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Microdiscectomy is surgery to remove part or all of a bulging or damaged (herniated) disc in the spine. A herniated disc in the low back (from the first lumbar vertebra to the sacrum) is called a lumbar herniated disc. If it irritates or presses on the spinal nerves, it can cause pain and numbness in the buttock and leg.
Surgery is done to stop the pressure on the nerves. This may help with pain and numbness. And it may help you move better. It will also help prevent further damage. Some people notice that their symptoms improve very soon. But your back may feel stiff and sore for a few weeks.
A doctor or nurse will give you medicine to make you sleep. You will not feel pain during the surgery.
Your doctor makes a 2.5- to 5-centimetre (1- to 2-inch) cut in the skin over the spine. This cut is called an incision. The doctor uses a microscope (scope) and surgical tools to remove a small amount of bone and other tissues around the bulging disc. Then your doctor removes the bulging part of the disc. You will have a small scar on your back. It will fade with time.
You will be asleep for the surgery. You might go home the same day you have surgery. Or you might need to stay in the hospital or surgery centre overnight. If you work in an office, you may go back to work in a week or two. If your job requires physical labour (such as lifting or twisting), you may be able to go back to work in 4 to 8 weeks. Your doctor may also suggest physiotherapy and home exercises.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: November 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Davide Bardana MD, FRCSC - Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine
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