is much shorter, so it's worth it to try the for the easier procedure that might last years. If it is an early failure then I head back for the fusion.  I was doing so wel post op ten days ago that we know technically the microdiscectomy had me on the right path. 

    These are are all tough decisions because you are trying to be cleared headed while in a great deal of pain. 
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  • hurtinunithhurtinunit ClevelandPosts: 11
    I had the revision and it went well. I was home that night.  I am doing well so far with some pain as the topical wears off from the surgery. I'm walking but still nervous. I had the procedure Thursday night, so I will Monday or Tuesday if there is another emergent issue. 

    The surgeon was able to get at the offending tissue easily and then also cleaned up around the disc. It took less than an hour. I'm hopeful this will last the rest of my life but realistic in knowing there are no guarantees in spine surgery. My pain is a 6, so I am really grateful that I am not suffering like a few days ago. 

    I am working on staying positive and staying in the moment to heal the current problem. I just have to keep in mind that the data shows on all revisions it's 88% successful. 
  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 388
    Sorry for what you're going thru.  I've had the severe pain too, prior to my discectomy surgery in December 2014.  Excruciating, nothing touched it prescription-wise.  I had scar tissue develop from disc to spinal cord covering and it eventually caused a re-herniation, made it almost a year post-surgery.  I am now waiting for the surgical consults.  Living in Canada, we wait several months for an MRI, and then more months for surgical consults, and more months for an actual surgery if it is warranted.  I think some waiting is valuable, as it does give your body a chance to heal sometimes, try less invasive therapies like physio, etc.  But when we're talking unbearable pain 24/7...  thankfully, I don't have that level of pain this time around, but I have been trying everything to get around this discomfort and it's not improving anymore.  I am curious to know how many people that have multiple discectomies ever have lasting success with it.  Mostly, I just hear about the ones who delayed the inevitable fusion surgery.  Not trying to discourage you, just wondering if you've heard any promising reports?
  • hurtinunithhurtinunit ClevelandPosts: 11
    I am twelve days post op and feeling well.  I have pain between my knee and calf at about a 3.

    I have only stood or laid in bed since the surgery and tried to take it really easy.  I'm cautiously optimistic about the recovery and plan on starting physical therapy 16 days post op.
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  • Sorry for what you're going thru.  I've had the severe pain too, prior to my discectomy surgery in December 2014.  Excruciating, nothing touched it prescription-wise.  I had scar tissue develop from disc to spinal cord covering and it eventually caused a re-herniation, made it almost a year post-surgery.  I am now waiting for the surgical consults.  Living in Canada, we wait several months for an MRI, and then more months for surgical consults, and more months for an actual surgery if it is warranted.  I think some waiting is valuable, as it does give your body a chance to heal sometimes, try less invasive therapies like physio, etc.  But when we're talking unbearable pain 24/7...  thankfully, I don't have that level of pain this time around, but I have been trying everything to get around this discomfort and it's not improving anymore.  I am curious to know how many people that have multiple discectomies ever have lasting success with it.  Mostly, I just hear about the ones who delayed the inevitable fusion surgery.  Not trying to discourage you, just wondering if you've heard any promising reports?

    I'm having an MRI this week to see if I have scar tissue around the nerve or if it's a reherniation (or both).  If it is, fusion might be my path at this point. This problem is it seems like there is nothing really holding that disc material inside once its ruptured through the annular wall (ligament), except weak scar tissue with low flexibility. 

    Im not trying to discourage anyone from a 2nd or 3rd surgery, but for me, being so active, and considering there is nothing  available in the USA to hold that disc material 'in' besides scar tissue, my next step will likely be a fusion, as much as I don't want to do that. 

    I find out MRI results next Wed. I hope you're able to get some positive news down the road:)
    Scott Giles
  • hurtinunithhurtinunit ClevelandPosts: 11
    I'm back and wanted to give an update. I progressed extremely well that by week 6.5 my pain was a 1 and I was heading to a normal pain free life. I was running a meeting for my team starting on Tuesday and was very excited because Monday was great. I woke up Tuesday with a little soreness attributing it to maybe a little bit of overdoing it on Monday but it steadily got worse throughout the day barely sleeping two hours. You can imagine where there this going. Wednesday go worse as the pain started to encompass the entire leg and again only two hours of sleep. It continued to get so bad that my team had to take me to the ER that afternoon. 

    I could barely walk to the room screaming in pain.  I called my my surgeon and let him know. After repeated doses of dilaudid to control the pain I finally got the MRI. My L4/L5 reherniated but worse than ever.  The surgeon actually received the MRI results before the ER and texted me letting me know it was the worst herniation to date. My disk was literally pushing the nerve against the back of the spine. 

    We we learned a couple of things:
    1.  My disk will continue to self destruct. 
    2.  I wouldn't have known this if I hadn't gone through the other surgeries. 
    3.  A fusion of my L4/L5 is needed and required ASAP.  

    I am am getting a TLIF done as soon as my insurance approves and I can get on the surgery schedule. I consider myself lucky because I have no back pain only sciatica and the results are even better in that case. I know the cause and solution, so there is a plan.  This is fusion for the disk and not another condition making it more difficult. 

    Some me people have wondered if I should change surgeons. I know I picked the right guy initially based on multiple discussions with other doctors, nurses, reps, and Internet searches.  My condition is about my body. The first and second revision were working perfectly, but my body failed not the technical aspect of the procedure. 

    Im just worried about the recovery and getting this done. Also, how much stress it will put on my other disks and those around me. 

    Any thoughts on fusions for sciatica would help immensely. 
  • smartens162smartens162 Manitoba, CanadaPosts: 388
    Sorry to hear what you're dealing with.  I maintain that in choosing the discectomy as my first surgery was not a mistake.  I was given 3 different recommendations for surgery: discectomy, fusion and artificial disc replacement.  I'd hate to have gone straight to serious measures not knowing if the minimally invasive would have been enough.  I hope you get some lasting relief soon!
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