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FAQ Microdiscectomy Spine Surgery

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This article is about the most frequent issues and questions people have related to back surgery according to the comments, posts, and messages by our followers. The focus here is specifically on the most commonly used surgical option for herniated discs: microdiscectomy (and laminectomy).

Microdiscectomy Spine Surgery

 

When to Get Microdiscectomy?

The most common sense advice people give and receive is to only consider surgery after everything else has failed. Nevertheless, the decision is very hard and many people appreciate reading about others’ experiences before making their decision.

Some sufferers manage to heal their back over the years with other treatments, but many others have to give up and go for surgery as the last resort.

“Sometimes surgery is the way to go and I was completely against it. That’s why I tried all the other stuff. But after almost 2 years it got so bad I was in constant pain.” ~Jessica

“I herniated 2 discs about a year ago since then I’ve done injections, heat therapy, acupuncture, and pain killers none of which have given me any long lasting relief so because nothing else has worked I was advised by my doctor to go for the surgery.” ~Kathy

 

Some people can’t bear the pain and want to end their suffering as fast as possible. Others don’t have a choice:

“…been suffering with a bulging disc for almost 18 years and it herniated in October 2014. For quality of life I was offered an op. It’s either that or put up with constant pain and strong painkillers.” ~Susan

“I didn’t want surgery either but at this point I can’t walk far and when I do walk I walk with a cane just to support myself.” ~Kathy




 

Do People Regret the Surgery?

Understandably, the majority of those who are thinking about surgery are anxious about the outcome (among other things). Unfortunately there is no clear positive answer related to the success rate of microdiscectomy, as people report mixed outcomes:

 “I feel great now (14 weeks post op) and I have my life back!” ~Jessica

“I had the surgery. Best decision I ever made. Neurosurgeon, not orthopaedic surgeon though. Worth every penny” ~Tam

“I would do it over again in a heartbeat, it has given me my life back!!” ~April

“I had surgery March 10 2014 by April 15th 2014 I again was in so much pain come to find out I was amongst the 6 that reruptured. Now I have more damage, scar tissue, and the pain and pressure are unreal .I’ve lost pretty much all feeling In my right lower leg and foot . Im tired of pills injections ect … honestly u should try everything else other than surgery despite what your doc says ..” ~Pamela

“I’ve never regretted it for one minute. Best decision I’ve made. ” ~Tam

 

What about those who went against the advice and did not get the surgery? In some cases it seems like the recommended surgery was not actually necessary and the injury could be healed without it after all:

“I had one doc say I had no choice but surgery. I refused to believe that. 3 months later with new doc and PT I’m 99.9% pain free. ” ~Salma

“I did not want to have surgery and I did not want an epidural. I tried physical therapy but they started me off by doing workouts and I would leave worse than I was before and unable to walk. I quit PT and YouTubed everything. I did a lot of stretches for the hamstrings that are safe for the back. The best thing for me was resting a lot and stretching. It all takes time. It has been a year and I’m not even sure if my disc is back in but I have no sciatica pain anymore.” ~Alexa

” I refused the operation and met physiotherapist. Now I can do my daily activities include working with a tolerable pain on my left leg. The exercise still going on but meet the therapist three times in a week (reduced from daily).” ~B’rea




 

What is Back Surgery Recovery Like?

What to expect right after surgery? Feedbacks are generally positive when it comes to the first feeling right after the operation. Here’s what people report:

“Had the op yesterday and my leg pain has gone. I have managed to walk short distances and have lower back pain which is slightly worse today, which you would expect after surgery.” ~Susan

“I had the surgery on 2009, hospital stay was only 4 days I was able to walk 6 hours post op completely free of pain and started rehab in 13 hours post surgery” ~Nanette

“I went through with the surgery, and am 2 days post op and have a lot less pain.” ~Lizzie

“Everything went well with surgery. It’s a big operation but docs had me up and moving the next day ! Just little walks to toilet and back. ” ~Nicole

“I was able to stand up straight hours after surgery which I couldn’t do for months prior. I still have numbness in my left lower leg and foot but no pain.” ~April

 

How about the long term results? How long does it take until you can get back to normal life? Again, the stories are mixed. In some cases, recovery is easy and uncomplicated, but unfortunatly others report complications that lead to more pain and suffering.

“It does take months for everything to settle ( nerves ) had niggling pain for a few months but defiantly worth it. ” ~Nicole

“Recovery was relatively easy, great to be pain free.” ~Otto

“I had the surgery in mid august. Ended up abscessing , second surgery, wound vacs, mrsa infections, wound packing, home health nurses..closed right at thanksgivng after seeing wound specialist buuuttttt…a month later its ulcerated and split and draining.” ~Elizabeth

“The first day was ok, then pain set in. Pain so bad I can’t walk. I can’t shower, I cant bend, I can’t do anything!! Ive also started having an urgency to urinate and almost or actually do pee on myself most the time. This pain is the worst sciatic pain I’ve ever experienced in a long time. ” 

The Second (& Sometimes Third) Surgery

Even if their surgery seemed successful at first, oftentimes the operated disc herniates again and another surgery at the same spinal level becomes necessary. Most doctors suggest another microdiscectomy first, before going for a fusion the next time.

I already had two surgeries. … the first one was piece of cake didn’t hurt at all but the bad thing was that I got herniated again in the same place so I had to get a second surgery and after the second was more painful and harder to heal.” ~Rabin

“i’m 23, i have L4-L5 herniated disc, i had my surgery 5yrs.ago, and my herniated disc relapse again the same lumbar. And my doctor suggest a 2nd surgery”

“I had discectomy surgery twice this year. First was on 13 Aug and 2nd on 16 Oct.” ~Florence

“I had a microdiscectomy for herniated c6-7. Did good until now…seeing neurosurgeon today. Could possibly lead to a fusion” ~Tracy

 

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What People Say About Microdiscectomy

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One Response to “FAQ Microdiscectomy Spine Surgery”

  1. Herniated Lumbar Disc | Herniated Disc Information on March 9th, 2015 6:59 am

    […] The procedure during which only the disc or a part of it is removed (not involving the lamniae) is called discectomy. Read more about experiences with this type of back surgery in our separate post FAQ Microdiscectomy Spine Surgery. […]

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