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Microdiscectomy: Spine Surgery for a Herniated Disc

My son herniated a disc in his back, causing pain, weakness, and numbness down to his foot. He then underwent a microdiscectomy procedure.

Microdiscectomy incision and sutures

Incision slightly to the left of the spine, about 48 hours after microdiscectomy surgery.

Incision slightly to the left of the spine, about 48 hours after microdiscectomy surgery.

Discectomy for herniated disc with associated leg pain has high success rate

While surgery for many conditions should be considered only as a last resort, for people suffering from a pinched or compressed nerve from a herniated disc that results in leg pain and numbness, a discectomy (or microdiscectomy) is often the solution that finally brings long-term relief.

More conservative options should of course be attempted first, since spine surgery for a herniated disc—like all surgeries—has associated risks. But when non-surgical options fail, a discectomy brings relief to more than 90% of patients with associated leg pain (sciatica) caused by pressure on a nerve from the affected disc.

Recently, my son had a microdiscectomy to relieve the pain and numbness in his left leg and foot caused by a herniated disc. While it is too soon to tell how he will fare in the long term, at the moment the results look very promising.

My son's herniated disc

Please note, I am not a doctor or medical professional, just a mother sharing her son's experience with a herniated disc and treatment.

Possible cause of herniated disc

It was the last weekend of summer before heading off to college and my son, and his friends were getting together for a fun weekend of jet skiing at the lake. After returning from their weekend's adventure, my son told me how his back was killing him after slamming down on a wave while riding on a tube attached to a jet ski.

I didn't think much of his back pain at the time, especially since we were in the midst of packing and moving him into his dormitory away at college. In fact, I actually forgot that he hurt his back, thinking at the time that it would feel better in a few days.

Back pain gets worse and now has leg pain, too

By mid-October my son called me and told me that he was having horrible back and leg pain. I knew he had brought his skateboard to college with him and figured his back was sore from all the hard jumping and landing involved in the sport, forgetting about the jet ski incident. Additionally, he was regularly doing a lot of weightlifting, which I also thought could be the cause of his pain.

He went to the doctor at the college's health center (luckily we had student health insurance for college, as well as our own employee health insurance), and the doctor prescribed him prescription-strength Tylenol and muscle relaxers. He was advised to see another doctor if the pain did not go away.

Back pain lessens but leg pain worsens

Needless to say, for anyone that has had a herniated disc with compression on a nerve, the Tylenol and muscle relaxers only helped mildly at best, and probably only because they helped him sleep. We figured when he returned home for Thanksgiving break that we would bring him to the orthopedic doctor. The doctor we had in mind is a very well regarded physician and we knew he would offer us an accurate diagnosis.

By the time my son came home for the Thanksgiving holiday break, he really was not complaining about his back anymore, but he did have an upper respiratory illness. With five family members from out-of-town visiting us for the holiday and the fact that my son was otherwise sick with a virus, as well as his sister too, we never got him to the orthopedic doctor as we had intended.

Leg pain becomes unbearable

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During the three weeks he was back at college between Thanksgiving break and winter break he called me multiple times telling me how bad his leg was, how he could hardly walk on some days. The extreme pain he was in was very evident in his voice. Helpless to do much, and very concerned about his final exams and grades, I wasn't sure what to do.

MRI reveals herniated disc

After coming home for winter break, he finally had an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon. After getting the MRI results we had a diagnosis; it was confirmed that he had a herniated disc (L4/L5). Unfortunately, since the doctor was on vacation by the time we got the MRI completed, we did not get the results until a couple of days after my son returned to college.

Apparently, with some herniated discs the back pain subsides on its own, but it is the leg and foot pain, as well as tingling and numbness in those extremities, that cause all the misery. Material from the herniated disc itself can put pressure on surrounding nerve roots or the spinal canal, leading to extreme pain and discomfort. The nerve in question, near the L4/L5 disc in my son's case, affects the leg and foot.

MRI of L4-L5 Herniated Disc

This is an MRI of my son's L4-L5 herniated disc (I believe).

This is an MRI of my son's L4-L5 herniated disc (I believe).

Non-surgical treatment options

  • Time to heal: Luckily for many people who have a mild herniated a disc, time and easing up on physical activities is the only needed remedy to heal. Recovery may take 4 weeks or longer.
  • Physical therapy may be used to strengthen the back or to relieve pressure that the unhealed herniated disc is placing on surrounding nerves.
  • Pain killers are sometimes given to patients as a way of relieving the pain caused by compressed nerves from a herniated disc, however they may only provide short term pain relief, if any at all. Read Herniated Disc Pain Relief, for a candid story about one herniated disc sufferer's experience with pain killers.
  • Cortisone injections may only offer short term relief, but for some people the cortisone/steroid is enough to reduce swelling and inflammation to allow the disc to heal and to relieve pressure on any nerves.

Herniated disc treatment options

We were uncertain of which treatment option to select for my son's herniated disc, especially since he was away at college with hopes to complete the semester. Since it was around four months since the sciatica began due to nerve root impingement, he stood the best chance for a good long term outcome if something was done sooner than later.

Since my son was well beyond the window of time where healing may have occurred on its own, the only two options left were:

  • Cortisone injections
  • Microdiscectomy surgery (discectomy)

At first we decided that the best course of action was to attempt an x-ray guided cortisone injection. In fact, we set the wheels in motion to schedule a time for him to return home for this procedure and even got it scheduled at the surgical center. In the meantime, however, his leg and foot pain were worsening to the point where he could no longer get out of bed many days.

Elects to have microdiscectomy (discectomy) surgery

After speaking to the doctor again, the decision was made to forgo the cortisone injection, and instead opt for the microdiscectomy surgery. It turns out cortisone injections may only provide short term relief, it could be weeks, it could be a year, but many times it is not a permanent solution.

In fact, the doctor explained that some insurance companies are beginning to not cover these injections due to their failure rate. The microdiscectomy surgery, on the other hand, while more invasive and risky than an injection, has a very high success rate for herniated disc patients with accompanying leg pain.

In the article, Nerve Pain: My Experience, Holle Abee (habee) describes her pain from pinched nerves and how her pain relief from a cortisone injection to her back only lasted three weeks.

Microdiscectomy (discectomy) surgery scheduled; hopes are high

Finally, the microdiscectomy is scheduled and when I pick my son up from college to head back home for surgery, any slight reservations I have about surgery are alleviated when I see him. Clearly, he is suffering, and is walking with quite a limp. It's painfully obvious that the microdiscectomy surgery for his herniated disc is his only option.

The morning of surgery arrives and my son is not nervous at all, in fact he is quite excited at the prospect of ending all the misery caused by his herniated disc and pinched nerve.

I, too, am hopeful for an immediate positive outcome, especially after reading the article, Herniated Disc Treatment Options, in which the author, Jason Menayan (livelonger), describes how he lived with grueling pain from a herniated disc that was only relieved by a discectomy. Menayan lives nearly two thousand miles away and while I do not know him personally, he has given me tremendous hope that my son can not only live a life without this particular back and leg pain, but can lead a full and active life in the future.

Now at the hospital, the surgeon comes in to speak to us prior to performing the microdiscectomy. You've got to love surgeons—in a very matter-of-fact manner he explains how he will make the incision, remove some bone (laminectomy) to expose the nerve, and then remove the herniated disc material that is pressing on the nerve root. "Really, quite simple," he states, going on to say that the microdiscectomy will take forty-five minutes to an hour. I had zero doubt that my son was in very capable surgical hands.

Herniated disc material removed during microdiscectomy

This is a photograph of the herniated disc material removed during my son's microdiscectomy. I am assuming the 1 and 2 markings represent an inch.

This is a photograph of the herniated disc material removed during my son's microdiscectomy. I am assuming the 1 and 2 markings represent an inch.

After the microdiscectomy

Within a couple of hours after the surgery my son was thrilled—thrilled that he could already tell that a lot of his leg pain was simply gone. He still had pain in his calf, as if he had done one-hundred leg lifts, he described, but for the most part he finally felt relief from months of pain.

About 48 hours post-surgery he was becoming very uncomfortable again, and the prescribed painkillers did not seem to be helping. Thinking that he may be having some post-surgical inflammation (to be expected), I wondered if the inflammation itself could be pressing on the nerve root again. Instead of giving him the prescribed painkiller with Tylenol, we decided to give him Advil since it has anti-inflammatory properties. This seemed to do the trick and the next day he decided that he could return to college.

Nothing about helping your child away at college when they do not feel well is easy. Unfortunately a day after returning to school he was miserable, this time with a fever of 102 degrees and barely able to walk again. To say my bubble burst is to put it mildly.

I personally had cleaned around his surgical wound a day earlier and doubted there was any skin infection. But to be on the safe side I strongly encouraged him to go to the doctor at college so the doctor could examine my son's incision and sutures. Thankfully, no signs of infection were present. Meanwhile, back at home, the surgeon's nurse explained to me that patients can run a fever for three to five days after surgery. Apparently, inflammation from surgery can produce a febrile condition.

Eight days post-microdiscectomy

Luckily, the fever only lasted a couple of days and as the fever lessened so too did the leg pain. Eight days after surgery my son told me that he had not had fever for a couple of days and he estimated that his leg was 80% better.

Nerves take time to heal, that is why full recovery from a discectomy or microdiscectomy can take many months. With his latest health report I am hopeful that the sciatica caused by the herniated disc impinging a nerve will be fully gone.

This much I know, my son really had no choice but to have the microdiscectomy surgery, and with an over 90% success rate since he also had sciatica, the outlook was positive. Unfortunately, for people with herniated discs that have back pain but do NOT have leg pain, a discectomy or microdiscectomy is not usually helpful.

Discectomy vs Microdiscectomy

WebMD defines a discectomy as a surgery to remove herniated disc material that is pressing on a nerve root or the spinal cord.

WebMD explains that a microdiscectomy differs from a discectomy in that a special microscope is used to view the disc and nerves. The larger view provided by the microscope does not necessitate as large of an incision as is needed for a discectomy, thereby resulting in less damage to the surrounding tissue.

During either procedure (discectomy or microdiscectomy) the surgeon may need to perform a laminectomy (aka laminotomy), which is the removal of a small piece of bone called the lamina in order to expose the nerve. Additionally, both forms of the surgery are performed under general anesthesia.

As the name sounds, the microdiscectomy is less invasive, and this is the procedure that my son underwent to remove the disc material that had become so bothersome. From the photograph of my son above you can see that the incision is about 2 inches long.

Microdiscectomy Recovery Time

I guess in our son's case we will never know the exact cause of his herniated disc, whether or not he did in fact injure it jet skiing. If he did injure it that day, I doubt that it could have ever healed on its own as he pursued other athletic interests such as skate boarding and weight lifting. "No pain, no gain" is a real fallacy.

Whatever the cause, the microdiscectomy procedure is complete and he seems well on his way to recovery. For the first few weeks following this procedure, it is important to not bend or lift items over ten pounds. However, it is also important to not lay around and to be sure and walk. In time scar tissue will "fill in" his herniated disc and movement will ensure that the scar tissue itself does not cause future issues.

Microdiscectomy Scar

This is my son's scar four months after surgery

This is my son's scar four months after surgery

Update: 4 Months Post-Surgery

The first few weeks after surgery I was a bit concerned. My son developed a fever and the pain that seemed to be gone immediately after surgery came back. It turns out that this return of pain and leg numbness was due to post-surgical inflammation.

Of course, microdiscectomy recovery time will vary by patient, but in my son's case, the pain seemed to come and go for the first couple of months, with it being almost gone by the three month mark.

It's now been four months since his microdiscectomy surgery, and I'm happy to report that he is virtually pain-free. He says that after he's been very active and on his feet all day that he feels a little leg soreness but it is nothing he can't live with or tolerate. For him, the procedure for his herniated disc was a definite success!

Poll for people with a herniated disc who have had a microdiscectomy or discectomy:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Darlene on July 20, 2018:

6 weeks post surgery and I still have a lot of numbness in right food and leg. I know that nerve damage can take a while to heal, so I'm still hopeful.

Monte on September 18, 2017:

To those just having the procedure. You will have immediate pain relief and over time question whether it is working. You will fill twinges, leg pain, butt pain, it moves around a s nerves heal. Stay positive because one day you wake up and feel totally normal. I'm 6 years past with a slow recovery, but I did go to work 3 days after. I now run 5 miles each day, lift weight, golf ride my Harley. Your body will tell you when to cool it. Keep a strong mind and not worry like you did prior to surgery.

Ashley Sulway on June 22, 2017:

Discectomy and decompression surgery was a complete success on L4/L5 which had herniated and produced back and sciatic nerve pain down my right leg to the lower calf. Highly recommend it.

J Stenhouse on May 20, 2017:

(28y/o)I had a Discetomy L5S1, 3 weeks ago after I herniated a disc un-knowing to me a few years ago due to skiing, The injury came back to haunt me quick quickly earlier this year, after going to the physio what I suspected as a pulled hamstring, but with pain moving to calf and sciatica setting in an MRI was scheduled. Surgery soon followed. Prior to surgery I had sever pain and pressure in glute and calf, pins and needles and severe sciatica. 3 weeks post surgery and slowly getting back into physio and rehab , pain and discomfort 100% gone as soon as I awoke from surgery. I was anxious about the success rate but I cannot stress how much this procedure has helped and glad I have had it done! anyone contemplating the procedure....dont! well worth it!

Bethany on April 05, 2017:

I had a microdiscectomy around 6 weeks ago, i am only almost 19 and have been struggling since i was 17, i struggled and struggled until i finally got some help and had my op. i recommend it

Pruthvraj on January 11, 2017:

Thank you for such detailed information. useful! :)

Steven on September 06, 2016:

So I had herniated a disc between my L5-S1 but didn't know it and was not concentrated on at that time due to other medical issues. But with that 5 days in hospital and the back was not in any pain anymore. I also did not know it was even herniated until couple years later I go to hospital for major back and left leg pain. They take mri and see that its herniated. Talk with dr in room looking at mri on screen but wait thats the wrong image, its the one from couple years back. But didn't look any different from newer mri, and they considered it to be a huge herniation. So I had the surgery to remove most of disc. Yes was hard to walk, sit, lay, go to the restroom but after surgery I did feel alot of relief in my back. Took couple weeks at home. Easy walking to start but since I didn't drive at the time started walking up to the store about 1 mile round trip. Trying to keep my leg loose. Back to dr and wants me to do so physical therapy. I do for about 6 weeks (insurance limit). But continued at home, long walks 2-3 miles before alot of leg, calf, toes pain and cramp feeling, let alone numbness in outer half of foot. Been riding a bike makes it easier for longer distances of travel 10-15-20 miles. Been now 11 months with the walking I have done, bike riding I have done, and the PT I do you would think leg would be working better. Well no it is not. I can't run, no jumping and can't even lift with toes (toe lift). My left leg has only got worse and my back is still pretty weak. Still can't sit long, nor stand, and hate long car rides now. Its really only comfortable to sleep on my stomach. Now here is the fun part im 34 (33 for surgery). But before back reherniated I was able to go on 7 mile jogs, work out, play basketball even dunk. Swing a bat/golf club, ride a 70 mile round trip on bicycle and so much more. So I feel that the surgery was not a very good success. So now when I try to do much... well really can't but I have to take a day of rest if not two. My left calf is now about half its original size and feel that it's never coming back.

Justin on March 18, 2015:

I had a microdisceteomy 10 days. I had been having on and off sciatic nerve pain down my right leg and back for about 3 months and been seeing a chiropractor 2 months ago after 12 visit the last time I went in when he adjustment my lower back it was as it all the pain disappeared and within 30 mins after my back and leg got so tight an unbearable pain that I had to leave work scheduled an appointment with my primary care doc the next day and he recommended me straight to a neurosurgeon. It took a week to get an appointment but from the wed the chiro had adjusted me to to the fri morning I could no longer walk, stand, or barely lay without muscle spasms and shooting sciatic pain in my right leg. By that sun the shooting pains where now constant pains and even taking overdose of pain meds got no relief. My neuro appointment got scheduled for Thursday that week so I was just trying to stay confortable and easy on my back and leg. By mon the constant nerve pains turned to numbness in my right foot like in the two small toes not my big toe. And also the pad part of my foot and lower calf went numb. Still muscle spams and pain in my back and upper leg. Could only get around for short periods with crutches or wheelchair my neighbors brought me. I was nervous about the surgery I wanted to try the shots or acupuncture but my surgeaon told me just by the fact it went from somewhat bare able sciatic nerve pain and back spams to pretty much not being able to walk or function it was time for surgery, also to avoid permanent nerve damage he bumped my surgery up to the following mon. I called my parents docs and all kinda nervous that I was jumping the gun on surgery but when Inweighed out the rate for the shots was a 60-40 chance it would work and it's really expensive even with ins plus it weakens the bones and other structures in the area, and a 90% success rate and my doc had 95% success rate with his own patients I went with surgery. The day I woke up after surgery instant pain relief in my leg and back and just like a light pressure where the incision occurred. I got up and walked around the hospital a couple hours after surgery and went home the next morn my surgery was late in the evening so my doc recommend to stay till morning To make sure pain meds were working. Within 3 days I was able to go out to eat with a few friends couldn't stand or sit for long periods without gettin uncomfortable but the pain was gone and only noticed after I stopped taking all the pain killers by day 4 that there was little numbness still in my left two small toes and my calf muscle but was told this could take a few weeks to go away. I was able to take bandage off 4 days after and keep open and take a full shower by day 5 getting it wet. I started driving to grocery store or to park by day 6 and walking a lot. Doc said helps with scar tissue and keeping the muscles active. My leg muscles still feel really tight 10 days after surgery incision is itchy but looks fine and no discharge however in the last two days have noticed the lump feeling near the top kinda like it's a little swollen but not painful. It feels like pressure if I touch it. And if I sit in a chair with a hard back or lay on hard surface its little uncomfortable but not painful. However sciatic nerve pain is gone. I hope you all have a good recovery also. Anyone know when you were able to start bending and doing light cardio or upper body workouts at least?

GoJackets2015 on December 28, 2014:


I am a 22 year old diagnosed with a L4-L5 herniation and will be having surgery this upcoming summer. Seeing that your son is also relatively young, I instantly was drawn to this page. Thank you for sharing all of this on here, it is definitely a great source of information.

Upon seeing his MRI and his scar pictures, I noticed that like me, his lumbar vertebrae also do not show significant lumbar curvature. I was wondering if the healthcare providers in charge of your son's case ever brought that up and if it would affect his future years down the road.

Again thank you and hope he is doing well.

Randall Guinn from Pinellas Park, Florida on October 21, 2014:

How is your son doing now?

ramfan13 on July 24, 2014:

thanks so much for sharing your experience. I just found out I have herniation of L3 L4. I had an L4 L5 several years ago and did not have surgery, it got better on its own, but with that one pain was less and only a little tingling in legs. This time, the pain in back was very bad and could barely walk, had to go to ER. That was about a week ago. Pain is better with meds and steroids, but my right leg is very numb and weak. I walk very slowly and can barely go upstairs, it is like I am dragging the leg. I don't know if I can deal with this. I had the MRI this week that confirmed herniation and saw surgeon today. He is recommending surgery due to the weakness and possibility that this could be worse if waiting. I hate the idea of surgery, but I am a very active person and cannot stand not being able to hardly move. Plus, I have a very active 10 year old boy that needs me. I am leaning towards surgery sooner but worried about how you know you have a good surgeon. Any thoughts on this. Thanks.

Mostaq Ahmed on May 23, 2014:

I'm getting encourage to read this article.I had the problem L4L5..Had to go through surgery last 18th November 2013 now 6 month+ but still pain in my back numbness in left leg+foot+ankle..Sometimes couldn't walk straitly difficulties movement at sleeping time.Can anybody assure me when i would get full recovery??

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on March 17, 2014:

He had it done in Northern, IL. We were not concerned about his age. I think the bigger concern was that if we delayed surgery then the possibility for complete healing was reduced.

frazerisland on March 14, 2014:

Where did your son have his surgery? We have a 14 year old daughter who has two herniated discs in l4/l5 and l5/s1. She has only leg pain. Having been a patient of a very successful discectomy 10 years ago, I am in favor of it. But we are very concerned about her age. Was there ever any concern about surgery at his age?

sam on February 10, 2014:

hi guys i have l4 l5 and lrg pain and doctor is giving me just pain killer i almost know 5 months now and i did physiotherapy and acupuncture but i still have the same pain lower back and leg i fell this doctor not good really i need help but i don't know what i should do

companion1 on January 20, 2014:

I had microdiscectomy at L3 on Sept. 10, 2013. After two months of intense pain and suffering a doctor did an outpatient proceedure that left me pain free. I can not understand why I had to suffer not to mention the addicting drugs, valium, steroids, muscle relaxers, gabapentin. I was a human pharmacy. The pain meds and steroids did not touch the pain. I even considered suicide if I had to live my life this way. I could not work, drive, clean, shop; my life was ambushed. I am thankful every day for the surgery.

thuji on December 30, 2013:

Hi everyone,

Its been a while since my surgery about 17 months back and I had a pain free existence till about a month back. I could play games like soccer, badminton and even walk long distances.

However, I have started getting some pain in my lower back and some burning sensation in my right toe. I am thinking the whole dreaded thing is coming back again.

So, is there anyone who is or has experienced such a situation and suggestions.


Carl on December 27, 2013:

I am 42 and had Microdiscectomy surgery for a herniated disc between L4 and L5 on 7/26/13. Prior to surgery I could barely walk. I believe I herniated my disc golfing. After surgery I recovered at home for 2 weeks before going back to work. My job is an hour away from my home and is a desk job were I sit at a computer all day. My doctor did not recommend PT, stating that my sciatic nerve just needs time to heal. I'm doing a few exercises a day (hamstring stretches, back arches and walking). My pain level is around a 5 now which is not as bad it was prior to surgery, however, I'm getting frustrated because I'm at the 5 month mark and not seeing much improvement. Currently I can not lay on either side in bed without pain shooting down my left leg. I keep wondering if I reherniated the disc, however, since I'm do not have the 10 pain level that I had prior to surgery the doctor will not order another MRI. I talked to a few people that have had surgery for the same injury and most said it took around a year before they felt better. I just want to have a few good days. Is anybody else experiencing longer recovery time from this surgery?

ajaygupta20777 on November 23, 2013:

This was an encouraging read for me also. I am 37 year old. In September 21st 2013 i have also gone through Microdiscectomy surgery for L4-L5 Spinal surgery. After two month of surgery my left leg pain gone 75%, but still some pain at back. But overall satisfactory in comrision with before surgery. Wait for full pain free life, how much it take.

Marc on November 05, 2013:

This was an encouraging read for me. I had a herniated disc diagnosis/MRI about 6 years ago. It bothered me for about a year, went through therapy and got better, not 100% but about 90.....A long time sitting still would be painful but it was manageable.

In July of this year I was bending down to put on a pair of shoes and my back just locked on me. Couldn't straighten up, terrible pain. Went to the Ortho, MRI, disc was worse. I began to get the numbing left leg, left calf and foot. It's now November and I've had two shots which helped for a few weeks and then wear off. I've been going to therapy which seems to help a little but now the last week or so my leg and foot is just not feeling right. Pain, numbness, tingling, especially at night.

I am going to see my doctor tomorrow for my follow up and I am pretty nervous.......but I am really uncomfortable.

Docp on October 20, 2013:

Awesome forum it's somehow comforting to read other peoples experience especially when it mimics my own. I developed back pain after moving some heavy furniture three months ago. Then as the back pain subsided with antiinflammatories the leg pain started. The MRI showed bulging of the L5/S1 disc on the same side of the symptoms . Two epidurals later the leg pain (sciatica) went away but started on the other side a few weeks after. 2 nd MRI showed the other side was bulging and compressing the nerve root but this time numbness began from the hip pocket area down the back of thigh to behind knee down to the heel and outer part of foot including the small toe. Ankle reflex gone ( by the way the ankle reflex went on the other side but came back two weeks after the epidurals). Have just had ozone gas injected into the disc and an epidural on the "new" side . Sciatic pain going but it's the numb heel and toes that really "get" to me , makes walking awkward and I am scared its going to be permanent , it's been numb for 3 weeks now. The surgeon is offering microdiscectomy but I am not sure as I am still hopefull it will improve as the pain has improved , but how long to wait is the question? Hmmm , in limbo :) best wishes to all comrades out there sharing their stories , keep positive.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on October 09, 2013:

Some time has passed since your surgery, th25. I hope you have continued to see improvement.

th25 on August 08, 2013:


Thanks for the well wishes and I am glad your son is doing well. My surgery went well and I am 2 days post op. The surgeon indicated that the separated piece of disc material (sequestered fragment) was much larger than originally thought. The surgery took 70 minutes, 30 minutes longer than originally forecasted. Unfortunately I have not yet noticed a significant decrease in the numbness and muscle control in my foot. The right side of my right foot, right heel, and right buttocks area are still numb. I do believe that it is getting better but very hard to tell. The cramp like feeling that I had in my calf before surgery seems to have gone away. I have some pain around the surgical site which is normal but am using ice and OXYCODONE to control the pain. I was able to walk out of the recovery room with little problem 2 hours after surgery. I am following the doctors instructions regarding no lifting, bending or twisting. I am confident that I will achieve more recovery over time, just not sure how long it will take. I am unable to sit for more than 30 minutes or so before the lower back begins to hurt. So, lots of walking and up and down activity. Time will tell as to how well things will go. I will continue to post as time progresses. I would be interested to hear from anyone who has had this procedure and held the same symptoms of numbness tat I have described. Would like to know how long it took for their recovery. I realize everyone is different but like to establish range of expectations for recovery.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on August 07, 2013:

I hope all goes well with your surgery. Just realize that it may take some time for a full recovery. Basically, I would say it took my son 3-4 to feel completely back to normal. A year and a half later, he's still doing real well and has absolutely no more problems with his back, leg or foot.

th25 on August 01, 2013:

I am 56 years old and woke up with massive sciatica pain in right leg. Went to emergency, received IV pain meds, had MRI and 5 hours later left emergency room with numbness in right hip, right calf, outside edge of right foot including entire right heel. Some pain but very moderate in the calf and heel. End of day, leg gets worse but bearable. Visited with two different surgeons who read my MRI. I have a herniated disc at L5/S1 with a sequestered (torn loose) piece of disc material compressing the S1 nerve. The loose I am scheduled for Microscopic Lumbar Discectomy in one week. The piece of disc material is one of the major drivers for my decision to have the surgery. I am hopeful that full recovery will be the outcome. I know of others who have had same exact surgery and walked out of surgery with 90% of their symptoms relieved. We will see. I am most concerned about numbness and ankle reflex as these seem to have most negative impact on my walking.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on February 28, 2013:

antonia2013 - I certainly I hope you don't have to live with all this pain and pressure on your hip and back. Perhaps, as you indicated, something more is going on. It's definitely worth seeking out a top-notch specialist who can offer you the most appropriate course of treatment. Best of luck to you.

antonia2013 on February 25, 2013:

Happy I found this forum as I feel like I am the only one according to my back surgeon who has had a problem with recovery from my microdisectomy/lamectomy August 22, 2012. The horrible pain, spasms, and no rest or relief was waiting on insurance issue's. Reason being was hurt at work and company doctor said to see a psychiatrist as it was all in my head..nothing wrong after viewing my first MRI. I gave her the cd to review and she did a visual. However, I had the paperwork with results which shwed a fragment and stenosis. Had surgery 4 days later a large hospital in Cleveland where 2 fragments removed and had the severe pain gone. Truly, the way I used to be seems to be gone when it comes to back, leg, hip, and spine pain. I am 60 and never had a back issue and walked 3-5 miles a day until my injury. However, it is Feb. 25, 2013 and was driven from Ohio to Chicago to see a failed back syndrome specialist. Ok..having fully enclosed MRI again this week as the back of my knee is the worst. What is going on and has arthiritis set in? Can a MRI show every spot where the problems are regarding my pain or a compressed nerve? Maybe I am in this for life and very sad over being treated like I do not know my body or pain ...the doctor and his visuals on my function. By the way has anyone had their doctors not even check their back physically?? Very depressed over the possibility of living like a hermit because of pain and pressure on hip and back. HELP!!!