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Anyone gone through microdiscectomy?

Started by spyder777 on 12/16/2010 2:01am

Hi, I'm finally seriously contemplating the above and was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on my reasons as to why I'm now considering moving forward. I had disc herniation at the L5-S1 from golf 10 years ago at the age of 25, leaving me bedridden for good 6 months, unable to bend my back forward even slightly without excruciating sharp pain throughout my lower back, sciatica, and the whole 9 yards. I was absolutely a surgery candidate, but because the surgeon told me that studies have shown that in a 5 year period patients who had surgery and no surgery fared about the same, I did not go through with it, especially given my age I figured I could get better. The only thing is that I chose to give up pretty much all sports. 10 years later, I don't have sharp pains in my back, or sciata down my leg, but I have deep aches that prevent me from sitting at a desk long enough to hold a regular desk job. I've taken some time off and decided to focus on really working on my core muscles through physical therapy, to a point where I could even play tennis--I get soreness but as long as I take a brief break to stretch between sets I'm ok. The intense workouts seemed to have helped me with the deep aches, but now I injured myself frequently from doing mundane things, like sitting down, which gets me in a state where it's very difficult for me to move around for about 2 weeks--this use to take 6 months, but it definitely helps that I'm in much better shape. These episodes have occurred about every 2 months now over the last 8 months.

My surgeon believes that a discectomy wouldn't get rid of my deep aches when sitting but primarily the sciata down my leg, which I do not have. However, in my experience, my deep aches are usually much worse following these episodes wheres I get the shooting pain that leads to the 2 weeks of severe immobility, which I would think is caused by the herniation impinging on my nerve. Therefore, if the herniation is removed via discectomy, I wouldn't have these episodes, and eventually through my continued strengthening of core muscles, my deep aches would go away.

On the one hand, I'm having a hard time justifying surgery because I can do almost anything without pain; however, on the other hand, I cannot sit long enough to hold a regular desk job, and I know that eventually when I do get back into a desk job I will not be able to maintain my exercise regiment, therefore, my core muscles will weaken, and the deep ache will probably return.

Would love to hear especially from people who had microdiscectomy, addressing your experience with recovery timeline, repeat surgery, spine instability, etc, and in light of this, whether you would proceed if you were me.


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5 Responses


I had a lumbar microdiskectomy in October at L5-S1, and it made a huge difference after a year of conservative therapy failed. Before the surgery, I averaged about a 5/10 constant pain level, and I worked my desk job lying down on the floor with a lap desk. Nowadays, my pain rarely goes above a 2/10, and I am back to exercising and am able to do most of what I would like to be doing activity-wise.

My surgeon was realistic with me- he said surgery would not make all my dreams come true, and it hasn't. But it has brought me a long way back to normal.


I had a Microdiskectomy at L4-L5. As far as I'm concerned, it was a total God send. I had been dealing with worsening sciatica for about 18 months, I already had foot drop in one leg, and was beginning to get numbness and tingling in both feet, and halfway up one leg. In other words, I already had irreversable nerve damage.
I saw a Neurosurgeon in the Dallas area who did a laproscopic microdiskectomy at L4-L5 which for 2 1/2 years completely nuked the pain, prevented any further nerve damage, and gave me my life back. I had only about a week of down time following the surgery, and was able to pretty much resume all of my activities within about a month. I limited myself for about 3 months, but that was self imposed, not Dr Ordered.
Unfortunately it didn't last, but that had nothing to do with the back surgery at all. My problems now are the result of Knee replacement surgery.
My advice is to seek out a GOOD neurosurgeon that is experienced at minimally invasive surgeries, and get a second opinion. It just may be your best move yet!


Hi just joined although I had surgery back in June of 2010. I had servere back pain and found it to be an acute herniation of my L5 S1. I had gone to a chiropractor at first, then to an orthopedic surgeon, had gotton the shots in my back and they did nothing for me. When I got to a point where I couldn't handle the pain anymore I went to the Neurologist in who referred me to a Neurosurgeon. I had the surgery and found out my disc ruptured and was caught between my nerve and some ligaments. Felt relief the next day and was very happy about that. The Microsurgery was not as bad as I thought it would be. Then after a week you may get phantom pains which feels as if you never got the surgery, but that does get better in about a week, then you start to recover. I do have a desk job and I exercise. Now it's been 9 months but if I do too much I still have some pain in my foot but nothing like it was. In my personal option, I believe you will always have the deep pain if you are too active or too inactive( by sitting around) whether you have the surgery or not, I just got it because I couldn't handle the nerve pain down my leg anymore. You sound like you are doing pretty well except for some pain that I'm not sure the surgery will fix. If you have the surgery you have to be very careful for abut 16 wks after because of reherniation, because once they do the microdiscectomy you will have an opening where they removed the part of the disc until your disc settles which takes about 14 - 16 weeks. I am hoping the nerve pain goes away all together although it is minimal. Hope all goes well for you, and good luck!


I had the exact same symptoms as you. My foot drop got better after physical therapy. My neurosurgeon elected not to do surgery even with the numb tingling feet. The emg reported no damage. Oh well, why do I still have it today? Guess emgs can be wrong? So my question is do you think my tingling feet will improve when I have metrx discectomy and decompression? Did yours go away?
Thanks for your input.


HI, I am almost 10 months post surgery and I still am having some nerve pain, alot in my left foot which was the side affected. I am going back to the neurosurgeon in April to get checked out again and possible MRI to see why, He said I shouldn't have any pain?? It of course is not as bad prior to surgery.