i have searched the site but can;t really find anyone ask this type of question; which is pretty simple i think.
A few weeks ago I had an MRI which confirmed I have herniated my L5 S1 disc for the 3rd time (1st herniation: Summer 2008/ microdisectomy Oct. 2008; 2nd herniation: May 2012/ Microdisectomy June 2012; 3rd herniation: March 2013; surgery TBD).
My neurosurgeon has recommended a Fusion, but I was wondering if the pain/numbness/weakness gets better and i decide I do not want the fusion do I run the risk of causing more damage and risk long-term/perminent damage if I do not do the surgery now even if it gets better?
I know that after the same disc has herniated 3 times it is deemed useless (incompetent is the word my surgeon used), but if the pain goes away (which it has not) and I choose to not to do the surgery is it possible that if the disc herniates a 4th time it could be more serious and cause problems with my spine or would I just be in the same situation I am in now and would need the surgery then?
Hope this has not been posted, I am not sure exactly how to search for such a complicated/wordy question.
The reason that fusion surgery is recommended after the third herniation at the same level is that the nerve cannot be “battered” by these repeated herniations without some permanent damage. Also, a disc that has herniated three times has a much higher chance of a fourth herniation. Battered nerves generally do not recover and the fusion is designed to prevent this damage.