Microdiscectomy is surgery to remove part or all of a bulging (herniated)
disc in the spine. A herniated disc may press on the spinal cord or spinal
nerves. This can cause leg pain and numbness.
Surgery may help the pain and numbness. It may also
improve movement. And it will help prevent more damage.
After surgery, your back may feel
stiff and sore for several weeks.
A doctor or
nurse will give you medicine to make you sleep. You will not feel pain during
The doctor will make a 2.5 to 5 centimetre cut (incision) in
the skin over the spine. He or she will put a special microscope (scope) and
surgical tools through the incision.
The doctor may first remove a small amount of bone
and other tissue from the spine. This helps him or her see the area around the disc. Then the doctor removes the bulging part of the disc. Next, he or
she closes the incision with stitches.
surgery, you will have a small scar on your back. It will fade with
You will probably be able to go home the same day as your surgery.
surgery, you may have less leg pain and numbness. And you may be able to move your leg better. Some people feel better very soon after
surgery. But if you had leg pain or numbness for a long time
before surgery, it may take longer to feel better.
Your back will probably feel stiff and
sore. It may be uncomfortable to sit or stand in
one position for very long. This usually gets better after several weeks. But
your back could be a little stiff for up to 6 months.
Many people are able to go back to work and daily activities soon. If you work in an office, you may go back to work in 2 to 4 weeks. 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.
may recommend that you work with a physiotherapist to make the muscles
around your spine stronger and more flexible. You will need to learn how to
lift, twist, and bend in ways that keep your back safe.
Walking and doing back exercises at home can help you get better faster.
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 call line
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.
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter F943 in the search box to learn more about "Learning About Lumbar Microdiscectomy."
Current as of:
May 23, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma
© 2006-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
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.