should i go ahead with a Diskectomy surgery?

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I have been suffering from Sciatic flare-up's for the past two years and the most recent one has definitely been the worst. I am no only able to sleep on one side and have had to stop doing my gym exercise and even walking is very painful. Looking at some of the feedback from people who have had Diskectomy surgery, it seems as though this isn't a miracle cure but can alleviate the leg and nerve pain. I am so fed up of this pain ruining my life but the alternative of surgery is also loaded with drawbacks not the least, being laid up potentially for a good few months. I have had this dilemma with my last flare-up and ended up cancelling the op at the last minute as it suddenly improved . but i feel that i am going to be on this Sciatica roller-coaster ride for ever unless i do something about it. Has anyone else been in the same position of these erratic flare-ups and how more frequent have they become? Currently had this bout for over 6 weeks. feeling very fed up.

Any feedback would be really usefull . thank you .

0 likes, 10 replies

10 Replies

  • Posted

    I feel your pain! I'm on my third flare up.

    I've just been referred to the specialist, but the waiting time is ridiculous, if they decide to do the surgery, I'm looking at a 6 month wait, by which time it probably will have settled down!

    I'm desperate now to have something done about it.

    Best of luck with whatever you decide, hope your pain eases soon xxx

    • Posted

      Thanks Sandra. I hope you get sorted soon... i'm lucky that i have private healthcare through my work so that aspect isn't a problem for me. Would you have the surgery now in your current state or are you going to try alternative measures? Physio is no good whatsoever for me... i haven't tried the injections but not keen based on the feedback i have read.

      I hope you get some resolution quick Sandra. You maybe need to make a bit of a nuisance of yourself at the Doctors or they seem to just not take it too seriously! good luck xx

    • Posted

      Thanks Alison, I am currently going to physio which does help thank goodness! And I'm lucky that my work provides a certain amount of free sessions.

      I have been told steriod injections might help, I guess I'll just have to wait and see what the specialist recommends when I finally get there!! xxx

  • Posted

    Sciatic Pain

    First: What is the root cause of your sciatic pain? If it's a pinched sciatic nerve from your hips and lumbar back being out of alignment or from SI joints, then the simple fix is chiropractic. I played hockey for 45 years and chiro fixed me over and over again. Even after a knee replacement (and walking akilter), it was still the fastest, easiest, non-invasive fix. NO DRUGS!!!

    However, if it's truly spinal related (the last case in the above discussion), then there is no other fix than surgery. Nothing was going to fix that bone spur crushing my sciatic nerve except a great neurosurgeon...note: NOT an orthopedist. That op relieved ALL the pain immediately and I was back to normal in a week. Doc got rid of the spur and shaved back the calcified disks so the sciatic nerve was completely free and unimpeded. Simple same-day procedure, no brace, no rehab.

    Again it all comes down to the actual cause of the sciatic pain. Surgery will do no good if the SI joints are pinching the nerves. Then you're back to square one. Find the root cause. A chiropractor can help eliminate any alignment issues. For me, pain shots never, ever worked. That's when the neurosurgeon ordered a CT/Myelogram with contrast (the "gold standard" spine test) and found the real problem.

    Find the root cause and proceed accordingly.

    • Posted

      HI Chico Marx..

      thanks for your comments. The sciatica is coming from L4/L5 slipped discs. I am going to give the steroid injection a try as i have tried Chiropracter in the past and it hasn't worked for me.

      AT this stage i am willing to try anything.

    • Posted

      If it is degenerative disk related, no chiropractor can help. For me, the pain shots directly to the disk have never worked...but they are mandatory in the US before an insurance company will OK surgery.

      The procedure that I have gotten twice is called a decompressive laminectomy and it worked great both times. Docs shave away all the calcified disk tissue that is impinging on the nerves. Simple, same-day procedure. You should notice immediate relief once the local anesthetic injected into the space wears off.

      An MRI or CT/Myelogram will tell the neurosurgeon what the actual problem is. If the L4/L5 space is compressed beyond what the laminectomy can accomplish, the neuro may recommend a fusion. This will open up the disk space so that the nerve roots passing through the foraminal canals from the spinal cord to the rest of the body are no longer compressed inside the foramina. If this is the case, then consider an LLIF procedure (Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion).

      This involves opening you up from the side, not the back, drilling out the bad disk, inserting a small device that acts like a car jack, expanding the device so the vertebrae no longer compress the nerve roots coming out of the foraminal canals. They backfill the space with a small amount of bone from your hip and close.

      Search YouTube for "Globus LLIF Technique" for an animation of the procedure and "Globus Calibur" for an example of one of the many devices they can insert depending on your diagnosis and anatomy.

      This is a "miracle op". I had bilateral stenosis (pain down BOTH legs) and I was up and running as soon as I woke up. One night stay in the hospital, no brace, no rehab, all the pain gone in an instant. Keep this in your back pocket if you need it. Don't let someone fuse you one level with rails and screws. Find a neurosurgeon with LLIF experience.

    • Posted

      Wow.. you certainly know your stuff. I can see why you do though. You will have done lots of research and rightly so.

      This is my 3rd bad flare up of Sciatica and i was probably stupid to put off the Diskectomy last time but was hoping it wouldn't come back. silly me. My surgeon is a well respected one who has done thousands of these procedures but he is an orthosurgeon and not a neurosurgeon. Putting my faith in his highly acclaimed abilities!

      The surgeon tells me it should be fairly routine procedure for me so hopefully the laminectomy won't be needed but thanks for the info - I will keep this in mind for future reference. Have you found that you are able to go back to your previous activities and if so how quickly did the happen? Or am i fooling myself about resuming my love of Gym, dance and walking.

      Thanks again for sharing your information.

    • Posted

      Everything is possible if you find and fix the root cause of your sciatica. I always start with chiropractic and then "climb the ladder of care" if it doesn't help. The top rung is always a neurosurgeon since they are the kings and queens of the spine. I trust no one else. My orthopedic surgeon takes care of my joints (replaced hip...replaced knee) because that's an ortho's specialty. But everyone gets to choose according to their beliefs and comfort level. No judgments.

      When I had my first laminectomy for the bone spur at L4/L5 causing my sciatica, it was a same-day, go home surgery. Immediate pain relief with decreasing residual pain due to the inflamed sciatic nerve root gone in a week. Ibuprofen helped. Once that week passed, I was good to anything I residual effects.

      However, I continued to see my chiropractor 2X/month to make sure my hips and back were always aligned. I've had a long history of my SI joints locking up and causing sciatic pain so I am more proactive in keeping everything balanced. That's an individual choice.

      So, should be fine to resume your favorite activities IF the procedure does the job. I would recommend that you start slowly and build up your endurance to minimize any risk of a re-occurrence.

      If you read my post on the link above, you will see that I've had to deal with sciatica many, many times over decades. I found what works for me...I hope the procedure works for you and that you can find a way to address that pain quickly and easily on an on-going basis. No one should have to live with sciatic pain. Find the root cause and fix it. No RX drugs!!! They just mask the pain and put you into side effects hell.

      Be your own best health advocate. Don't take anything at face value, especially from docs. They always apply the solution they are most comfortable with regardless of your particular need. Get second opinions...question everything until you are comfortable with your choices. Do what's best for YOU.

    • Posted

      Yes I couldn't agree more with everything you have said. especially the last part. I have been holding off from injections and surgery for over 2 years now in the belief that my body would be able to heal itself. I am pretty fit and agile for my age and eat well etc. I think that i am getting to the point now where i either accept these "bouts" of Sciatic hell (which as you know are very debilitating for months - I read your timeline. you certainly know what you are talking about) or i try one of the measures the docs are offering. My overiding fear with the surgery is not the actual surgery but the time out needed to recover from it. I have too much to do to be laid up for months but on the other hand, the sciatics is already having a massive effect on my quality of life so it's a 20/20 situation really.

      I think i will give the injections a try and although i don't hold out much hope of them working longer term, it will give me a bit more breathing space perhaps to make the surgery decision.

      I really appreciate your comments and advice. It's very comforting to know that others have been through this and come through the other side. I am not the most optimistic of people so this has helped a lot.

      thanks again

    • Posted

      The decompressive laminectomy for the bone spur at L4 that was crushing my sciatic nerve root was performed under same-day surgery. Instant relief with another week of decreasing inflammation as the nerve returned to normal. I my experience, only my L3 through S1 TLIF fusion (rails and screws) kept me in the hospital for ten days. Then I went back to work, doing PT 3X/week after work for a few months. I recovered very quickly and nailed the rehab. Some people aren't as lucky and get laid up for a while. It's all very individual; no one can predict your particular outcome. But know that fixing a spinal problem impacting your sciatic nerve should be trivial (in my experience) when measured against a multi-level fusion. Talk to a good neurosurgeon.

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