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Having sharp pain, tingling and numbness in leg. Experienced muscle weakness. Should I go for surgery?

Feb 2014
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Answered by

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 5930 Questions
1.5 yrs ago my back specialist took one look at my X-ray and told me I would eventually need major back surgery - 2 level instrumented spinal fusion, decompression and laminectomy. I tried all the conventional methods he recommended and he told me to come back,in his words, "when the wheels fall off". I think they are. I can no longer sit or stand for more than a minute,walk for long,I have constant sharp pains and dull aching, tingling and numbness in my right leg and recently I experienced muscle weakness in the right leg.i have made an appointment to see him in 3 weeks,but I am scared of what he will tell me. Will I need surgery soon?
Posted Tue, 27 Nov 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta 47 minutes later
Thanks for sharing your concern with us.

You might be suffering from Lumbar spinal stenosis.

Surgery is generally recommended for people who have severe symptoms of pain, numbness, or weakness in the legs that restricts normal daily activities and quality of life. Since the symptoms are already quite bad for you, I think we should be actively considering a surgical option.
We would need to run a few tests like a CT scan or a MRI to find the severity and location of narrowing of the spinal canal. Before making a decision about surgery, discuss the severity of your symptoms and the imaging test results with your doctor
Surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis is done to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or the nerve roots. During surgery, damaged parts of your spine are removed. When successful, surgery enlarges the spinal canal and relieves pressure on the nerves. This can help reduce pain, numbness, and weakness in your legs.

Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any more concerns.

I wish you a speedy recovery....
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having sharp pain, tingling and numbness in leg. Experienced muscle weakness. Should I go for surgery? 8 hours later
Thank you. I knew this I just needed to get confirmation. I do have spine canal stenosis, DDD,herniated discs at L4/5 level and a protruding disc at the same level...I am a smoker of about 15 cigs a day,but he did not ask me if I smoke.after doing a lot of research I know i should quit, but it is so hard especially with all of this going on. What will happen if I have the fusion surgery and I keep smoking? I also have pain when I cough/sneeze......does it sound like I may need surgery quite soon and if so how long are we talking? I turn 40 next XXXXXXX and I am hoping it can wait until after that?
Answered by Dr. Saurabh Gupta 17 hours later
Thanks for writing back.

You do know that you should quit. Since smoking does delay healing as such, it can definitely hamper the entire healing process after the fusion surgery that we are considering for you.
In addition, the widespread effects of tobacco in the body which include predisposing you to heart attacks and cancer need to be considered. I understand that this is indeed a stressful time, but I am sure we could work together to find ways by which you can simply relax without smoking.
Its about making a start. I am sure we can get there somehow.

If your daily activities are not getting hampered to a considerable extent, we can consider delaying the surgery after discussing with your doctor.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if you have any more concerns.

Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.

Wishing you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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