Back Pain

Posted by: | 2017/05/13


Disc replacement versus disectomy

Hi I have been to see 3 surgeons for opinions. I have severe herniated disc l4 and l5. L5 the worst. Having mass effect on my sciatic nerve. I have had facet infiltration, 2 rhizotomys ( one was successful for 6 months) and have just had a nerve block targeting the nerve itself which just seemed to cause added pain. So I am reaching my limit, been also doing physio. This is all over a span of 2.5 yrs. I am now trying body stress release and cbd oil but am still unable to even walk properly. The pain is effecting my life marriage and job. The last neurosurgeon who is well known at milpark for being very good said if the nerve block doesn't work we should consider minor disectomy. I have also had conflicting info on disc replacements. The one surgeon said it's too risky as there is a chance of death and another surgeon at linksfield does it all the time and is successful. Please may if have your opinion. Am I wasting my time doing a disectomy and should I just go with disc replacement and make sure it's gone for good.

Expert's Reply


Backache expert
- 2017/05/18

Good day,

I hear your outcry!  What I can add to help you with your frustration, is to say that disc protrusions are dynamic.  They are common in society, and the time of the day that your MRI was done - determine the amount of protrusion. This means, that Father Time and Movement as Healers, are involved.

Luckily, you were not operated immediately.  An operation has risks, that are non-returnable.  There are also no guarantees that you will be better off afterwards - as you said.  As long as you know you do not have a fracture/cancer tumour, you have muscle strength and good balance in your legs, and bladder function, there is no immediate pressure to be operated.

May be consider another physiotherapist, as well as a biokinethetist to assist you in exercising your body.  Also, keep in mind, that you need to be active for every hour that you sat - on a daily basis (life long). Consider sleeping on your stomach, and keep you weight under control (if your BMI is higher than 25).

An opinion on surgical procedures, is not the experties of a physiotherapist (myself). You are doing the right thing, get a few opinions from surgeons as well as other experts, and decide for yourself.

All the best,
Susan Grobler

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