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Old 06-04-2007, 01:26 PM   #1
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njwc HB User
Question Surgery NOW or Surgery Delayed? It's my decision.

L5 - S1 Bulging disk pressing against the nerve (MRI results) creating pain at the lower back, butt cheek, and occassionally down upper leg depending on activity. The pain could be worse -- I am fortunate compared to many others that I read about or have seen in the doctors offices. I'm able to walk, drive, etc.

Besides the point of being covered by WC and if I choose not to do surgery then they may cut of the benefits -- why would I choose to have the surgery now (As the DR and WC want) versus taking some time to explore other solutions?

Could delaying surgery worsen my condition?

Is it possible to live with the discomfort and control it with some sort of pain management solution?

Thanks.

 
Old 06-04-2007, 01:54 PM   #2
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bailey17 HB User
Re: Surgery NOW or Surgery Delayed? It's my decision.

[QUOTE=njwc;3024355]L5 - S1 Bulging disk pressing against the nerve (MRI results) creating pain at the lower back, butt cheek, and occassionally down upper leg depending on activity. The pain could be worse -- I am fortunate compared to many others that I read about or have seen in the doctors offices. I'm able to walk, drive, etc.

Besides the point of being covered by WC and if I choose not to do surgery then they may cut of the benefits -- why would I choose to have the surgery now (As the DR and WC want) versus taking some time to explore other solutions?

Could delaying surgery worsen my condition?

Is it possible to live with the discomfort and control it with some sort of pain management solution?
****************************************
Well we need some info as to what you have done already prior to seeking a surgical consult. Have you done physical therapy? How has that worked for you? Have you done epidurals? What is your pain scale # ? Do you have any nerve impingment/pain? Have you taken anti-inflamatories or been on any type of meds for nerve pain?
Sorry so many questions but those all go into making an informed decision to have or not to have surgery. It is a personal decision that needs to be made between you and your Dr. Keep us posted.

If you do have nerve pain/damage the longer you wait the worse it can get. It may be temporary if you act quickly but if you wait too long it could become permanent.

 
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Old 06-04-2007, 02:19 PM   #3
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Location: Olathe, KS, USA
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Rustysgurl HB User
Re: Surgery NOW or Surgery Delayed? It's my decision.

If it's pressing against the nerve it seems to me that just leaving it could lead to further bulging down the road and major nerve compression (not a good thing). I listened to my first orthopedic surgeon who said the disk was bulging and pressing against the nerve (based on open MRI). After almost a year, I got another opinion, another MRI, and found out the disk was herniated and the nerve root was compressed. So now I have irreversible nerve damage. I'm not saying that's what you'll have, but I'd be concerned about anything pressing on any nerve.

I used to be a paralegal and worked on a lot of w/c cases. If there's a chance that you're going to need this surgery now or down the road, better to get it done while it's still covered under w/c and they can take this into consideration when rating you. Take care and keep us posted.

Mary

 
Old 06-04-2007, 02:24 PM   #4
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k2trade HB User
Re: Surgery NOW or Surgery Delayed? It's my decision.

Are you overweight? What is your height and weight?
And what is your age?

Last edited by k2trade; 06-04-2007 at 02:25 PM.

 
Old 06-04-2007, 09:52 PM   #5
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Justoneofus HB User
Re: Surgery NOW or Surgery Delayed? It's my decision.

With respect...We do NOT need to know your age, your height and weight or if you are overweight. Sorry K2trade, but that's not really relevant here. While these factors have bearing on our spines, it's personal information that is not proper to be asked.

I dont think WC should be "rushing" you into anything without your having time to explore what surgery means to you and maybe think of getting other opinions to better help you make a proper decision. I believe it's your right to do so anyway, but you need to check with your WC state rules on that.

Depending on you and the spine issues you have, would greatly depend on whether or not you can "live" with the pain and discomfort associated to it. Also your doctor's recommendation is also important in this decision making, especially if the surgeon feels it is a must or needed surgery for health risks, not just to reduce pain.
__________________
"believe in the beauty of your dreams"- E. Roosevelt

L5/S1 bulging @ 18, now 46; still there (but no pain)
Fusion at L4/L5 Apr -2006
Solidly Fused Nov-2006
A Success, but still improving!

 
Old 06-04-2007, 10:37 PM   #6
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Join Date: Mar 2007
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Chris54 HB User
Re: Surgery NOW or Surgery Delayed? It's my decision.

I am surprised that w/c is offering surgery as a only option. Usually they run you through EPI's, PT, PM, etc before any surgery is mentioned. I was offered finally a fusion and was told if I turned it down, I would be made permanent and stationary. I knew what that meant. I would be down to a settlement and on my own. Unable to return to work, because of the % of disability, but unable to continue to collect disability because I wasn't 100% disabled. (I was still breathing). If you have an attorney, I would talk this over with him/her and see what options you really have. W/c varies from state to state. What type of surgery are they talking about? I would be even more surprised if it is a fusion they are suggesting.

 
Old 06-05-2007, 05:24 AM   #7
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k2trade HB User
Re: Surgery NOW or Surgery Delayed? It's my decision.

Justone, a persons social security number is personal info. A persons date of birth is personal info. A persons height and weight is important when discussing backpain. Unless my doctors have been giving a line of BS by saying to me, 'if you put on weight your going to be in more pain".

Besides that, the OP did ask for suggestions. If it were me, and my situation is similar, I would try PT or Chiropractic care first. A bulge is not something I'd want surgery on unless other modalties of treatment were tried.
I absolutely would want the opinions of several surgeons before taking the advice of only one and letting him cut me open.

 
Old 06-05-2007, 07:43 AM   #8
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Location: Tempe AZ USA
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kleeko HB User
Re: Surgery NOW or Surgery Delayed? It's my decision.

I hate to bear bad news, but I am the poster-child for putting off surgery too long. Almost three years ago I was tolerating considerable pain and was diagnosed with degenerative disk disease, severe spinal stenosis and sciatica.
The specialist advised I wait on surgery until the pain became too strong to live my life normally. I sort of focussed on the word pain and ignored the fact that my legs were becoming weaker, my feet and ankles were becoming paralyzed. Finally, a new MRI showed a large cyst pressing on the nerve root on both sides of S1-L5. Putting off surgery was no longer an option so I had a two level fusion a year and a half ago. Too late. The nerve damage is severe and may be permanent. I have bilateral foot drop and can walk only with braces on both legs and use a cane. The PAIN never became so bad I needed painkillers, but I want you to know that pain is not the only disabling aspect of a bad back. If you are having any kind of loss of function in your legs, arms, etc., without pain, you should consider that. Good luck to you and hope things turn out well.
Gail

 
Old 06-05-2007, 10:52 AM   #9
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Virginia
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koc66 HB User
Re: Surgery NOW or Surgery Delayed? It's my decision.

[QUOTE=njwc;3024355]L5 - S1 Bulging disk pressing against the nerve (MRI results) creating pain at the lower back, butt cheek, and occassionally down upper leg depending on activity. The pain could be worse -- I am fortunate compared to many others that I read about or have seen in the doctors offices. I'm able to walk, drive, etc.

Besides the point of being covered by WC and if I choose not to do surgery then they may cut of the benefits -- why would I choose to have the surgery now (As the DR and WC want) versus taking some time to explore other solutions?

Could delaying surgery worsen my condition?

Is it possible to live with the discomfort and control it with some sort of pain management solution?




Thanks.[/QUOTE]


Hi,
This is just an opinion here, but I waited 5 months and I regret doing so every day of my life..I had a L5/S1 herniation and I did the 3 epidural shots and steroids by mouth and injection. I lived on pain meds with no relief till I wound up in a wheel chair with unbearable pain that nothing would control...I had surgery on 1/12/07 I ruptured on 8/6/06...I did lose the most severe pain, but I still have a +7 pain on a everyday basis off and on..I also have numbness and weakness in the R leg.... I cannot walk no faster then a slow pace after 5 months passing since surgery. I can't drive, sit for more than 10 minutes, run, jump, step up or sleep a full night..Thats a result of permanent nerve damage and scar tissue from such a delay in surgery and being compressed so long.. its not worth any price to feel this way..You lose a part of who you are...and I am this way now forever..Please consider surgery....Best of Luck! K

Last edited by koc66; 06-05-2007 at 10:53 AM. Reason: wrong year in a date of rupture

 
Old 06-05-2007, 12:30 PM   #10
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: KS. USA
Posts: 128
bailey07 HB User
Re: Surgery NOW or Surgery Delayed? It's my decision.

I had a failed discectomy and was scheduled and approved by WC back in 2000 to have a fusion/cage placed in the area needed. I got cold fee and cancelled my surgery. Ten weeks ago, I underwent a two level fusion following 7 years of pain and increased symptoms. To get WC to cover a surgery 7 years later is not a simple task. I had a lawyer to help me prove this was from the original injury and two orthopedic surgeons conferring that yes indeed, the cause is from the original injury. Plus the fact that my insurance would not touch this area of injury. I would think long and hard before cancelling their decision. If we only had a crystal ball!!

Bailey07

 
Old 06-06-2007, 04:59 AM   #11
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: NJ
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njwc HB User
Re: Surgery NOW or Surgery Delayed? It's my decision.

[QUOTE=k2trade;3024511]Are you overweight? What is your height and weight?
And what is your age?[/QUOTE]

Original Post #1:

[QUOTE=njwc;3024355]L5 - S1 Bulging disk pressing against the nerve (MRI results) creating pain at the lower back, butt cheek, and occassionally down upper leg depending on activity. The pain could be worse -- I am fortunate compared to many others that I read about or have seen in the doctors offices. I'm able to walk, drive, etc.

Besides the point of being covered by WC and if I choose not to do surgery then they may cut of the benefits -- why would I choose to have the surgery now (As the DR and WC want) versus taking some time to explore other solutions?

Could delaying surgery worsen my condition?

Is it possible to live with the discomfort and control it with some sort of pain management solution?

Thanks.[/QUOTE]

ANSWERS TO SEVERAL FOLLUP QUESTIONS FROM OTHER MEMBERS:


- Injury Occured Jan 2007

- It is now Early June 2007

- Claim in NJ

- Weight 195 lbs, Height 6'1"", Age Early 40's

- MRI results: L5-S1 disc degeneration with concentric prominent disc bulge with central focal disc protrusioin with slight left paracentral asymmetry causing asymmetric irritation towards the left S1 nerve root within the ipsilateral lateral recess and with coexistent moderate central stenosis in combination with degree of facet arthropathy and possible developmental narrowing of the canal.

- Pysical Therapy done - 6 visits over 2 weeks. learned how to minimize the leg pain by avoiding certain activities.

- Epiduols - 2 done. minor positive results.

- Pain scale about a 3.5 that becomes a 6 by days end.

- I can walk, drive, carry very light items - as activity increases daily the pain increases causing me to slow down. I do not run or walk fast. I'm constantly changing positions to find comfort. When the pain gets too much I find relief in lying down. Often times I lay down most of the day to keep from increasing the pain.

- Doc has suggested surgery but is reluctant to describe exact procedure until he does a discogram. During earlier visits the doc explained that a small incision is used and basically they cut away the bulge from the disc allowing it to bounce back to position relieving it away from the S1 nerve. Doc said it's simple and about 1.5 hours. He did not give it a name though.

- WC is pressing for a 2nd opinion which I'm willing to do. WC is pressing to use a specific doctor. WC is pressing to resolve the claim.

Again, asside from the fact that if I choose no to surgery at this time then WC will cut benefits -- is it more risky to do the surgery or more risky not to do the surgery at this time and rather explore alternatives?

Any other advice based on my history? Thanks for all of your input!!

Last edited by njwc; 06-06-2007 at 09:19 AM. Reason: To add the original post

 
Old 06-06-2007, 06:26 AM   #12
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k2trade HB User
Re: Surgery NOW or Surgery Delayed? It's my decision.

Your weight is ok. I would still get several opinions from MD's/Surgeons before they cut me, if I was interested in surgery. Interesting how you went to 6 PT sessions and got some relief. 6 sessions isn't much, I wonder if more sessions would completely alleviate your problem.

 
Old 06-08-2007, 05:04 AM   #13
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njwc HB User
Re: Surgery NOW or Surgery Delayed? It's my decision.

[QUOTE=k2trade;3028291] Interesting how you went to 6 PT sessions and got some relief. 6 sessions isn't much, I wonder if more sessions would completely alleviate your problem.[/QUOTE]


With my MRI reading L5-S1 DDD Disc Bulge pressing against S1 nerve -- would it be possible to find an alternative solution to surgery? Where can I find such info?

The PT sessions helped minimize pain by teaching me low impact skills of everyday motion -- better walking skills, up and down steps skills, sitting skills, etc. These skills helps reduce the pain in my leg. 5 months later I continue to have the constant lower back and left buttocks pain -- occassionally the pain shoots down the leg.

Thanks.

 
Old 06-08-2007, 05:38 AM   #14
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k2trade HB User
Re: Surgery NOW or Surgery Delayed? It's my decision.

Have you ever discussed with a Physical Therapist the possibility of your disk bulge disappearing with more PT? Or discussed it with MD? Sometimes PT's are more knowledgeable than MD's I've read on this board and elsewhere that a bulge can fix itself. Maybe someone else can comment on this.

You can also try Chiropractic care. Despite the bashing they get on this board
they do work on bulging disks and are very successful.

Unfortunately, you've been thrown into a situation that you must educate yourself on. The best opinion I can give you is to figure out all of your options and talk to as many people as possible and be open minded to non traditional treatments. It's a buyer beware situation.

 
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