Advice on moving forward with Microdiscectomy

 32 y/o Male. Herniated discs at l4/l5 and l5/s1. Very active typically. The former being the culprit here, the second less severe. It’s been re-agitating a couple times a year for the past 2-3 years. Symptoms – chronic lower back pain that I function with but takes away from my physical activities immensely. I have some sciatic pain in my hips and buttocks, and a few weeks ago had tingling in feet and then testicles (which has now subsided – at first was afraid of cuada equina syndrome, but no other symptoms for that). Sciatic pain is not nearly as painful as lower back pain, and is concentrated to only hips and butt.

Met with my neurosurgeon yesterday, and he won’t recommend a path of treatment, but said he would perform a microdiscectomy if that’s the path I wanted to go. I prodded him “what would he do?” and he wouldn’t play ball. While it would take care of the sciatica symptoms, he believes the lower back pain would still be there (though said there’s a chance it could improve). My concern is potential cuada equina, or permanent nerve damage if I don’t get the surgery done. Also, winter is slower for me and I could afford to be recovering work-wise in these months.

I’ve been having these symptoms for 3 years now, just confirmed the herniations / DDD / moderate to severe spinal stenosis a month ago.

Microdiscectomy scheduled for a few weeks from now, but I’m having big second doubts if it won’t address the back pain. Any advice? At the end of the day don’t I need to get that disc fragment removed? So it stops pushing on my nerves and spinal cord? Am I at elevated risk for cuada equina? Elevated risk for nerve damage, even though the sciatic pain is mostly in hips? Could I potentially go years / lifetime without having this become a medical emergency?

MRI picture of herniation: Thanks so much! I'm getting a second opinion on January 2nd, bout would love any input!



  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,564

    Welcome sol1234 to the forum!

    At least your are getting a second opinion, which, I think in your condition, you need one or two. We cannot answer most of your questions, you will need your doctors to help you there. But I do agree, if you put this off, will it cause more damage on the nerves? You want those nerves to wake up and function again, not be permanently damaged.

    Below is a video on Cauda Equina, if you need the information

    While you’re waiting for a reply to your first post, please take a few moments to review the Code of Conduct and FAQ section, located under Forum Tools. There you will find important information about posting in the forum and helpful tips for new members.

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    Please keep us posted on your progress.
    Veritas Health Forum Moderator 

  • I had my first lumbar surgery at 23, the reason was terrible back pain and of course sciatica, luckily for me the surgery solved both issues.

    Take care and keep us posted


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  • Neurosurgeons I’ve consulted won’t do surgery unless the pain in the legs or butt is worse than the pain in the low back but that’s just my personal experience.

    I’m glad you’re getting a second opinion. I got four opinions and all four doctors said the same thing.

    Good luck and please keep us posted.

  • It's good that you're getting a second opinion. Just an individual story - my husband was having low back pain on and off when he was 30. He bent over wrong and started having really bad pain, pain down the leg. He had a micro 30 years ago and had immediate relief. Since then sometimes he starts getting pain in his low back or numbness in his toes and he goes back to doing his back exercises and amazingly he feels better in a week or two. It certainly is a one off situation, but it's hope.

  • MicrD's do not resolve back pain, only the referred pain in the limbs

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