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Should i have surgery?

Started by jkoko on 09/30/2010 8:53am

I'm a 55 yr old male. 35 yrs. ago i flipped a motorcycle and herniated my L4-L5 disc. I was recommended 4 mos. bed rest which i did and got better. Never had any surgery. Conservative treatment and lumbar epidurals have worked to this point. I now have lumbar spinal stenosis and a newly herniated L5-S1 disc which started with severe sciatica and has now changed to severe numbness in the left foot and along the sciatic nerve behind the leg. Have had 3 epidurals which relived some pain but the numbness persists. Spoke with two neurosurgeouns who recommend an L5-S1 microdisectomy. Should I do this? JK

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I had a cervical fusion, c4-c5 in Feb.2007. After that I started having severe back and leg pain. I had a lumbar discetomy in Sept. 2007 and a fusion of L5-S1 in Jan. 2008. I did well for about a year. After that, I started having pain again. At first, therapy and injections helped and would last for about 6 mos. but I have been having severe pain again only in my back this time but I've done three mos of therapy, two injections and am on neurontin, percocet and zanaflex for my pain which do nothing! I took fmla from my job because I work as a bank teller and have to stand the majority of 8 hrs in one spot. I had an mri done mon and get the results next thurs. I would exhaust any other remedy for your pain and numbness before I would recommend a fusion. I know they work well for some but I would love to have one day where I wasn't in constant pain.

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i am not having a fusion. it was recommended i have a microdisectomy?

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JKOKO
i'd get it done. risks are low and results are superior on microdisectomy. plus this is your first surgery. i think you will do fine......pete

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Thanks Pete.

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im 55 since 2001 have been fighting spinal/cervical stenosis-spondylosis.lumbar&cervical disc disease,polyneuropathy,sciatica ..motor sensory polyneuropathy
i had 11 spinal /cervical epidurals,,to me they were a waste of time and not cost effective as they never lasted then i had L4&L5 S1 lumbar discectomy done in 2008..it was in patient care
recovery time was about 6 weeks,,as the incision is made in the lower part of your back it was difficult to stand and sit especially on something very low,,I.E toilet .. for a while I no longer experience the same problems you are having to me the difference was night and day..
hints,,, if you do have surgery get you one of those """GRABBERS::so you wont have to bend over
use slip on/velcro shoes,,less time bending,,you wont be able to drive for a while so get all that stuff done prior ...another hint ,,get out of bed side ways on a angle,,less painand stressful..
however my problems came back now oct 11 i have to have alif (lumbar interbody fusion) of L4 L5 L6with a steel cage screws and wires to fix the disc hitting spinal cord..in other words the discetomy only lasted me 2 years. a different neuro surgeon says he can guarantee to fix it this time
i would research the difference between a discetomy and the fusion (ALIF) each person is different and you have to do whats right for you,,i do know to me the shooting burning pain only goes away with surgery
good luck hope this helps
joeb1

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Thank you. it does help in the decision making process.

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You should definetely let the doctor perform this surgery. I have had this surgery, S1-L4 and I will tell you when I woke up in recovery I knew immediatly that the surgery worked. I was in pain from the incision but it was different than that horrible debilitating constant pain in lower back, legs and feet. I wouldn't wait too long if you can avoid it. The longer you let the nerve be compromised, the less likely it is that you will regain feeling in your foot. I waited too long and have permanent damage and my foot is still numb after 15 years. I have been able to do just about anything I want after surgery, even snow ski.

Good Luck

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Robin, Thanks for the reply. You said you had L4-S1. Did you mean L5-S1. Or did you have both levels of your spine worked on? (L4 thru S1?)

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I HAD L2/L3 AND L4/L5 HERNIATED DISC WITH TERRIBLE PAINS, HAD OPEN SURGERY IN 2006 AND I AM STILL HAVING SOME PAIN IN MY RIGHT BACK MY RIGHT CALF SLIGHT NUMBNESS ABOVE MY TOES AND SLIGHT DROP FOOT. GO FOR THE SURGERY, TOMMORROW MORNING I AM GOIN FOR A JOG.

I ALSO HAVE C6/C7 HERNIATION AND CHECKING THE INFO PROPERLY , BUT IF I HAVE TO DO SURGERY , I WILL DO SO.

GOOD LUCK

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After speaking to 3 Neurosurgeons I have these recommendations.
1. perform a microdiscectomy at L5-S1.
2. perform a microdiscectomy at L4-L5 and L5-S1, or do nothing.
3. Wait before any surgery. The disc has fragmented and the body will dissolve the fragmented tissue on its own relieving compression on the sciatic nerve root. There is an 83% chance this will happen. The disc will began to heal in approximently 500 days. I have chosen option #3.

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hi j-

i would exhaust all other alternatives before having surgery. you may need to, but that's the very LAST RESORT! of course a surgeon would recommend surgery! i'd get 2nd and 3rd opinions, and if your physician isn't much help, check with other specialists and alternative specialists, as well as professional medical facilities like mayoclinic.com, etc.

you do have several options. exhaust them all or get multiple opinions from professionals in various medical/spinal treatment arenas before you make that decision.

here are some good informational sites and leading professional medical sites. there are several things you can do or try to at least help alleviate the pain while going thru this process:

http://www.spineinstituteny.com/
http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/herniateddisk/a/ruptureddisk.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sciaticahttp://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/exercise-sciatica-spinal-stenosis
http://stopbackpaincausenow.com/?s=as_perform_advancedsearch&as_perform_advancedsearch=true&as_searchquery=stenosis&as_querytype=words&as_posts_pages=posts&as_comments=on&as_includefrom_available=true&as_sortby=relevance&as_order=desc

and i'd pull up each issue individually, because you'll learn more about it specifically. it may very well be that your only option is surgery, but there have been a lot of technological advances, and new treatments arriving all the time. DO YOUR HOMEWORK, do what you can do to help alleviate it at least temporarily, and get plenty of different professionals' opinions.

hope the links above at least give you some helpful info. let us know what you learn and GOOD LUCK.

Julie

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Thanks Julie, I have decided to not have surgery at this time. Check my previous post for the reasons. Its a fact that 60% of spine surgery's are not necessary.

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