Post Microdiscectomy L5/S1

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HI Everyone,

Would like some advice/comments good and bad with regard to my experience of recent surgery.

First off here's my story.

Twelve years ago I experienced a pro-lapsed disc which left a snag pushing into my sciatic nerve.

Despite having two epidural injections and a nerve root compression this left me with permanent sciatica in my right leg from my hip through to my knee and at its worst down to my foot and Achilles heal. It mostly sat between my right buttock and knee only straying beyond that point when I pushed my back too far due to the nerve damage and bulge it then all settled down for a while if I rested, it was quite manageable..

Their where further ruptures in 2005, 2009 x2 and a final massive rupture in January 2012 this was the gig shift. It was at this point as there was no significant recovery compared to previously after a few weeks I sought further advice from my GP. I was referred for another MRI scan which showed a massive rupture and complete breakdown of the Disc at L5/S1 but further debris had entered the sciatic nerve chamber causing now severe and acute sciatica. The nerve was now critically damaged. There was also the early telltale signs of arthritis

Again there was some settling down during the summer and my Consultant Surgeon suggested we wait and I agreed as it felt reasonably okay. I had after all got used to degrees of pain thresholds and the symptoms of sciatica for 11 years by now and my attitude had always been to fight against it and avoid surgery

Unfortunately come the autumn and winter it all started to go wrong again my consultant was reluctant to operate and we waited again. In May of this year following another MRI showing some degree of settling down I agreed to one last Root Nerve Compression/Epidural which sadly appeared to do very little although in June and July with the minor heat wave again it showed improvement and I was even able to play tennis once a week something I could not have done in the previous 12 months when I was forced to give up consideration of youth football coaching due to the effects on my back from the pain and acute sciatica. In was in June that my Surgeon decided to operate in an attempt to alleviate the back pain and give me back as much sensation in my right leg which had been partially lost as a result of the sciatica and nerve damage. He also felt the particles from the L5 Disc in the sciatic nerve chamber where getting too close to the outer wall of the chamber and the remains of the disc's outer sack where not helping in regards to the level of pain I was now experiencing.

On the 3rd August 2013 I had a Microdiscectomy which went well and the Surgeon described it as a complete success removing what was left of the L5 sack and removing the particles and debris from my Sciatic nerve chamber and completing a cleaning and flushing out the entire chamber at the nerve root point. Yes the nerve had thinned and was kinked due to the numerous bulges and the arthritis had increased slightly. Overall he was not worried and felt I would be fully recovered and pain free within about 8 weeks although some degree of sciatica would remain due to the nerve damage.

Post Op for two weeks I was fine was walking and some minor back strengthening exercises could be undertaken I felt great the Sciatica was reduced and the pain in my lower back and buttock gone.I had not felt this good for years.

By the third week all hell broke loose I woke up one morning and the sciatica was back but worse than ever and in other parts of my right leg where it had not been before and now it was showing signs of being in my left leg where it had never been in all of the previous 12 years since this had started. My GP prescribed Gabapentin 300mg to counter act the spasms and pins and needles which were now increasing at an alarming rate. These helped and I am still taking them currently.

I spoke to my consultant’s secretary who intern spoke to my consultant who was surprised as this was not the way a recovery form this operation should be going according to his experience however I still had 4 weeks before I was supposed to see him post op and he told me to see how it goes until then. The following week again I was presented with something else this time symptoms that where all too familiar to me over the last decade. I woke up in morning and got slowly out of bed realizing that the symptoms I was now experiencing where of a ruptured or pro-lapsed disc, but it could not be the L5 as that has all been removed and the L4 above and all my other discs where in good shape as per the last MRI at the end of May. The pain was back and worse than before, the sciatica increased although this was being masked by the Gabapentin and still is. I was also presented with severe pains coming from my right hip and right butt cheek which remain to this day.

I saw my Surgeon on the 11th September at my scheduled out patients appointment... He reiterated that it had been a successful opp however when I had the opportunity to speak he seemed surprised at the symptoms I was presenting and how poorly my recovery had gone. He stated there was a "low probability of a further rupture especially with the one immediately above (L4). He examined me and agreed I was presenting symptoms of a further Pro-lapsed /Ruptured disc and the fact I had sciatica in my left leg was of great concern to him as this in fact unusual to have sciatica in both legs .He immediately called for a fresh MRI to determine what is actually going on and that where I am currently.

I have a scan scheduled for mid-October and see him Mid November. Meanwhile I cannot work, and can do very little without aggravating the symptoms further. I can Walk and do lots of it although it is very painful. To be fair there has always been some degree of pain at times since 2001 but now the pain is intense and severely distracting. I try to do the back muscles strengthening exercises but these are difficult. Sitting for any length of time is painful as is standing. Driving is nigh on impossible past about 2 to 5 miles due to the pain in my lower back, buttock and occasionally shooting up to my right shoulder which is very unusual for me. I have tried to get the scan brought forward so I can then badger my Consultants secretary for an earlier appt with him, all to no avail.

I feel I am now in complete limbo and am very worried. Days before this opp I could run, walk miles, drive, and work etc and now I cannot even do any of that as I am worse than I have ever been since it all started in 2001. I take far more medication that I have ever had to. Even in 2009 when I had two lapses I could get by on occasional muscle stimulants.

The operation as it stands now looks like a very poor decision but I felt it was worth the risk as despite a recovery I did wonder if like the Autumn of 2012 by this Autumn it may deteriorate again.

I am currently at my wits end the pain is worse than before and the sciatica is all over the place now. My GP is reluctant to do anything as I am under a Senior Consultant Surgeon and I cannot see him until the MRI scan is at least undertaken.

It’s all very disheartening and I find it difficult to equate how I can enter hospital for an operation to alleviate these symptoms and come out even worse.

What makes it worse also is that people around you treat it all as a bit of a joke and don't seem to realize the extent that these symptoms have on your everyday living. People think I should have recovered by now and I am a malingerer/lazy. This could not be further from the truth as I have always fought against this but now it seems fully in control. I was nearly 40 when this first presented itself I am now almost 52 and it has had an alarming effect my life at times.

Sorry for rambling on but I wanted to give a clear picture as to what is happening and had gone before.

Regards

Warrie

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  • Posted

    Hi Warrie

    Your Discectomy sounds exactly like mine as she described it along with the debris too, same disc!

    Ima not worse than before my op as I could only walk a few steps and was taken in wheelchairs to appts etc.

    However I have been in loads of pain and can't walk a step without pain. See my posts on here, my op was April 13. I tried to return to work in July but it was excruciating (desk job) so my GP signed me off again. It has taken from July to end October to get my doctor to do a referral back to my surgeon/consultant and I've now found out its because it's cost money to refer you apparently.

    Anyway my surgeon ordered the MRI's which were 3 wks ago and made an appt for me to see her Tuesday just gone. I have a swelling both sides of spine around the area of removed disc and a cyst!!!

    I am now on a new thing, 100 days of antibiotics, google "antibiotics for lower back pain" this explains it. Apparently I may have an infection , although I'm wondering if they trying this out on all cases like mine as it only costs NHS £114 to put you on the tablets for the 100 days and it's a fair cheaper option if it works. Ultimately I just want to get better be able to work and not have 24/7 pain. Therefore I. Giving this a go and see what happens, I should feel benefits at about 6 wks into it so it's day 2, only time will tell........

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  • Posted

    Warrie

    Are you still about and still suffering?

    Update

    I've completed the 100 days of antibiotics and frustratingly it didn't work for me.

    I am now on the waiting list to have some metalwork put in my consent form says fashion and decompression ??

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    • Posted

      Hi  

      I am now11 months on from the MD and sadly I am not as good as I was pre operation in August 2013. The complications I had are /were a series of problems some permananent. The Membrane surrounding your outer spinal column has to be cut to access the disc area and this had not repaired properly and was pushing on the nerve root causing increasiing problems to what was already a severly damaged area. This made the scitica even more erratic than it was before and that still remains I have been on Pregabalin since October last year briefly coming off at my consulatnts request but now back on only lasting three weeksbefore returning to it with the sciatica becoming unbearable which for someone who has lived with this for 13 years now you can imagine it must be bad. The pain in my lower back is 100% woprse than before the opp and my mobility although significantly improved sine late August last year is still no where near what it was pre-opp. I have to say the decision to have the opp in the first place looks a really bad one for many reasons as the impact it has had on my life since last year has been devastating. I now have osteo-Arthritis in my lower spine and Facet Jopint syndrome which is creating hell around the nerve root.It is unlikely that the sciatic nerve will ever repair which I accept. The Osteo A I may have got in my fifties  anyway but the pain it causes coupled with extensive scarring over the years and post opp drive me crazy at times.I lost my job over this and have had difficulty geeting work since with people thinking I am not fit for work The laugh of that is that I have been able to return to some of my vocational interests including Managing and under 15's football team and have just passed my FA Coaching qualification which included a fair amount of practical demonstration so depite the pain my mobilty is quite good. Why then employers think I am not fit for work is beyond me.

      As I have finished physio now as they where pleased with my movement I am now having a series of steroid/epidural injections in my lower spine to help with pain releif. I had my first last Monday which was great at the time I felt really good but 3 days later I was back to normal so I am not sure if all the monies spent by the NHS are worth it. My overall experience of the last 18 months has not been good and despite having one of the best surgeons in the UK the standard of care has been average in my opinion as I am now further back than I was at the start and all my surgeon does is go on about risks,my age and the 13 years of damage and deterioration which has put me where I am. He then contradicts himself by saying I am young to have these symptoms.

      I try and focus on what I can do rather thanwhat I used to be able to do but in all honesty the final rupture and subsequent complications post opp have for now ruined my life.

      Take Care

      Warren

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  • Posted

    Warrie,

    I read your article as I have problems with L5/S1 and 'a spinal surgical review' is recommended. After reading your article, I am not now keen to go in this direction. Like you, I am sporty, and tennis means a lot to me. Thank you for sharing this with me, and I sincerely hope that 7 months on (from when you wrote this) things have improved for you.

    Keith

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    • Posted

      Hi Keith,

      I am now11 months on from the MD and sadly I am not as good as I was pre operation in August 2013. The complications I had are /were a series of problems some permananent. The Membrane surrounding your outer spinal column has to be cut to access the disc area and this had not repaired properly and was pushing on the nerve root causing increasiing problems to what as already a severly damaged area. This made the scitica even more erratic than it was before and that stillreamins I have been on Pregabalin since October last year briefly coming off at my consulatnts request but now back on it after three weeks the sciatica become unbearable which for someone who has lived with this for 13 years now you can imagine it must be bad. The pain in my lower back is 100% woprse than before the opp and my mobility although significantly improved sine late August last year is still no where near what it was pre-opp. I have to say the decision to have the oppin the firts place looks a really bad one for many reasons as the impact it has hadon my life since last year has been devastating. I no have osteo-Arthritis in my lower spine and Facet Jopint syndrome which is creating heel around the nerve root.It is unlikely that the sciatic nerve will ever repair which I accept. The Osteo A I may have got in my fifties  a anyway but the pain it causes coupled with extensive scarring over the years and post opp drive me crazy at times.I lost my job over this and have had difficulty geeting work since with people thinking I am not fit for work The laugh of that is that I have been able to return to some of my vocational interests including Mananging and under 15's ffotball team and have just passed my FA Coaching qualification which included a fair amount of practical demonstration so depite the pain my mobilty is quite good. Why the employers think I am not fit for work is beyond me.

      As I have finished physio now as they wher pleased with my movement I am now having a series of steroid/epiduarlinjections in my lower spine to help with pain releif. I had my first last Monday which was great at the time I felt really good but 3 days later I was back to normal so I am not sure ir all the monies spent by the NHS are worth it. My over all experience of the last 18 months has not been good and despite having one of the best surgeons in the UK the standard of care has been average in my opinion as I am now further back than I was at the start and allmy surgeon does is go on about risks,age and the 13 years of damage and deterioration which has put me where I am.

      I try and focus on what I can do rather thanwhat I used to be able to do but in all honesty the final rupture and subsequent complications post opp have for now ruined my life.

      Take Care

      Warren

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    • Posted

      Hi  

      I am now11 months on from the MD and sadly I am not as good as I was pre operation in August 2013. The complications I had are /were a series of problems some permananent. The Membrane surrounding your outer spinal column has to be cut to access the disc area and this had not repaired properly and was pushing on the nerve root causing increasiing problems to what was already a severly damaged area. This made the scitica even more erratic than it was before and that still remains I have been on Pregabalin since October last year briefly coming off at my consulatnts request but now back on only lasting three weeksbefore returning to it with the sciatica becoming unbearable which for someone who has lived with this for 13 years now you can imagine it must be bad. The pain in my lower back is 100% woprse than before the opp and my mobility although significantly improved sine late August last year is still no where near what it was pre-opp. I have to say the decision to have the opp in the first place looks a really bad one for many reasons as the impact it has had on my life since last year has been devastating. I now have osteo-Arthritis in my lower spine and Facet Jopint syndrome which is creating hell around the nerve root.It is unlikely that the sciatic nerve will ever repair which I accept. The Osteo A I may have got in my fifties  anyway but the pain it causes coupled with extensive scarring over the years and post opp drive me crazy at times.I lost my job over this and have had difficulty geeting work since with people thinking I am not fit for work The laugh of that is that I have been able to return to some of my vocational interests including Managing and under 15's football team and have just passed my FA Coaching qualification which included a fair amount of practical demonstration so depite the pain my mobilty is quite good. Why then employers think I am not fit for work is beyond me.

      As I have finished physio now as they where pleased with my movement I am now having a series of steroid/epidural injections in my lower spine to help with pain releif. I had my first last Monday which was great at the time I felt really good but 3 days later I was back to normal so I am not sure if all the monies spent by the NHS are worth it. My overall experience of the last 18 months has not been good and despite having one of the best surgeons in the UK the standard of care has been average in my opinion as I am now further back than I was at the start and all my surgeon does is go on about risks,my age and the 13 years of damage and deterioration which has put me where I am. He then contradicts himself by saying I am young to have these symptoms.

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  • Posted

    Hi Warrie,

    I had the same experience with siatic nerve paina nd was doing the steroid shot on and off.  I was able to handle pain after all the years suffering with it.

    Then in October 2013, a disc herinated and I was in pain where I could not walk, clean myself etc.  I did a discetomy in April and it went wrong.  Pain was horrible after it.  My brother then came into the picture and became my health advocate.

    He connected me with a doctor at Mount Sinai Hospital on West 102nd Street in Manhattan, NYC.

    Doctor Nuwirth operated on me the next day after seeing me and I was pain free that day.  After 3 days, all leg, buttock and sharpness stopped.  My foot is still like pins and needles but I can live with that.  I would recommend trying to see this doctor.  He has helped many people gain their quality of life back - I am living proof.  I thought I would have to live with this pain but now my pain is very minimal.

    Good lucjk Warrie and good luck to everyone reading this who is in pain.

    Wes

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    • Posted

      Hi Weswes,

      I suspect that 'Warrie' is in the United Kingdom (as he refers to his GP, whereas I believe you in the States refer to them as your MD?), and possibly (probably) wouldn't be able to get to Manhattan to see this surgeon, which is unfortunate if such is the case, but such is life, I'm afraid..

      I've just had decompression of L4/5-S1/2, but still have the paresthesia in my right foot especially - I'm due to see my surgeon in December for my 6-month check-up

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    • Posted

      Hi  

      I am now11 months on from the MD and sadly I am not as good as I was pre operation in August 2013. The complications I had are /were a series of problems some permananent. The Membrane surrounding your outer spinal column has to be cut to access the disc area and this had not repaired properly and was pushing on the nerve root causing increasiing problems to what was already a severly damaged area. This made the scitica even more erratic than it was before and that still remains I have been on Pregabalin since October last year briefly coming off at my consulatnts request but now back on only lasting three weeksbefore returning to it with the sciatica becoming unbearable which for someone who has lived with this for 13 years now you can imagine it must be bad. The pain in my lower back is 100% woprse than before the opp and my mobility although significantly improved sine late August last year is still no where near what it was pre-opp. I have to say the decision to have the opp in the first place looks a really bad one for many reasons as the impact it has had on my life since last year has been devastating. I now have osteo-Arthritis in my lower spine and Facet Jopint syndrome which is creating hell around the nerve root.It is unlikely that the sciatic nerve will ever repair which I accept. The Osteo A I may have got in my fifties  anyway but the pain it causes coupled with extensive scarring over the years and post opp drive me crazy at times.I lost my job over this and have had difficulty geeting work since with people thinking I am not fit for work The laugh of that is that I have been able to return to some of my vocational interests including Managing and under 15's football team and have just passed my FA Coaching qualification which included a fair amount of practical demonstration so depite the pain my mobilty is quite good. Why then employers think I am not fit for work is beyond me.

      As I have finished physio now as they where pleased with my movement I am now having a series of steroid/epidural injections in my lower spine to help with pain releif. I had my first last Monday which was great at the time I felt really good but 3 days later I was back to normal so I am not sure if all the monies spent by the NHS are worth it. My overall experience of the last 18 months has not been good and despite having one of the best surgeons in the UK the standard of care has been average in my opinion as I am now further back than I was at the start and all my surgeon does is go on about risks,my age and the 13 years of damage and deterioration which has put me where I am. He then contradicts himself by saying I am young to have these symptoms.

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  • Posted

    Sorry to read of your continuing problems Warrie, I really hope that you manage to get them sorted, although from what you say, that does seem rather forlorn.

    I meant to have added -in my previous post on this thread- that when I had my decompression in May, I was also due to have a discectomy as well - however, when admitted to hospital that morning, the two consent forms that I had signed (one for each part of the op) at my pre-op appraisal some months previously couldn't be found in my hospital notes, so I was asked to sign one other form - it was only on being discharged from hospital that I found out that I had only been given the decompression, but not the discectomy - being the cynic that I am, I believed that this was due to the incompetency of the NHS/hospital in losing my consent forms, but at my 4 week review post-op (and after I had emailed my surgeon with my concerns, not just on the surgery itself but also post-op care in the hospital prior to discharge), I was informed by my surgeon that the discectomy wasn't carried out because I had 'engorged veins' that were pressing against the sciatic nerve -  is it just my BullS**t meter has gone way into the red, or has anyone else experienced this 'explanation' ? - and is it a possibility Warrie that you yourself may have had exactly the same symptoms but the surgery went ahead regardless - maybe a question to ask your GP/surgeon, perhaps?

    All the very best of health in the future

    #99

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      Thanks for replying yes like you I am not really sure about the NHS at a low level they are fine but soon as you enter the point where you have to see a consultant it all seems to fall apart. I was recommended by the Senior Consultant Physiotherapist to see this surgeon 2 years ago at my local hospital but when I saw her in January  of this year post op she could not understand why he performed the op in light of the improvement pre op and the fact I had been playing Tennis two days before the op.Even on the day of the op I wanted to cancel it but he pursuaded me it would be of benefit. For 12 years I had avoided an MD admittedly I probably did not need it until the final rupture in 2012.

      I have to say every time I go to see my consultant I am filled with dread as to what Bull ***t I am going to get next. The latest escapde has maded me think why keep putting my body through this.Last Monday I had the injection 8 in the theatre plus an imaging machine and support staff for an injection which lasted 3 days at what cost to the NHS.To me now it feels like they are clutching at straws trying to appease me.When last year post op they wanted to discharge me from their care despite being aware of the probelems and undertaking a further MRI Scan and consideration of a second op  to try and resolve the complications.Mercifully some of it has resolved itself.(not much) I just wish instead of telling you after the op you will be fine in 6weeks they are honset my consultant has now when he said it will take a year to recover to any extent and that is now commencing from Jan 2014 when the recovery after the complications started. So at this rate I am looking to get back , if I am lucky to where I was pre op  by December some 18 months after the op.Pathetic or what and when you say anything to him or his staff they just shrug their shoulders. So my life is on hold once again and I cannot get work and don't even qualify for benefits. My wife holds it all together for us but it isn't easy.

      I am afraid like most people you are in their hands and if in my case they don't listen to their patient this can be the outcome. I have asked my GP for a second opnion but he wants me to stick with this consultant. I know doubt money is the key factor in that thinking.

      I really hope things improve for  you and everyone else. Keep in touch

      Warren

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    • Posted

      Hopefully just a very brief note Warrie (it has turned out not to be! - I kust wish we could correspond directly by email), and I'm sorry that we both won't be fully mobile until December - but then we're gonna party like it's 1999!!! - but given your age (now 52 I'm supposing) I'm surprised that you can't claim Pension Credit (referred to below as PC) as I thought that was available to those aged 50+ ?

      I am (rapidly) approaching retirement age, but I was advised to claim PC when I first stopped work (self-employed) last May, and although it was initially rejected (complications regarding income from a joint property business with my wife, and also taking into account her (also self-employed) income from the management of our property portfolio) eventually had it approved last November, back-dated to May - if you can get PC, this opens the door to a range of other benefits that may be available (depending upon your wife's earnings), and quite by chance, when I phoned to enquire as to the progress of my PC last August, I was also advised to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP); I did this, and due to a house move in between times - when the original contractor (of the Dept for Work & Pensions) at my old address had to be changed to a different contractor at my new address - causing delays, I eventually received PIP (backdated to last August) in June; this has also lead to the possibility of further benefits (for instance carers allowance by my wife in respect of my mobility/health/personal hygiene issues) which are presently being investigated - worth having a go for, especially if you've paid into the system all your working life!

      Kind regards

      #99

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      Can if you want this might stretch the forum rules but hey ho its _____ email me

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      I willhave a look at that to be honest all I think about is getting back into paid work. I do alot of voluntary work and the football managing takes  alot of my time up but it don't pay the billsas they say.

      Warren

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