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surgery suggestions. What to expect afterwards.

Started by thebalanceman on 07/27/2010 8:05am

Hi. I have a herniated disc in the L4-L5 region. This is pushing on the sciatic nerve and the combination of the back, hip and leg pain has become unbearable. Have tried all the non surgical remedies that I am aware of. Physical therapy chiropractic care, spinal decompression therapy, spinal cortizone shot. Non of these have helped or had very short lived relief, 1 day or less. So now I am researching surgery options and am overwhelmed. My local doctor would perform a micro discectomy. Is this the best option? How successful are this. What can you expect after surgery. What are good websites out there for unbiased information about back procedures and what is the best and what to expect. I keep looking at alternate surgery options but it seems difficult to find information other than on the sites hosted by those doing the surgery. For example Laser Spine Institute or he Back Institute in Bevery Hills or North American Spine in Texas. They all claim to have better procedures for herniated disc surgery but trying o find any information other than on their websites seems hard to do. What do others out there that have been through this suggest. Where are the best places to research the options? Please help ay advice would be greatly appreciated as I like to have all the facts and information possible before making decisions.

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2 Responses


Balanceman, a microdiscectomy is a very bearable procedure. I'm 22 yrs old and have a long list of problems. My L4-L5, L5-S1, and L1-L2 are all herniated. I also have Degenerative Disk Disease (DDD), spinal stenosis, and arachnoiditis from my L2 down. I had a microdiscectomy/laminectomy in December of 09'. Before I had surgery, I couldn't even bend over, and ultimately started having bowel problems leading to my surgery. I can't stress to you how important it is to find a surgeon that you are comfortable with. I got 4 different opinions before making my choice. First off the surgery will take care of your leg pain immediately. I felt a drastic difference the minute I woke up, and they are very successful as long as that is your only problem. Have you had a discogram? That's another thing to look into unless you're sure that there is no instability the trouble area. The only other alternatives are things like neuroplasty techniques which involve lasering the pertruding disk, but I'm not very knowledgeable about that. After surgery you'll only be resting for about a week or two tops. Depending on the Dr also you may have an overnight hospital stay. After surgery, you will be very sore for the first few days, I also had a lot of residual numbness and tingling which I still have to this day once on a daily basis, but it is nothing compared to pain before surgery. I didn't have any stitches or anything and my scar is only about an inch long. It is definitely a matter of changing your life style though, that is the biggest and hardest feat to overcome. Me personally still have a lot of numbness and focal pain in my lower back, but it's bearable. The hardest things are sleeping due to more pressure points, and driving for long amounts of time. Physical therapy is the ultimate key also after surgery. My surgeon couldn't stress enough how important it was to just get back into the swing of things just two weeks after my surgery. Ultimately it probably took away I'd say about 60% of the pain, which to me was phenomenal. In the end, it's your decision and a matter of if you can deal with the pain or not, and be wise in choosing a surgeon. See a few and get some different opinions, research them also and see what patients have said about them.


hi "thebalanceman" :)

as i keep reinforcing with everyone, surgery should be your LAST OPTION. you need to exhaust all other possible treatment alternatives and/or check with multiple professionals (not just surgeons) in various spinal treatment industries before you go this route.

the top places i would check are the leading medical organizations sites likehttp://WWW.MAYOCLINIC.COM etc. FIRST.

some sites that have some good info and current news articles for you are:

your doctors should present you with several alternatives, including "alternative medicine" options. there are several things you may be able to do to help alleviate the pain in the meantime. there's some more good info here: http://stopbackpaincausenow.com/?s=as_perform_advancedsearch&as_perform_advancedsearch=true&as_searchquery=surgery&as_querytype=words&as_posts_pages=both&as_includefrom_available=true&as_sortby=relevance&as_order=desc

i hope this helps. please let us know what you learn. if i find out more specific to you, i'll let you know. good luck!