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No symptoms before surgery.

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,008
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi. I can't believe it took me so long to find this website. It's awesome.

Anyway, I'm 23 and I've been getting L5-S1 herniation's for 3 years. I do occasionally get pain in both legs but mostly it's just the bilateral foot drop that is causing problems.

However, the herniation's tend to reabsorb after 6 months and then come back a few months later. All my doctors told me to get the surgery before it becomes a permanent occurrence.

Long story short, the surgery is on Tuesday (today is Sunday) and I currently have no symptoms. Is the doctor still going to be able to help me if I don't currently have a herniation? I've been calling but in Canada it's thanksgiving weekend so getting a hold of a doctor is proving impossible.

Has anyone else had this type of surgery when no symptoms were present?


  • Hello Mike.

    Welcome to Spine Health. As you can see you can
    find a lot of good and useful information here. Now, as far as your question, I am not really familiar with that type of surgery, but in general, many of us experience a sudden relief from our symptoms just before surgery. But if your doctor thinks that without the surgery your condition can become permanent, I think it is a good idea to go ahead with it.

    Happy Thanksgiving! (What part of Canada are you from?)

    Good luck with your surgery,

  • for you but still wanted to welcome you and wish you luck. Did you get a second opinion? I always do this in the case of any surgery unless it is an emergency. Good luck and keep us posted.
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  • Hello Mike, welcome to SH, you have found a great site full of information and support. Can you tell us more about the surgery you are having? Is it a discectomy or a fusion or? Is the foot drop gone at this time as well? I too was much better prior to my surgery, but I had an unstable spondy and knew it would return again, so I went for it. If you are having a discectomy and the disc is no long protruding would there be anything to remove? I think you need to talk to your surgeon. Do you have a pre-op the day before? Good-luck, and tell us more, Sue
  • Hi Mike,
    You never said exactly what surgery you are having.

    I am a patient recovering but, imho, You do have problems that cause you symptoms on / off - I too would get them sorted before permanent damage is done and your recovery much harder.

    I guess it is a trade off between when to go for the surgery and when to wait. In your case, with bilateral foot drop, I would do it. There is a clear indication of nerve problems.

    Good Luck! POst up once you get back so we all know how your doing!
  • Hi Mike - I just had a microdiscectomy for an L5-S1 herniation. I had dealt with it non-surgically for about a year, but it kept getting worse. I'm only 4 weeks post surgery, but so far the pain is much better and at this point I feel glad I did it. I still have some pins and needles and weakness in my leg, but was told that takes time to subside.

    As for your sudden sysmptom relief, thats a hard one to deal with. I was in so much pain, I was counting down the days for my surgery. For a week prior to my surgery, I was told to stop taking any anti-inflammatory meds (was taking Meloxicam). Boy was that a horrible week for pain. That is standard pre-op procedure, so if you are not taking any anti-inflam and you are pain free pre surgery, maybe you should wait it out.

    This is only my opinion and have zero medical credentials. It all depends on how long you have been dealing with this and what is your overall quality of life. You're still young and there's always time for surgery. Thats my 2 cents. Either way, I wish you luck. Tony
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  • Ha, you're right. I didn't say what the surgery was.

    The pre-op forms that I have say "Bilateral L5-S1 Discectomy"

    Right now I really don't think I have any symptoms. I never really suffered from pain until a short while ago and even then it was rare. The foot drop (both feet) were the only real constant. But a few weeks ago it went away (for the 5th time). I had seen 3 neurologists and two neurosurgeons and they all thought surgery was the way to fix it.

    It had taken a long time to diagnose what I had. When I walked, my feet dragged but I was terribly pigeon toed as well and instead of a 'steppage gait' (where one lifts the knees up high and the feet flop a bit) I was walking with a 'scissor gait' which is mostly seen in people with Cerebral Palsy apparently.

    They finally figured out that I had undiagnosed hip dysplasia from birth and because of the odd shape of my bones, walking is causing the disc bulges to happen. Though they still haven't figured out why I'm not in agony. They even redid an MRI after seeing the bulge because it was so big that I should have been crying. I don't think I got any pain for almost 2 and a half years.

    So no pre-ops before the surgery (which is now tomorrow morning) and my doc is still unavailable since it's Canadas thanksgiving weekend. (I live near Edmonton Alberta, Kinpain)

    I guess tomorrow if he sends me home, I'll have my answer. Ugh, it's tense. Thanks everyone for the help by the way. I really appreciate it.
  • I just wanted to wish you the best which ever way it goes. Please do let us know after the envent.
    Blessings Sara O:)
  • Whoo! Got to my laptop.

    So my surgeon went ahead with the surgery. Didn't matter if I had symptoms since the surgery was meant to stop the symptoms from coming back. I'm healing up good in the back but my paralysis is actually back. I have bilateral foot drop and some pain in one leg. Hopefully all that is related to the swelling though.

    Anyone have symptoms happen the surgery? Just curious how long it usually takes for that stuff to heal up. My surgeon has sort of washed his hands of me and I haven't been able to see my family doctor yet.

    Ah well, over all lets just hope I'm doing great. Thanks everyone for the help and support before the operation.
  • It is not unusual to still have symptoms after the surgery. This is usually as you said due to the swelling and also to any nerve damage that may have occured previously..
    From what I have read it is each to his own as far as recovery goes. Walk as much as you can but dont overdo things.
    Give yourself a break from physical labour for a while.

    Blessings Sara O:)
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