L5/S1 Disc Bulge...Op..

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So I was told in July last year that I have a bulge on L5 and a small one on S1...I was offered Injections or an Op because the injections wouldn't cure it...so I took the Operation...but I am now dreading it...I am so scared...I am thinking should I just go for the injections? And would a back brace help??I am only 20 years old 

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  • Posted

    You really are quite young to have an operation.  However, it is ultimately your choice.  Regarding the operation, you must sort out whether you have been offered either:  1.)  a traditional Discectomy/Microdiscectomy operation, or a more modern 2.)  Endoscopic discectomy operation.  There is a difference.  Some people may or may not be suitable for the more modern method, however, if you're deemed not suitable, I'd want to know why.  

    The endoscopic method means a 1cm insertion point as opposed to a several inch scar down the middle of your back for good.  This is because the endoscopic method is done with various modern cameras and gadgets as opposed to cutting in via open surgery.  The other, very important, difference is that the older operation requires drilling into the bone and pulling away at/retracting muscles to get to the offending discs.  Drilling into the bone obviously means that that portion of your back may be a bit weaker post the operation because some of the bone structure has been taken out.  Also, this method will require much more post recovery care and mean a bit more post op pain.  

    You don't say whether they want to operate on both the S1 and L5 discs or just the L5 disc.  Be very aware about having open surgery done on 2 discs at the same time.  I suspect it will be very painful and require much post op care.  Slicing into you twice at the same time may or may not also give a few post-op toilet problems.  

    Personally, I found that the injections helped me a lot, although not everyone gets benefit from them.  I would at least try the injections in the first instance.  You can always go for the operation at a later date, if you want.  You are only 20 years old and really quite young.  I have found that I have had problems with my slipped disc since it went in c.2009/2010, which is c.5 years ago now.  However, it does ease over time.  

    A back brace may help in the immediate post pain situation of a slipped disc.  However, it isn't much of a long-term solution.  You really need to exercise those internal muscles and not rely on external braces for your back support.


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    • Posted

      Hi thank you for that erm I think it will be a microdiscectomy and only on L5 as S1 is only small...I think I was a bit stupid for just going straight ahead with it??? 

      I have had about 8 sessions of physio which didn't work so have been discharged...what kind of exercises???

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    • Posted

      I must admit not to being a great exercise person.  However, personally, I found Pilates quite useful.  Some people say swimming helps, but I can't swim a stroke, so wouldn't know.  Yoga and stretching exercises (after the immediate initial pain has gone away) are also supposed to be quite good.  

      If you do eventually need to go for the operation, you may want to say that you want to be transferred to someone/some hospital that does the endoscopic method.  You have a right to choose both your hospital and your consultant these days - so don't take any old rubbish that they give you!!

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    • Posted

      I can't swim either ha! and erm the pain in my leg is pretty much there all the time! rolleyes 

      I don't know how to go about taking myself off of the waiting list though?? Would I write a letter? 

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    • Posted

      Don't take yourself off any Waiting List.  

      Write a letter to your present consultant stating that you want to be transferred to a surgeon/hospital that performs this type of surgery via the endoscopic method, because particularly as a young person you do not want to be permanently scarred using the traditional discectomy/microdiscectomy method.  You also want to experience less post op recovery time and pain.  Remind the consultant that he/she is supposed to have discussed with you all of the available treatment options - even if they could not do that method themselves.  They don't seem to have done this and technically would not have properly obtained your consent to proceed anyway.  

      I really would not take my name off any list.  It would then be up to them to reply to you.  If they get awkward and don't reply, you must firstly go through the motions of complaining about a lack of response through the Hospital's Complaints Department (who do little) and then go via the Health Ombudsman and/or your local PCT.  

      All the best!

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  • Posted

    I had the same problem . I mean I have had several operations but none on my spine . But as I realized it would get worse I decided to do it . I was stil scared , but now 10 weeks later I know I made the right choice . It takes time to recover but the pain is going away and maybe I will be able to live a painfree or lessor pain in my life . Plus I didn't want the damage to get any worse . I don't think it is bad to see a doctor for depression drugs . I say this since the pain meds you get after the surgery take away the pain , but they take away the joy also for a couple weeks . I had depression and I think a lot of people do on the heavy narcotics after spine surgery . So seeing a doctor for some mental health meds first is not a bad idea .The bad thing about injections is that you feel ok so then you damage your disc even more .
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