In patients such as yourself, who have had more than one herniated disc at the same level, and have had multiple surgeries to try and correct this, the next step is to perform a somewhat more involved procedure called a fusion. It is unclear why some patients develop recurrent herniated discs, although it is believed that there is continued motion at that level and for reasons that are beyond the scope of this discussion, the disc continues to herniate, leaving you with the nerve pains (also known as radicular pains) that you are experiencing. The fusion procedure involves placing screws and rods into the bones of your spine at that level, and placing bone along the edges of the spine. In the long run, the bone will eventually fuse and the motion that you are experiencing at this level should cease. When the motion ceases, it is expected that the disc will stop herniating. Some of the main risks of this procedure include spinal fluid leakage, nerve damage, infections, and bleeding, amongst a host of other risks. It is best to discuss this with your spine surgeon
and orthopedic surgeons
perform this most commonly) for more information and further work up.