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Considering Spine Surgery

Sep 02, 2017 8:46 PM

I'm considering surgery to correct my herniated disc at the Thoracic 11-12 level. I've been diagnosed with it since July 2016 and it's caused significant near constant pain in my back and sciatica. I'm at my wits end with this pain. Surgery is my last resort, but I've tried everything else to get relief. The surgery that I'm considering is a Thoracic Microdiscectomy which uses a 1.5 inch incision, is much safer and has a quicker recovery than with standard disc herniation surgeries.

I'm wondering if anyone else has had a microdiscectomy, if so did it help you and did you have any complications?

Sep 03, 2017 8:37 AM

I had one a year ago. I had terrible pain like you. They told me sometimes they can heal on their own so I let it go for about 6 months and couldn't stand it. I had the surgery. Today I still get some muscle spasms in my lower back but the pain is NOTHING like it was before surgery. Mine was L1-2.

Sep 03, 2017 8:43 AM

The only complication I had was they let me go the same day. When I got home the pain went off the charts and my husband had to cal an ambulance to take me back to the hospital. They then kept me for two days to get the pain under control. Whoever decided that spinal surgery is "same day" surgery is an idiot!!!

Sep 03, 2017 10:38 AM

I had spinal surgery in 2009, it was the worse decision of my life. Although the surgeon told me he did not recommend surgery, I had already suffered badly for over a year and could not think of the rest of my life being in that condition. The surgery was successful in that I survived, I didn't get an infection and they did get done what they attempted to do, therefore the surgeon declared it as a successful surgery. However, in my opinion the surgery has left me worse off than I was before and my life has never been the same since. I am no longer employable and my day is spent just trying to survive the pain.

I highly recommend you give it as long as you can to allow your body to heal as much as possible and see if you can live with the pain then. There are people who do end up being better off after surgery but surgery is a risk and it should be your absolute last choice in dealing with your pain. I recommend waiting up to 2 years to allow your body to heal before you elect to have surgery.

Nov 11, 2017 3:46 AM

Struggling, I’m so sorry to hear you had such a bad experience with your back surgery! I had 2 so far - one in the UK in 1996, and one in 2016 in USA. Both have been lifesaving. The pain relief provided by the surgery was almost instantaneous (L3,4), although the recovery is somewhat challenging. I have another surgery like that to look forward to for my neck and a fusion surgery for L5/6 but despite being successful, one should approach surgery as a last resort. Make sure you are in good hands. Good luck and all the best.

Nov 11, 2017 1:25 PM

Thanks ATanyaR. I'm still researching the surgery, risks, benefits etc. and the hospitals in my area that can do the surgery. I've tried just about everything I can think of to treat the back pain, and nothing has worked. It's definitely a tough decision to make, and I'm going through an emotional roller coaster with it.

Nov 11, 2017 9:48 PM

It is a really though decision AmbrielleLyn to subject oneself to a spinal surgery - it’s petrifying. But ultimately the choice must be yours and you’ll reach it when your pain tolerance collapses under the weight of continuous and endless pain. I’m sure I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. There is the light at the end of the tunnel. Please do your reseach carefully and thoroughly and if you go down surgery route, you WILL reclaim some of your life back, not all, but some. I can highly recommend Mayo Clinic to have surgery at. Pm if you’d like any more info.

Nov 12, 2017 10:00 AM

Thanks ATanyaR, it's nice to have people who actually understand the process of decision making that occurs when facing potential spine surgery. As I live in Ontario Canada, the Mayo Clinic is not really an option for me. However, thankfully we do have similar great hospitals where I am.

Nov 13, 2017 6:44 AM

AmbrielleLyn, ATanyR has given you the best advice! Research and decide based on your own experience and tolerance. I am almost one year post op on a very complicated lumbar sugery and stlil have pain/complications but it's different pain/complications. I think I always will have a lot of pain but do not regret the surgery because I knew I could not let the situation to continue to worsen. The longer I waited the worse I would be making my condition permanently. You will know when you have reached your brink and even if things aren't perfect on the flipside, remember how bad it was before and use that as your gauge for progress. It is easy to get lost in the confusion of pain and not be able to sort out one day from the next (or that has been my experience). Best of Luck to You! And everyone here. No one understands like someone going through the same thing.

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