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Urinary urgency after microdiscectomy

Hello all,

This is my first post, although I've been following this website for nearly a year. In March of this year I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease in L4-L5 and L5-S1 with a slight posterior buldge at L4-L5 and a major left central posterior rupture at L5-S1. The later of which caused a significant amount of pain with saddle anesthesia and intense LLE sciatic pain. Utilized physical therapy, dry needling, and a very serious diet and supplement regiment for healing.

On November 21 while standing at work I suddenly was overcome with urinary urgency that lasted all day. I was fully emptying my bladder, but the sensation of needing to urinate persisted. The next day symptoms continued, went to the ER and had another MRI done. ER doc and my Orthopedic Surgeon i had been seeing diagnosed me with cauda equina syndrome and said they needed to operate immediately. That day they performed a microdisectomy of the L5-S1 herniation.

I immediately noticed that after surgery i no longer had urinary urgency. It is now just over a montb since surgery. I have had 2 cases of urinary urgency that lasted just for one day although those were horrible days. I believe  both cases were brought on by sitting down for too long. Both times I felt perfectly fine the next morning. However, 3 days ago on Friday I had the urgency return and has persisted to today. I find that i feel great in the morning with no issues, but for the last 3 days by late afternoon the urgency returns and slowly gets worse and worse as the night goes on. 

The only thing that helps is to take 20mg of hydrocodone and go to sleep. 

Has anyone else had a similar case of urgency being resolved by surgery only to have it sporadically return later? Anyone have any advice or suggestions at this point? My surgeon's advice is to "keep an eye on it". 

Lastly could this second round be caused by swelling from the surgery? If so, how long did it take you to have your post surgery swelling go down?

Thanks in advance for the help



  • WLLadyWLLady Ontario CanadaPosts: 1,493
    Hiya, i'm only out of surgery by a week, but YES!!!! a resounding yes....i had a horrible time with urgency before surgery (i had a host of issues in my spine and spinal stenosis, scoliosis, facet arthritiis etc etc....anyhoo, before surgery i would have a day or two of urgency, and started sticking close to bathrooms, my surgeon said my bowel was not affected, so probably not cauda equina....but right after surgery it had resolved until a couple of days ago, when it came back with  a vengence.  BUT I am also drinking lots, and lots....the worst day was the first day after the drains were removed from my spine the third day after surgery.  the urgency was stupid.  it finally got to the point that i would just go and sit and make sure the smallest last bit was out.....and wait a bit again to make sure!  my surgeon and nurses all have told me that this is normal but it shouldnt keep happening for too long....which i guess is my surgeon's way of saying "wait and keep an eye on it...." LOL.  i am expecting up to 3 months for the swelling to subside all the way, but i have a 10 level fusion...i hope you find some relief soon, my relief is also the painkillers and sleeping......so you aren't alone there. 
    Veritas-Health Moderator
    Dec '16 T10-S2 fusion with pelvic fixation. Laminectomies L2, L3, L4, L5, facet removal, cages L4-5, L5-S1, severe scoliosis, arthritis and stenosis repair. 

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