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Microdiscectomy is surgery to remove part or all of a bulging or damaged (herniated) disc in the lower spine. The disc may press on the spinal nerves and cause pain and numbness in the buttock and leg.
Your doctor made a 2.5- to 5-centimetre (1- to 2-inch) cut (incision) in the skin over the spine. The doctor put surgical tools through the incision and then used a special microscope (scope) to view the area.
You can expect your back to feel stiff or sore after surgery. This should improve in the weeks after surgery. You may have relief from your symptoms right away, or you may get better over days or weeks. In the weeks after your surgery, it may be hard to sit or stand in one position for very long. You may need pain medicine. It may take up to 8 weeks to get back to doing your usual activities.
Your doctor may advise you to work with a physiotherapist to strengthen the muscles around your spine and trunk. You will need to learn how to lift, twist, and bend so you don't put too much strain on your back.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: March 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Davide Bardana MD, FRCSC - Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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