Microdisectomy - in two minds

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Hello everyone

Brief background. Around 2yrs ago I visited a specialist for severe lower left back pain. MRI scan showed degenerative disc at L4/5. It was decided to try physio therapy at this point. I was fine after that for around 1.5yrs before I started having further flare up's. At the beginning of this yr, I started experiencing tingling in my left foot & further episodes of bad back & then sciatica symptoms.

Further MRI scan in Jan of this yr showed a large area of the disc L4/5 herniated, compressing the nerve. At this point I was not able to perform straight leg raises due to the pain radiating up my leg & lower back. The specialist surgeon did not want to risk a steroid injection with a herniation of this magnitude. In April it was decided we go for microdiscectomy (booked for June). I also had physiotherapy sessions in May.

For around a month, my symptoms have eased off- just the odd ping down my leg & intermittent tingly left foot. During this period, I have been inactive (no cardio excercise at gym for 4 weeks). A pre-surgery MRI scan this week has shown the disc herniation is smaller than it looked in the Jan MRI scan- explaining why the symptoms are less than before.

The surgeon reckons I should continue with surgery for long term as a flare up can occur anytime. I really am stuck and cannot decide if I should go for surgery or not to the point I am anxious & stressed. Any advice will be welcome.

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    try getting a second Opinion had the same opp 12 years ago and it eased abit had to get a second opp 2 years ago to remove scar tissiu which has now left my back weaker if i could go back i would not go through the first opp try all other oppitons first yoga helps me control the pain. im a 35 year old male and it is hard to deal with at times but keep going

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  • Posted

    I have the same thing and won't have any operation on my back. I have other issues as well including osteoporosis and osteoarthritis so would not risk it. I do not work as retired and manage it all but I am basically disabled and have a very reduced lifestyle. I cannot sit on most chairs or walk far.

    It does not always work either and can cause other issues. If you are going okay I would not rush into the operation.

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  • Posted

    Hi i had that surgery in March this year and woke up and the syptoms where the same , and i thought well its not worked much. After 4 weeks i moved quick and was in so much pain , ended up at A&E they ordered another MRI and the disk had moved and i needed the sugery again , they call it a redo. First surgery was L5/S1 and second was L4/L5 . They second op has been such a difference to the leg pain and pins and needles , but i have a lot of back pain . But my last surgery was only 5 weeks ago . I would say have it for leg pain and pins and needles , but it wont do anything for back pain , i so my surgeon yesterday and he said it would never do anything for the back. Hope this helps

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  • Posted

    HI,you have my sympathies.Over ten years ago i herniated a disc moving furniture-i have never experienced pain like it,not even child birth.following an MRI scan i was told i had degenrative disc disease at L4/5 -no surgery offered,told to get in with my life and just be careful!I am careful,i have had physio,lost weight and tried to strengthen my core muscles-however,without fail,once or twice a year ,without warning,my lower back begins to "zip up" and i am bed bound with horrific spasms.i have just had this episode 4 days ago and am now back to normal. I take diazepan,amitriptyline and co codomol to get me through.last time i was given liquid morphine as i fell and the pain was unbearable.

    i have heard so many horror stories about surgery that i wont consider it.without doubt it has affected my whole life-a weak unpredictable back is not fun but have been told the older you get the jelly like substance between the discs becomes harder and is unable to push through the discs so much leading to a decrease in episodes.

    Only you can make the decision which is right for you but i wanted to let you know you are not on your own on this journey.

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  • Posted

    I had a microdisectomy in 2016. I woke up from the op pain free and managed to get off my pain meds in a matter of 7 weeks! Was the best thing i had done. I was morphne dependant until then.

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  • Posted

    Hi Shaf,

    I'm so sorry to hear that you have been going through this awful time and pain with your lower back, I just wanted you to know I was thinking about you as someone who has had some issues with lower back in the last couple of years. I've been lucky that I've still been able to be mobile and relatively active and that it's only been a bit of a disc bulge in L5 S1 showing in my MRI scans, but the pain and mental effect still got me so down at times and I'm just grateful that have been feeling a bit more settled with it lately. I know it's only down to God that has been the case, and I believe God is going to help you and set you free from your pain Shaf.

    I'm afraid I'm not qualified enough in any way to advise whether to go for the surgery or not, I can only imagine how tough a decision this must be and praying God gives you guidance to do the thing that will bring you to be pain free and well again.

    One thing that maybe worth looking into or trying is Bowen Therapy - I had bad sciatica in the past and tried all sorts, physio, chiropractic, all sorts but nothing seemed to help much - until someone suggested I try Bowen Therapy. It's a very natural, non-evasive therapy, very safe indeed, I can't tell you how much wonders this worked on my sciatica - I would definitely recommend it for sciatica, maybe worth looking into seeing if any Bowen Therapists in your area.

    One other book that I found helpful was one called 'Back Pain Decoded' by Robert Shanks, which was suggested to me by my Osteopath. It's different from other techinical back books in that it just some good advice on different gadgets and alternative therapies and things to try in simple ways, I think a black and white copy can be bought from Amazon for about £20 or so (UK money).

    Hang in there Shaf, trust in God I believe He's going to get you through this and pain free again - thinking about you.


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  • Posted

    hi, i know this was a while ago but can i ask what you decided? im in the same position!!

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    • Edited


      Hi Jessica.

      After seeing my sister go with back surgery & not any better...I was not brave enough to go through with it & cancelled it literally last min. I still have episodes of back pain...it has been around a year since last really bad bout of pain so I believe I made the correct decision.

      Maybe you should seek a second opinion? Good luck with whatever decision you go with.


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