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    Old 05-22-2008, 01:10 AM   #1
    Join Date: May 2008
    Location: Australia
    Posts: 3
    Jen05 HB User
    persistent leg weakness after microdiscectomy

    This is my first posting borne out of frustration. Has anyone had persistent leg weakness following disc hernaition and microdiscectomy? I had a large central disc herniation (extrusion and calcified sequestration) at L5/S1 and following deterioration of both pain and unilateral footdrop, as well as some bladder/bowel problems, had a microdiscectomy mid last year (2007). Leg pain has been greatly reduced following surgery, but footdrop has persisted and I now have lower backpain that I never had before. Surgeon at 6 weeks post surgery said that he had fixed everything, just a matter of retraining and that bladder issues are just a 'coincidence' but did not test reflexes, gait or anything other than look at the scar. Almost a year out from surgery and my physio has graded dorsiflexion 1/5, plantarflexion 1/5, quad and gluts 4/5 (only one leg affected). Recent review MRI has shown new disc bulges at L4/5 and L5/S1 but nothing significant. I have been aggressive in efforts to maintain fitness through walking and cycling and to maintain healthy weight. I am interested if any one else has had similar problems and if they recovered?

    Last edited by Jen05; 05-22-2008 at 02:36 AM.

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    Old 05-22-2008, 03:20 PM   #2
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    ms_west HB User
    Re: persistent leg weakness after microdiscectomy

    Hi Jen and welcome to the board. I am so sorry that you surgeon appears to be saying that he is done. This frequently happens. Surgeons do the surgery and say oh, how my work looks wonderful and I don't understand why you have problems. All of us have been thru this, I am not sure how Austrailia is set up medical wise but can you seek another opinion? I would definitely see another doc and get their spin on things. You have given it almost a year so it is time to move on in my opinion especially if he is not doing anything for you.

    Can you see any improvement at all or it is the same as before surgery or worse?

    Last edited by ms_west; 05-22-2008 at 03:21 PM.

    Old 05-22-2008, 03:25 PM   #3
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    Location: Richmond, Va. USA
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    deb53 HB User
    Re: persistent leg weakness after microdiscectomy

    Hey Jen,
    Welcome Our stories are somewhat similar. I had a laminectomy in June 07 for herniation and broken off disc fragment at L5-S1. I still have pain (they say from scar tissue and permanent nerve damage) and my right leg and foot are very weak. After walking for about 10 minutes my foot starts to "scuff" and I trip easily. Then the leg starts to "shake". I've been told that after 1 year this is what I can expect to deal with for the rest of my life. Do you have alot of pain also? My followup MRI also shows new bulges at L3-4 and L4-5 and still bulging at L5-S1. Nerve continues to look inflammed (lights up on MRI) even after all this time. What does your doctor say about the weakness?


    Old 05-22-2008, 04:10 PM   #4
    Join Date: May 2008
    Location: Australia
    Posts: 3
    Jen05 HB User
    Re: persistent leg weakness after microdiscectomy

    Thanks for the feedback.
    Yes I have moved on from the surgeon and seeing a sports dr that specialises in backs. He says I needed the surgery at the time, but sometimes the damage has been done and may not recover (in terms of nerve function). He also feels that some of my problems are from the SI joint but I don't understand how that can cause the leg weakness. Painwise I am 100% better than pre-surgery - very little of that horrible sciatica leg pain, just a very sore back, so its probably not a surgery issue. I do have 'ants' crawling up and down the back of my legs and between my thighs most of the time though which is a little disconcerting. I wear an AFO otherwise I struggle to walk very far and tend to trip a lot. With an AFO I still walk with a limp, but can remain pretty active (probably spend 2hrs+ on the bike a day + 30mins walking) but find it tiring.

    It is confusing though - you read everywhere that disc herniation doesn't cause paralysis but I can hardly move my foot at all, can't feel my toes or wiggle them, can't lift my foot up or point it. I also read that once decompressed the nerves should recover etc etc. So is it just uncommon but can happen - therefore deal with it, or should I be looking for other causes. Some say nerves can continue to recover for up to 3 years - has anyone experienced recovery after 12 months?

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