Join Date: Dec 2003
Re: herniated disc
I had a microdiscectomy- on 2 levels for 2 extruded large discs, L3-4, and L4-5.
I was bedridden prior to my micro D, and one of the 2 levels reherniated largely immediately after surgery in the recovery room, dr says the disc must have been in terrible shape to rehernaite so largely so quickly, course they didn't find it for 3 months of severe pain I went thru, then did the MRI.
I had to then get a fusion, on the L4-5. My micro'd L3-4, is still holding strong.
When you get either surgery, your lifting heavy things will be over, as well as if you continue to do so now, you will make it worse and worse, and the longer the nerve is affected without treatment, the more chance you have of permanent damage, usually over 9 to 12 months, is a harder recovery with a high potential for nerve damage, or so I have read- (and I read ALOT lol).
With the MicroD, its about a 2" scar, for 3 months after surgery, NO lifting, bending or twisting, you will still most likely be out of work, with the fusion, they told me 4-6 months til I can return to work, I have been literally bedridden for 9 months prior to the fusion, so I am not the 'norm'. I had 2 surgeries in 5 months.
The MicroD, was a smaller incision, but since I reherniated so largely immediately, I had a terrible recovery, EVEN THOU then, I could finally put my foot down to try to walk, which I hadn't been able to do prior to surgery, I dragged my leg only to the bathroom like egore, and was completely hunched over and in agony. The 'fixed' disc, is still holding strong and is fine, but you will have the chance of reherinating any time in your future, as even thou the disc is fixed, you've spent your entire life doing things a certain way (which wasn't good health for your spine or you wouldn't be in this position!!!) So, as there are no guarantees, you would haveto be very careful of what you do in the future, I do not know the lifting limits after micro D.
I have read for FUSIONS (about a 6" scar) it can be anywhere from no more than 10lbs, to not over 25 but occassionally 50. I think it depends on what you've been thru, and the condition of the discs above and below the fusion area. You will be taught how to lift properly, and you WILL NOT be bending over to pick anything up anymore, only squatting or going down on one knee most likely.
Microdiscectomies carry a 10% chance of reherniation, it ususally depends on the size of the defect in the disc, IE = large herniation, large defect in the disc wall, longer to heal, (it heals as scar tissue comes and holds in the disc)
Fusions can carry anywhere from a 20 on some sites 40% chance of non-fusion or not helping the radiculopathy, but if it is an INJURY vs an over time degenerative disc disease with multiple discs involved, it is easier to pinpoint the correct problem disc.
Usually they give you to 12 weeks for signs of improvement, if none you decide if you're going to live with it, if sugery is an option- surgery, or trying epidural steriod injections if you have not yet, to see if that helps the pains.
K I rambled enuf, hope that helps.
Last edited by marshrose; 04-15-2009 at 04:10 PM.