HealthBoards (
-   Back Problems (
-   -   Discectomy-should I have it? (

lamahan 03-14-2002 06:47 PM

Discectomy-should I have it?
Hey all! I need advise. I saw my doctor yesterday following my first 2 ESI's. They didn't work. He said that since I had no relief, that is a good indicator the disc is ruptured, and no need to bother with the discogram. He said I could endure the pain or choose elective surgery. He wants me to have another MRI to see if the disc space has collapsed since last August. I fell down the steps on my butt since then. Also, my patellar reflexes are good, but my Achilles isn't there. So he said if I choose surgery, he wants me to do an EMG before to see what damage is done to my nerves this far. Me, who is scared to death of needles!! At least these are not in my spine this time!

Who has had a discectomy? How did you do? He said about 5-10% end up in more pain than before the surgery! YUKKK!! However, with my past experiences with other types of surgery, (non-back surgeries) I have had a great recovery. I have amazed doctors with my healing process. So should that make me feel I will have a successful recovery from this surgery? Should I have this surgery? I want my quality of life to get better! I can't play golf, go snow skiing, or do anything pertaining to exercise. It hurts too bad! I want to be able to do these things. I know if I had this surgery, I won't be doing them anytime soon, but the future might be positive. What do you all think? I'm only 29 years old and I want my life back!!


CLee 03-14-2002 08:55 PM

Re: Discectomy-should I have it?
HI Lori.... I'm Cindy. I'm not sure exactly what a "discectomy" is, but I have a post you might be interested in about what my husband went through.... The post is on "Mens Health" it is titled "back pain and intercourse" I hope you get some reassurance from it. My husband has a quick healing time also, and he was @ 33 when he had his procedure. Good luck in whatever you decide to do, it sure is a tough decision to have to make, I wouldn't want to have to make it 2x in a lifetime!

[This message has been edited by CLee (edited 03-14-2002).]<p>[This message has been edited by CLee (edited 03-14-2002).]

nstar92 03-15-2002 12:40 PM

Re: Discectomy-should I have it?
I would have to hold with Cutebeagle. If you are not in chronic and unrelenting pain, I would try to live with it.
But on the other hand there is no telling what that disk may have done when it ruptured. I know when mine went there were pieces of discus material laying on the nerve, it just was not a pretty situation! On my end they did nott ake the disk, but did a dissectomy, they took out the guts and let the disk regenerate.
My Other Half did have a diskectomy and he has gone 10 years with no further back surgery. He can do most anything he wants to. He is very careful abou thow he does things, and has maintained his body with exercize and a good diet. They went in, took the disk, and he went home the next day. Simple surgery for him.
However, not all backs are the same, what is good for one may not work on another. I have found that out.
One thing I do not go with is the EMG. They did not do one on me until AFTER the disk surgery, and only then to find damage and healing. I would ask him why at this point he feels the need o put you through this. THe EMG is not a pleasant experience, but it is a good indicator of how the nerves are faring. It generally takes about an hour, depending on what the doc does.
The Discogram is a nasty event. Mine was done under a small amount of anesthesia, but this is not generally the rule. Most are done with you fully awake. The goal is to imitate the pain you are feeling, and find out which disk it is that is damaged. Unfortunately the pain will last up to 4 weeks after the test.
If you are 29 years old and in pain, have the surgery. Get it done and over with and you are young enough that you will probably heal just fine. Remember that it will require healing time, and your back will NEVER be the same again. You will have to take care of it, just as my Other Half does. With regular exercise and good nutrtition. Gaining weight is one thing you will not want to do at all. It is difficult for a healthy back to tote around a heavy person, imagine what an injured back would feel like??
I wish you the best. I will not guarantee the surgery will be the best way to go. In the end it has to be your decision. At one point in time I would say do not do it, but you are young, too young to live in chronic pain.

slogancg 03-15-2002 06:45 PM

Re: Discectomy-should I have it?
Had a discetomy(?) and was assured I'd get back to work
and I was 35 at the time,and healed great.Was always told I had strong bones,cause after going to Greensboro
had to go to Durham Hospital(Duke)had a fusion that was going to get me back to work. I'm not trying to scare you,but if you can live without being cut,I would.The scar tissue is my biggest problem,one I wasn't told about until I had cortozone shots to my spine,the doc's broke up my scar tissue with a few needles and man,I thought I was going to pass out from pain,couldn't even walk for 3 weeks after that little procedure. It's been a real eye-opener for me because no doctor's cannot fix everything,they may talk a good game,but your hiney is on the line,not theirs.If I had it to do again,I'd probably have to do it,just so I could go back to work to support my family,but if I thought about it too much,I probably would back out. Talk about wishy-washy!Hope you make the right decision for yourself. slogancg

lamahan 03-16-2002 07:09 PM

Re: Discectomy-should I have it?
My pain goes from a good day(5) to a bad day like the last 3 days(8-9). I have severe pain in my buttocks, groin, hips and of course my low back. I've already had one MRI that showed a bad left lateral herniation. It is pressed all the way up onto the nerve root. We already know that. The doctor is still amazed b/c I really don't have much pain into my leg. He thinks it is becuase it is a lateral herniation. All I know is that right now I'm ready to risk surgery to try to get a somewhat normal life back. This week is our spring break, and I've been laying in bed since late Wed. afternoon due to severe pain.

Sitting is ungodly! I'm squirming right now just to type this. Walking is no better. I've even had trouble breathing today. I have soooo much pain today that it really hurts to take a deep breath. Anyway, I just wanted to know if anyone has had success with it.


Donna S 03-16-2002 09:38 PM

Re: Discectomy-should I have it?
hi lamahan,
i had the disogram about 9 years ago. in fact i had two of them, the first one was awful. i mean awful. i cried the whole time, you are awake and you can see the needle go in your neck to the spine, i had neck surgery and fused 2 disc. and honey i tell you wish i had lived the the pain i had because now i have server headaches, so i had another disogram, this time a differnet guy did it i did fine with it, but it did show that the stress of the fusion had blown the dics above it and thats was causin the headahces. i woke up form th surgery and the first thing i was cryin about was the headache, they havn't stopped since, i have a heard time turinin my neck and lookin up and down. i also live in texas,now they want to do more surgery and fuse two more that will make me five, my c6-7 colasped, so they would fix that one, but i don't want to do it again, i still have the pain i had to begin with, shoulder all the way thur my chest and down my arm and hand, fingers my arm and hand goes numb. i wish every day i could go back, so if you can live with the pain you have i would do it, cause once you have the surgery there is no turin back, some people do real good, others don't i guess i was one of those people, i wish you luck and pray that we all get some relif from this pain, i hate it, can't sleep can't get out and do the things i like, to do. i try on good days but then i pay for it that day before its over with, Donna S

Donna S

j_lyn 03-16-2002 10:22 PM

Re: Discectomy-should I have it?
hi, I'm Jacqueline! I just had a diskectomy on 03/12/02. I cant function yet, very well . I am doing better at at walking , but i cant type, I not used to the drugs
.I am having touble reading the board.

nstar92 03-17-2002 12:27 PM

Re: Discectomy-should I have it?
Only you know what you can handle and cannot handle. It is not going to matter in the end what people in here say because as of the bottom line, it is up to YOU!
I cannot see being 29 and in Chronic Pain. But I am NOT going to tell you that it will be bed of roses when you come out.
In the end it is YOUR decision, not up to any of us to help you decide. We can only give information.
I can say that if I was your age I would take the surgery. You see, with one disk down, it puts pressure on the other disks, something my Ortho and Neuro both told me.
Eventualy you will have 2 disks that are no good because of the lack of support on the disk above and below. This is fact based, all I have learned in the last year.
It is up to you . Your body. Your Time Frame, Your options.

lamahan 03-19-2002 06:55 AM

Re: Discectomy-should I have it?
Well I decided yesterday that I am having the surgery. I am going to try and get some relief. I have to have another MRI done this week and then an EMG. Once those results get back, then I will schedule the surgery. Thanks for the advise everyone. I appreciate all the comments on the different views regarding this surgery.


cozy 03-21-2002 09:19 PM

Re: Discectomy-should I have it?
I'm having dicectomy soon... Whats EMG?? What else B/4 surgery??? Yikes!! <IMG SRC="">

lamahan 03-24-2002 11:18 AM

Re: Discectomy-should I have it?
An EMG is an Electromyogram. Lots of needles. They are small accupunture type needles that they insert into the muscle to see how the nerve is functioning. Other than that, I can't really tell you too much about it. I have researched it online and kind of really dred it. They say it is uncomfortable, but not as bad as an injection. I am terrified of needles, so this should be real fun!

cozy 03-27-2002 10:45 PM

Re: Discectomy-should I have it?
Poop! I really need relief from siatic down left leg.
I know all surgery is a risk. Bless you all who have been down the "Surgery Road" & dealing with the aftermath's. I am just SOOO tired of fighting WC to get SOME kind of relief. My PM DR. won't give me narcotics for pain, just muscle relaxers. I come here to get answeres, admittedly, sometimes a lit'l
self medicated!!! I would never purposely insult another & More likely would overly attach my feelings to a fellow back injured person. It's not about ones validaty here. It's about support!!! J...Lyne, I hope your fine honey & after my surgery I plan to do as you <IMG SRC=""> I'm carefully going to work my body back into better health. I'm so tired of being a slave to a prone position.LOL!! Let's keep on keepin' on . Cozy

ramfan13 04-25-2002 03:21 PM

Re: Discectomy-should I have it?
Hi everybody. Just discovered this site and am searching for answers also. My back has been hurting for over a year, but in 1/02, it went out when vacuuming with bad back pain and then the pain down leg and to foot. MRI shows protrusion/herniation at L4/L5. I have to wait for appt. with Orthopedic surgeon until June 24 which is a pain, since the pain limits everything I can do.
I am 38 and have a 2 year old so I have to use my back but it hurts always. I used to bike, run, walk, but cannot do any kind of exercise for more than 15 minutes without severe pain for several days after this. I would do anything to get some life back including surgery if necessary. I just cant be content with pain and lack of activity all of the time.
Anybody had experience with the minimally invasive surgeries. These seem to have less risk and recovery is faster, but dont know if it can be used for my injury. Also anyone know if ortho or neurosurgeon better to see. Thanks folks. Finally, others who understand what its like to have all of this pain.
God bless.


EmtShirl 04-26-2002 06:56 AM

Re: Discectomy-should I have it?
Donna S,

I may have to go through the disogram. Can you tell me anything and everything about this? What will it do and what is it for? Is it just a test? etc etc.........

Shirl <IMG SRC="">

sey 04-26-2002 07:12 AM

Re: Discectomy-should I have it?
hi my hubby had op twice! thought he was ok after each but it wasnt to be, just been in hospital again for 18 days and they cant operate again!!! hes got to go to pain managment psyio etc good luck with your choice <IMG SRC="">

nstar92 04-26-2002 07:51 AM

Re: Discectomy-should I have it?
Glad to hear you decided to go through with the surgery. In these websites you will mainly find those of us who have been failures at the game of Spinal Surgery, or for some reason or another have come out wrong.

I just went through my fusion, and although I am in a great deal of pain, things are progressing a whole lot beter than I thought they would. I will not even have an idea as to the outcome for at least 6 months, maybe a small idea in three, and I cannot drive for 12 weeks!

So if I can do it, so can't you! My first 3 surgeries failed miserably, I always thought they should have just "taken" the disk, like they are going to do with you, but no, they had to tr to "save" it with every surgery. Well, this time they just fused it all together and said to heck wiht the discs.

I wish you well, and I hope you come back and tell us how things went for you! Remember, NO TWO BACK SURGERIES ARE EVER THE SAME!

Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds,
can change the outer aspects of their lives.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:23 PM.