“Is it possible the tissue is still inflamed/healing? Or is it possible I have another bulge?” Yes and yes. You might try an oral steroid first to knock back any inflammation and possibly obtain relief. If that doesn’t yield relief, a new MRI with gadolinium would be helpful. If your symptoms are not tolerable and you need further surgical work on L5-S1, a fusion along with a decompression would be advised.
Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain. Trained as both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.