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iSpine Discuss Recovering from leg weakness after discectomy in the Main forums forums; My Discectomy is this Friday and hope all goes well. I have a large L4-L5 herniated disc that has ...

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Old 03-26-2012, 09:48 PM
mstikes's Avatar
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Default Recovering from leg weakness after discectomy

My Discectomy is this Friday and hope all goes well. I have a large L4-L5 herniated disc that has weakened my left leg so much that I now have to walk with a cane Pre-op ! My left calf muscle has shrunk by about 80 % and my right leg is now also starting to weaken .

Does anyone with that much leg weakness has been able to recover enough of their strenght to be able to walk normally after the discectomy ?
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:40 PM
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Greetings from Bogen, Germany. Welcome to the forum.

The lumbar nerves are very durable. I have seen several people have their strength return from both cervcial and lumbar surgeries. I'll not make a huge distinction between discectomies and ADR surgeries because what you are talking about is decompressing the nerves. If you decompress them and they are not permanently damaged, they will recover. In my experience (handling over 800 cases, I believe the percentage of people with permanent, substantial damage is very small. Read Melanie's story on the GPN website linked below. She could not lift her leg off the bed and was completely disabled for many years 1 day after her ADR surgery, the strength had returned.

Before my ADR surgery, I had severe pain in my leg and foot and only enough weakness to stumble frequently. I got 90-95% relief from pain and never stumble anymore unless I'm drinking!

Good luck! Please let us know how it goes.

Mark
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1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:44 PM
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That is a huge herniation in your avatar, but I can't read the date. How long have you had that. (I assume pretty long if you have lost so much muscle mass?)

If you have had such a huge herniation for more than a very short while.... why didn't they go after it sooner?

Mark
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1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
President: Global Patient Network, Inc.
Founder: www.iSpine.org
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Old 04-03-2012, 03:32 PM
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Mstikes,
I had a severe herniation in my cervical spine which caused a lot of weakness in my left arm. It was completely resolved with my anterior diskectomy and fusion in 2007. I wish you the best. Let us know when you are feeling up to posting after your surgery.
judy
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2007 ACDF 4-7
2008 hip , knee scope, hip replacement
2009 thoracic T-5 thru T-11fusion
2009 VATS T7-8, posterior only T11-12. removal of thoracic hard wear
2010 lung surgery
2010 T2-L2 kyphosis correction
2010 Kyphoplasty T-3, T-4
2011 Cervical osteotomy ,revision C4-T5
2011 Foot surgery
2011 Revision fusion T7 thru L4/laminectomy
2012 Hammertoe correction left foot
2012 Revision fusion T-12 thru L5
2012 Revision fusion L4-L5
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:06 PM
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To answer Mmglobal question the MRI in my avatar showing a big herniation was taken in November. Here'es a larger picture ImageShack® - Online Photo and Video Hosting

I am now 2 weeks postop and even though the lower back leg pain is almost gone both of my legs are now very weak. I would grade my left leg a 1/5 and my right a 2/5. What kind of Physical therapy should I start to have a chance to recover some leg strenght ?
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L4/L5 discectomy 2012

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Old 04-11-2012, 09:48 PM
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mstikes,

I don't see the axial (horizontal) slices that correspond to the herniation. How are your legs weak? If you are talking about the big muscles that pull your knees to chest, my (layperson's) understanding is that it must be coming from higher than L4. I'm on the way home from Europe now. Feel free to call me Thursday or Friday at the number on the GPN website linked below.

Mark
__________________
1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
President: Global Patient Network, Inc.
Founder: www.iSpine.org
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Old 04-13-2012, 06:16 PM
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Hi MMglobal
Here's the axial slice the corresponds to the herniation
http://img542.imageshack.us/img542/9568/mri0004.jpg

My left leg scored about a 1/5 before the surgery doing the routine strenght tests. Trying to lift the knee and bring the ankle foward sitting down. I couldn't move it even without resistance. My right leg was a little stonger.

The diagnostic was a herniation affecting the left side. Right now dorsiflexion is impossible with the left foot and I can't bring my leg foward standing up. My right leg is getting weaker. My surgeon has more that 30 years of experience.
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Old 04-13-2012, 10:36 PM
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mstikes, the image you posted is Oct 2011.

>> When was your discectomy?

>> What was the recovery from the discectomy like? How did it change your symptoms?

>> When was onset of the increasing symptoms? Strength loss?

The advancing neurologic deficits deserve some serious attention.

Mark
__________________
1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
President: Global Patient Network, Inc.
Founder: www.iSpine.org
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Old 04-14-2012, 04:17 AM
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My disctectomy was a week ago (March 30th) and my left leg was already very weak (2/5) weeks before the surgery. It hasn't improved yet and I walk very slowly with a cane although the sciatica pain is gone. I also noticed calf and thigh atrophy that started about a month prior to the surgery.
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L4/L5 discectomy 2012

Last edited by mstikes; 04-14-2012 at 04:21 AM.
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Old 05-07-2012, 11:46 PM
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i'm now 5 weeks post discectomy on L4/L5 and both of my legs are extremely weak. My right leg has continued to weaken and is now as weak as my left one. I'm barely able to walk even with a cane. Dorsiflexion is now impossible on both feet. I was wondering if it can be considered like partial paralysis ?
I dont have loss of sensory feeling. I haven't been able to find much information about this kind of leg paralysis or extreme weakness from lumbar herniation.

I have atrophy in my left leg and my calf feels like jelly. This had started before surgery but has continued afterwards and I'm starting to have the same problems in my right leg although it's still bigger in size than my left one. I don't have numbness or a tingling sensation. It's just that my legs are so weak that I can't do basic movement like kicking my calf foward or foot dorsiflexion. I haven't found alot of threads of people experiencing such severe weakness after a discectomy to relieve a large L4 herniation
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