Going for surgery - which one to do?
Hi - I'm new to the boards and was hoping for some advice.
I have disc herniation L3-4-5 and have been suffering for about 6 months. I found the anti-inflammatories and pain killers ineffective but had some acupuncture (I line in Beijing) which worked better. However, after a lengthy trip abroad things deteriorated and I have severe leg pain that I assume is sciatica.
Last night I met the specialist with my MRI results and he says that the two discs are not only herniated but are degenerated and pretty much done for. He gave me three options for surgery:
1. Replacing the discs and screwing them in which he said would be the best thing if i was older, but at my age (35) he was concerned about the pressure this would put on my other discs over time and the limitations it would impose on my physical activity.
2. Taking out the degenerated material to prevent the pressure on my nerve which is causing the pain. My understanding is that this is not then replaced with anything which means that the condition could reappear at any time. My understanding might not be entirely accurate though :-)
3. Replacing the discs with what he decribed as a more springy artificial disc that doesn't need to be screwed in. This is less invasive than the first method and should give me more flexibility in my movement andnot put as much pressure on the otehr discs. If for any reason it is ineffective then we go back to option 1. He said that this was a relatively new procedure (only being don for the past 7-8 years) and that some of the long term effects are not yet clear.
At this stage I am thinking that option 3 is the one to go for and I was hoping people on the forum might be able to give me some advice about what kind of questions i should be asking prior to the surgery and any advice about the procedure. I'm in a lot of pain at the moment and have tried many conservative methods of treatment so for better or worse it's going to have to be surgery of some kind. I am lucky that I have medical insurance and a lovely wife to take care of me pre and post op.