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Old 01-13-2007, 03:35 AM   #1
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laminectomy, pros and cons

thinking about having this done. feb 1 2007 is the target date. l-4 l-5 region. looking for some imput. delt with off and on moderate pain for 3-4 years now. any real regrets out there. i am in new jersey. think i found a really good surgeon. he states that my chances are 90% or better for alot of relief. thanks mark

 
Old 01-13-2007, 05:09 AM   #2
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ms_west HB User
Re: laminectomy, pros and cons

I had a s1/s2 fusion for a transitional vertebrae at the age of 18 in 1982 and had absolutely no problems until 3 years ago when I injured my back playing with the kiddos. Last May, I had a laminectomy of L5/s1 and my nerve pain in my left thigh never went away. I was told that there were two approaches to the surgery I had: laminectomy or laminectomy with fusion. We decided to go with the lessor of the two knowing that I might need further surgery for a fusion down the road. After the surgery, I was doing well until September 2006 I was loading the dishwasher and had extreme pain that made me go to my knees. Since this time, I have had alot of pain upon sitting, standing for any length of time, or any bending. So my doctor put me back in PT, tried steroid shots, and finally did a selective nerve block in December. The selective nerve block confirmed that my pain was from L5. I am now facing my fusion. Now I am heading back to the OR for a fusion.

Do I regret having the laminectomy? No, I was in so much pain before the surgery that I needed to find relief. I had relief for 9 weeks and oh what a feeling! The only regret that I might have is that we did not go with the fusion at the same time. I would definitely discuss instability of spine after a laminectomy and what the chances are that you might need a fusion down the road. This may be a con for all I know.

Take care of yourself and pray that you find peace about your upcoming surgery.

 
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Old 01-13-2007, 07:35 AM   #3
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Re: laminectomy, pros and cons

I had a laminotomy at L5-S1 in May of 2003. The pain relief was immediate and incredible. After a few months I did have a return of sciatic pain in my right thigh, but it was more like a sunburn or rugburn rather than the searing, stabing pain that I had before.

Unfortunatly, the same disc went again this past fall and I needed to have the procedure redone at the same level. This time around the recovery has been much slower and the residule pain is more intense, but not unbarable.

Long story short; would I have had it done if I knew then what I know now? In a heartbeat.

Good luck,

Matt

 
Old 01-13-2007, 08:06 AM   #4
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Re: laminectomy, pros and cons

Hello mookymonkey, I was just wondering were in NJ you live. I also live in jersey in Toms River, ocean county. I've also had several surgeries on back. It was what I would consider to be a success because I was in extremely severe pain before surgeries and tried all other solutions. Surgery was the only thing that helped. I could also consider my surgeries a failure because now I have a lot of residual pain in legs and back that I'll never get rid of. This is why surgery should be a last option especially if you are not in severe pain.

 
Old 01-13-2007, 08:37 AM   #5
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Re: laminectomy, pros and cons

am i in severe pain every day? not really. does it have its moments? yes. i am just trying to reserch long term reliability and necessity of the operation. i currently take celebrex on a 5 day , 2-3 day off cycle. they had also prescribed ultracet, but i have limited that to 1/4 of the dosage when needed, if needed at all. my issue is a degerative disc that is causing the nerves to get irritated. just today i walked 4 miles, 2 miles carring 25lbs in each hand. no back pain . i also incline bench pressed, 5 sets at 135 lbs x 12 reps. am i in pain? not now. i have toned down my high impact exercise alot. i am located near trenton nj and my surgeon is from princeton. keep the opionions coming. thanks mark

 
Old 01-13-2007, 09:16 AM   #6
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Tucsonlady40 HB User
Re: laminectomy, pros and cons

Hi Mark and welcome to the board,

I had a Laminectomy and eight months later had to have a fusion, do to reherniation, DDD, and unstable spine.

Just my own opinion, but it seems like theres more like a 60 percent or better chance of rehernitation after a laminectomy. I suppose that, alot has to do with the type of work you do, or even activities. The stories that I've read, it seems like people get good relief, some have relief for a long time, and then others reherniate really quick.

I guess it's like a toss up. Depends on your body and what you do after laminectomy.

Good luck to you and your decision,

Bernie

 
Old 01-13-2007, 11:48 AM   #7
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Re: laminectomy, pros and cons

HI,

I just laminectomy surgery this past September. I'm also in NJ but I had mine done by a good surgeon in Philly. I went 3 1/2 years in worsening pain and disability..and was to the point I could no longer walk more than 50 feet or so, plus I couldnt stand up straight either. I was hunched over almost a 90 degree angle. I was only 37 and diagnosed with severe lumbar stenosis in L3 to L5, plus DDD, spinal OA and had some herniated discs on top of it. I had literallly tried everything else first (which of course is what the insurance company wanted). I had started physical therapy in March for 6 weeks, then my PT said I could still go there to do my exercises on my own for a small price, whihc I could not turn down. Even though I did all this (including antiinflammatories, heat, ice, muscle relaxants, various injections, pt, etc..) my condition and pain only worsened. My PT actually gave me my surgeon's name..so I made an appt with in July & finally made the decision to go through with surgery in September. In my case, it was the best decision I could have made, plus I am so happy I went with this surgeon & hospital.
Yes, it was painful after surgery (but any surgery would be)..but I followed every instruction I was given, and walked as much as I could (with a walker at first). My total recovery time, including alot of fatigue took about 2 1/2 months (though I've seen others post that had much quicker recoveries, plus I also have lupus & fibromyalgia which probably exented my fatigue). I can stand tall again, walk more normal, have more energy, and the best thing is all the pain related to my stenosis is gone! I have no more neurogenic claudication, no more sciatica & no more severe spasms and that is my biggest relief! I only wish I would have done it sooner!
If you do it, make sure you're surgeon has alot of experience with the procedure and a fellowship in spine surgery. I was also lucky in that I was able to speak to some of my surgeons prior patients and get feed back.

If you have any other questions, just ask away.

 
Old 01-13-2007, 12:20 PM   #8
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mookymonkey HB User
Re: laminectomy, pros and cons

yes i do. this is my reasoning after hearing the stories. i am still fairly active to an extent. don,t live on heavy pain meds. i just don,t want to jump the gun. mine is ddd. will it get worse with age? should i postpone for now and ride it out for technoligy to improve? a 60% second surgery rate is not to promising in my mind i am currently writing down a slew of questions i will be asking my surgeon in the next week. keep the responces coming and thanks greatly

 
Old 01-13-2007, 12:39 PM   #9
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Tucsonlady40 HB User
Re: laminectomy, pros and cons

Hi again Mark,

I don't want to scare you away from the laminectomy at all. In fact, the laminectomy is still a big surgery, just not as big as a fusion. If you go with the laminectomy and get the relief that your looking for, that would be great. If later down the road, it reherniates, then your dr. and you would discuss other options.

Limitations to "me" from having the laminectomy compared to my fusion, there's definately a difference in what I can do. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, after your recovery from the laminectomy your back is free with no metal hardware and the restrictions that goes with that. So, when your better, you should be able to go back easier to the things you want to do.

Take your time and weigh out what means more, relief or pain that you could live with. Good luck with your decision and please let us know how your doing.

Bernie

 
Old 01-17-2007, 03:10 AM   #10
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Re: laminectomy, pros and cons

going for a second opinion on friday. another well respected surgeon. i will keep you guys posted. thanks mark

 
Old 01-17-2007, 04:52 AM   #11
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Re: laminectomy, pros and cons

Hi mookeymonkey. I had a laminectomy done in August of '06. What the PA said to me was , "laminectomies are really good at relieving the severe sharp, shooting pain that goes down the leg but not so good for generalized low back pain". I had the generalized low back pain although I did get a sharp shooting pain in my lower back after cleaning 2 houses ( my current livlihood). Generally though, I had low back pain with no pain in my legs or foot. I did have numbneess. I have not had relief from pain although I have to say it is a different kind of pain now. I can clean and not get that sharp, shooting pain which is a huge relief but I also am still taking vicidin so maybe that's keeping the pain at bay. Who knows? Good luck with whatever it is you decide to do.

 
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