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Re-herniation after Microdiscectomy

Started by Kendall24 on 02/26/2019 11:34pm

Hi all - I am about to be 4 months post op from my first microdiscectomy on my L4-L5 region. This surgery was basically an emergency surgery as I had really bad sciatica, was starting to have nerve damage and loss of strength in my right leg. I couldn’t even walk.. After surgery I was feeling back to normal but just recently I noticed the pain starting to come back..I was addmited into the ER where they injected steroids, muscle relaxers, and pain meds into my arm. Sent me home with of course more pain meds and sent me for an MRI. Today I find out the same disc has reherniated...I honestly don’t know whether to cry or scream at someone. Has anyone dealt with this...I feel lost, angry, and upset. What did you do after the same rehernaiton? Did you go thru with another surgery? Has anyone tried other meds to deal with a herniation that didn’t involve surgery? Any help, suggestions, or answers would be much appreciated!!

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6 Responses


I'm so sorry you're having this pain. Everyone is different and has a different story, so I'll tell you what happened to me. I had a microdiscetomy in 2000, L5-S1. Horrible experience.
In 2012, out of nowhere, I started having pain. This pain quickly escalated to the point where I was dragging my left leg and had to use a cane. After my MRI, this new doc told me the previous surgeon actually did a laminectomy, as I was missing lamina. (I don't know if this would have made a difference in the outcome, but the way I was treated during and after my, 'Microdiscetomy,' was abhorrent. )
So, yes it can re-herniate. Mine just happened to take 2 more discs with it. I was fused L-3 to S1 in 2012. I didn't see any other way, but surgery.
Bonus: I live in a state where getting pain killers is near next to impossible, so that fusion was SUUUUUPER fun. Doc wouldn't even try any new pain killers, as his hands were tied.
I'm now disabled and in pain all the time. My SI joints are next to be fused...maybe.


Hi Scari - Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so sorry to hear your outcome wasn’t great. I spoke to my surgeon today and have also reached out for second opinions. I hope & pray for some type relief for you some day as well as for myself! Best of luck with eveything!


While I haven't yet had surgery, my surgeon has explained to me that 15% of people in my situation will need further treatment in the future. Whether it be a second discectomy or a fusion. Even if you don't have the initial discectomy this supposedly can happen.

It is very important after a discectomy to work on strengthening your body and reducing stress from the spine to prevent it from happening again. The discectomy leaves a hole which needs to be supported from all of the muscles around it.

Sorry that you are going through with this but I wouldn't rule out another discectomy. I would just make sure you are extra careful if you do it again. I have talked to so many people who have landed on both sides- those who were very successful, and those who reinjured themselves. Stay strong.


Hi Calicyclist, thank you for your advice and comments. I have been trying to be optimistic about the situation. I have read over your post recently how you are still contemplating whether to go thru with the surgery or not. Although I did not really have a choice the first time I would say it was a good decision. The pain did subside and I could feel myself returning to normal. Until my reherniation, I am a little reluctant this time to move forward with a second disectomy right away. Like you this time around I have tried everything physical therapy, massages, accupuncture, and chiropractor. The pain is manageable and definitely not like the first time where i couldn’t even walk but I do get the occasional flare ups and just feel not the same.I have thought about getting the injections but at this point I feel maybe a second disectomy is just what needs to be done for me to move on. I have scheduled a second opinion with a different surgeon and will determine from there how I should move forward. Best of luck on your situation and thank you for your kind words and advice!


Have you tried an inversion table?

This is one of the things I have noticed which tends to give me a little bit of relief.


I feel your pain- literally. I'm a 49

In April 2017 I herniated L5/S1, but didn't have an mri until September 2017. I figured there was next to no chance that I had actually done any real damage by putting on pants! My pain was initially only in my lower back, but then moved into sciatic unrelenting pain. I rested, took otc anti-inflammatory meds,muscle relaxers, heating pads, chiropractic, TENS therapy, pt, and massage, prednisone (which gives me "roid rage" so I can't have them again). The results came back from the mri as a 7 X 10 mm herniation and a tiny tear in L4/L5 .

In October 2017 I had a microdiscectomy and the pain was gone! Surgical pain for a short time, but I had thankfully found relief.

In April 2018 I started having back pain again with no specific cause. I was immediately in touch with my surgeon (love him and his staff) who was sure it was nothing, but ordered another mri and a steroid injection. Results came back as a "MASSIVE recurrent herniation". 2.7cm. (Yes, centimeters!) Needless to say my surgeon was shocked. Another microdiscectomy in July 2018.

Surgery went well, but my nerve pain never went away. Since the first surgery immediately rid me of nerve pain I expected the pain to be gone.

By mid August I was telling the surgeon something was wrong still. He thought it was just normal post-op recovery, so he gave me a steroid injection. In September I had another mri. "MASSIVE recurrent herniation" 2.5cm (yep, cm)

October 2018 I had spinal fusion- ALIF. When he saw the hole in the disc my surgeon agreed that I probably reherniated as soon as I was moved after the second microdiscectomy- the hole was huge, but couldn't be seen posterior. Surgical pain was worse (bones hurt when you put screws in them!) but it resolved the nerve pain. In January 2019 I was given the all clear to do whatever I wanted since the fusion was stable with the rods.

February 2019 I started having pain again and let the Dr know something is wrong. He's doubtful that I injured anything, but we're currently waiting for insurance approval for another mri. I think L4/L5 herniated since it already had a tiny tear, but we'll see. It's possible it's scar tissue or the screws bothering the nerve.

I guess my point is this: YOU know your body and when something's wrong much better than your Dr. Mine still can't believe I reherniated (especially how quickly and the size). We as patients become very attuned to what we feel and must advocate for ourselves to get the tests we need. I have absolute faith in my surgeon. He advises me based on what he sees clinically with me and my tests. He's not responsible for my back issues, that's just bad luck. I absolutely would have the surgeries again. The only thing I would change would be the delay between my initial injury and getting the mri- I'm the only one to blame for that! My advice to you is that if you think something is wrong, get in touch with your Dr immediately- waiting just prolongs your pain.