Monday, July 26, 2010 Elaine Watson, Community Member, asks

Q: Re-herniation following microdiscectomy

am reading more and more about people reherniating there disc following initial repair. 

I just had a mico disectomy at L5-S1 one week ago.  Pre-op I was suffering with  sciatica on the left, it started as being localized in the buttuck, but over a months time it progressed down my whole leg and the pain got so bad that I could hardly even walk right before my surgery.

Post-op, I had immediate relief.  It was amazing how all that pain I had been experiencing was completely gone!  I was walking around the unit that night , feeling amazing. Went home in the morning and continued to have zero pain in my leg, I was in heaven. I was told to take it easy, no lifting, minimize bending, and walking was ok.  I went for a short walk in my neighborhood, did some light cooking and folded laundry (sitting down in recliner).  I felt like I was being careful, but I did notice when I went for my short walk I felt a pull in my back on the way up my block. 

Day three I woke up and felt the pain in the buttuck again, I immediately panicked and called my surgeon and he told me it is likely residual swelling and to take it easy, take 800 motrin every 6 hours and if not better in two days to call back. It got progressively worse again and the surgeon then ordered steriods for me.  He called me two days after the steriods were started to see how I was doing and they were in fact not helping, He said if the steroids werent making a difference , then inflamation was not the problem and wanted me to get rescanned (MRI). 

My scan now shows "probable recurrent or residual left paracentral disc protrusion with mass-effect on the anterior thecal sac and traversing left S1 nerve sleeve.

My surgeon is out of town and will be back in three days. 

My question??

Does this mean a repeat surgery?  And , did I over do it, and cause this

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Answers (1)
7/27/10 10:20pm

Your surgeon will have to exam you and look at the new scan in order for you to get a definite answer. You may need another surgery, but only some time will tell. Waiting until the "dust" settles a bit on the recent surgery would be a good idea. Inflammation control and unloading the lumbar discs with traction and a Zero-gravity chair is what I would be doing if I were you.

 

You most likely loaded the disc a bit too much/too soon with the upright activities like walking and doing chores within a week of your surgery.

 

For now, avoid leaning forward, sitting for long periods of time, lifting, picking things off the floor and reaching. Avoiding these activities at increase pressure on your healing disc is the best thing to do right now, before subjecting yourself to another operation. Do traction you back every waking hour for 15 seconds. If you don't know how, ask your physical therapist to teach you auto-tractioning techniques.

 

You may be able to avoid another surgery with the right post-operative care.

 

Dr. Christina Lasich, MD

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By Elaine Watson, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/25/10, First Published: 07/26/10