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Spinal Stenosis and herniated discs what is the likelihood of surgery

I recently found out I have 2 herniated discs in my lumbar area a 1mm bulge on my l3-l4  and the a 4mm protrusion on my l5-s1 I also was informed that I have the congenital  form of the spinal stenosis and I had no idea about it for 42 years. The pedicures on all of my lumbar vertebrae are short as well as the central canal stenosis.   I have my mri results already  and a referral to see a specialist.  I have been doing a lot of research trying to see what the likelihood of surgery will be .  I am unsure if having this stenosis from birth and not knowing about it till now has made it worse in the long run and also want to know how much it will impact me in the future as it is a birth defect for me.  Not much is said  about the congenital stenosis most I have read is about the degenerative type.  So I wonder am I more likely to have surgery with this condition.


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,212
    hello april74 !
    gentle reminder....there are no medical professionals here on discussion forums.
    we are not qualified or allowed to give out advise.

    your question is a very good one for when you see your specialist...and i for one would be very interested in learning what he tells you.

    while waiting for responses from members with shared experiences, using search may benefit you, upper right on page.
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    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  •  It's hard to know the likelihood of surgery in your case, but I'v read promising reports on the outcomes of those who do go ahead with it. I would think that treatment for congenital and degenerative stenosis is similar. I also have degenerative central canal and foraminal stenosis in the thoracic and lumbar spine, and possibly in the cervical as well. I can't have any more corrective surgery due to failed back surgery syndrome, and had to get both a pain pump and spinal cord stimulator. Walking is difficult since the pain gets worse when I stand. Your doctor has to determine whether stenosis findings in the MRI correlate with your symptoms and take it from there. Some people have coincidental findings and never had pain. Doctors have to rely on medical history, clinical presentation,diagnostic tests, and imaging studies and tie it all together. Hope everything goes well at your upcoming appointment. Take care 
    Ol' Spiney..Micro-D L4-L5, TLIF L4-S1 -post op central HNP L4-S1,stenosis, retrolisthesis, EF, facet arthropathy, lumbar& cervical DDD. FBSS- Medtronic pain pump & SCS
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  • Hi April- Many of the spine issues we deal with are degenerative/progressive. They tend to get worse over time, not better. In my experience stenosis is one of those conditions. 10 years ago I walked both the NYC and LA marathons. Now I can't walk a mile. I have recently found out that this limitation is the result of central canal stenosis @L1-L3. As the narrowing as increased my ablitly to walk has decreased. 

    For me knowing why I have stenosis that is progressing is far less important than knowing that I have it and learning what can be done to fix it, I may have had the seeds of stenosis since birth or maybe not. But I do have stenosis now. 

    In may cases stenosis can be remedied. I had surgery to alleviate stenosis @L4-L5 9 years ago and the improvement was instant. The stenosis I mentioned above will be fixed surgically in 2 weeks. I don't know if the 2 occurences are related or if they were present form birth. 

    You don't mention any symptoms or what kind of specialist you will be seeing. Hopefully you will be able to determine whether your issues are being caused by stenosis, the herniated disks or the bulging disk. Once you figure that out you will have a much better idea about whether or not surgery wil help.

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