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Discectomy L5 S1 & S2 and referred pain?

Started by 656074358@facebook on 08/15/2012 10:09pm

I am a fairly healthy 31 year old who has suffered from back pain since I was a child. Even when I was very young I remember suffering from sciatica down my right leg but I didn't understand what was causing my pain. An X-ray as a child showed spinal stenosis but it was never followed up. I finally had a MRI as a young adult and the findings at the time were that I had bulged disks at L4 and L5 but only on the left side as well as arthritis, moderate DDD and a small fusion of my vertebra to my sacrum that I was born with. My two disks look black and have no fluid left in them. Chronic pain has been part of my life for as long as I can remember and it effects my ability to work and care for my family.

I saw a neurologist after my first MRI but at the time he said he couldn't help me since I was only herniated on the left side but my sciatic pain is most severe on the right. I though this was strange. It must be some sort of referred pain. In an attempt to reduce my pain I managed to lose 100 pounds (partially pregnancy weight) through diet and exercise. I am down to a healthy weight but my pain is worse than ever. I recently has another MRI which showed L4 is unchanged but L5 is now herniated on both sides. It is still worse on the left and almost fully compressing my nerve. I still only feel pain mainly down the right leg. Has anyone had this happen to them? I saw the same neurologist who I saw years ago and he agreed he could help me so I am booked for surgery in November. I have to say, I am pretty nervous! I have never had any major procedures before.

He said he plans to remove the herniation on both S1 and S2 at disk L5. He didn't mention any plans for a fusion and he isn't going to touch L4 because it is not as bad. This surgeon has been practicing for many years and I hear he is good. He preformed a similar procedure on my step mother and it helped her until she developed severe scar tissue. I just wonder if this sounds like the best route for me? I don't see a lot of mention of s1 and s2 being worked on during the same procedure. Is this common and will my recovery be harder because of this? Maybe I am just confused over the procedure because this is fairly new to me. I just signed the papers for surgery two days ago and I am second guessing myself even though I would cut my own leg off some days. The pain can be unbearable and I have been on codeine for years on a daily basis.
Any insight into this procedure and recovery would be very appreciated!

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3 Responses


Hum, I can't seem to edit my post. It is actually L5 where the focus is and S1 and S2 are fused from birth. He did say he was operating on both the left and right sides of L5 so I assumed this was s1 and S2 at first as in sciatic nerve 1 and 2. I was confused on that when I posted LOL. Sorry about that.


L5 is the last disc in your back. My question is whats he fusing just l5-s1?


To add light to the replies above... S1 and S2 are USUALLY fused at birth or early on. I have a mobile S1 S2 junction and it can be a beggar because it is a hard joint to maintain core strength for and to manage disc problems. I had 3 years of chronic pain in my 20s and the problem has just returned in my 40s - with avengeance..