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Lumbar Discectomy: Preparation Surgery & Recovery

If you’re living with chronic back pain, a lumbar discectomy surgery might just be the key to unlocking a life of relief and freedom. 

Gain the knowledge and insight you need to make an informed decision about lumbar discectomy surgery. Read on to learn more.

Lumbar discectomy is a surgical procedure that involves removing a herniated or degenerative disc in the lower spine. The incision is made through the back muscles to eliminate the disc that is putting pressure on the nerve.

When physical therapy and medication fail to relieve leg or back pain, or if you have symptoms of nerve damage such as weakness in your legs, a discectomy may be recommended. Both open and minimally invasive procedures may be performed. 

What is Lumbar Discectomy?

lumbar discectomy

Discectomy, derived from the Latin term “cutting out the disc,” is a surgical procedure that can be carried out at various spinal locations, ranging from the cervical (neck) to the lumbar (lower back) region.

The surgeon accesses the affected disc from the posterior (back) of the spine, navigating through muscles and bone. This approach allows for the removal of the damaged disc while preserving the intended meaning.

To access the disc, the surgeon removes a section of the lamina, which is the bone that forms the posterior part of the spinal canal and acts as a protective roof over the spinal cord. Subsequently, the spinal nerve is gently moved aside. Depending on your specific situation, the surgeon may remove one disc (single-level) or multiple discs (multi-level).

What Are The Symptoms of Lumbar Disk Compression?

The symptoms of lumbar disk compression can range from mild to severe, depending on the extent of nerve compression.

Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Pain in the lower back or leg radiates down into the lower limbs and can become worse when sitting down. 
  • You may also experience muscle weakness, 
  • Numbness, 
  • Tingling sensations, or 
  • A feeling of heaviness in the legs. 

Diagnosis of Lumbar Discectomy

If your doctor suspects you have a herniated disc, he or she will take a medical history and perform a physical exam. This will help them identify any sources of discomfort and their severity. 

The doctor may also order additional imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI scans, or CT scans to confirm the diagnosis. Your doctor can use these tests to determine the best course of treatment based on the results.

What Are The Alternatives to Lumbar Discectomy?

There are numerous non-surgical interventions (or minimally invasive surgical interventions) available to alleviate back symptoms. 

These include:

  • A pain management program, 
  • Neurotomy, 
  • Spinal cord stimulator, 
  • Intrathecal pain pump, and more. 

Discover further information about these non-surgical interventions with Medicoexpert. 

At MedicoExperts, we provide you with comprehensive information about lumbar discectomy surgery and other treatments for lower back pain so that you can make an informed decision. 

Before considering lumbar discectomy surgery, your doctor may recommend that you try more conservative treatments. 

Common non-surgical treatments include:

Physical therapy: 

A physical therapist can help teach you exercises to strengthen and stretch your back muscles, which can help reduce pain and improve your overall functioning. 


Pain and inflammation can be reduced with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Your doctor may also prescribe an opioid medication if other treatments fail to improve your pain.

Epidural steroid injections: 

An epidural injection of corticosteroid medications may be recommended to reduce swelling and relieve the pressure on the spinal nerve. 

Therapeutic massage:

Massage can help relax tight and overworked muscles to alleviate pain. 

When is lumbar discectomy recommended?

If non-surgical treatments fail to improve your condition, your doctor may recommend lumbar discectomy surgery. The goal of the procedure is to reduce nerve compression and alleviate symptoms such as pain and numbness. 

  • The surgeon will make an incision in the back and use a microscope or magnifying lens to locate and remove the affected disc. 
  • Once the disc is removed, the surgeon may insert a bone graft to fill the space and help stabilize the spine. 
  • They may also use metal hardware such as screws or plates to further secure the spine in place. 
  • The incision will then be closed with sutures or staples and covered with tape or a dressing. 
  • The entire procedure usually takes between one and two hours to complete depending on the extent of the operation. 

Recovery After Lumbar Discectomy Surgery

Recovery times vary from person to person. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions for a full and successful recovery. 

The first few days after the surgery you may experience pain, swelling, stiffness, and numbness in the area around the incision. Your doctor will recommend medications to help control any discomfort. 

Your doctor may also recommend physical therapy to help regain strength and range of motion after the surgery.

It is important to be patient with your recovery and not push yourself too hard. Over-exertion can cause strain on your back, leading to further complications and pain. 

Depending on your individual situation, lumbar discectomy surgery may offer you relief from chronic lower back pain and help you return to your normal activities. 

The total recovery time for this procedure is approximately 6-8 weeks, although some patients may recover sooner than others. It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions regarding physical activity after surgery and take adequate rest to ensure a full recovery. 

What Are The Risks and Complications of Lumbar Discectomy?

Although lumbar discectomy is generally considered to be a safe procedure, there are some risks and potential complications associated with the surgery. 

Common risks include: 

  • Bleeding, 
  • Infection, 
  • Damage to nerves or tissue, and 
  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia. 

Additionally, there is a small risk of recurrence, which means that the disc may herniate again after surgery. In some cases, further surgery may be required to correct any recurrence. 

What Are The Success Rates and Patient Stories of Lumbar Discectomy?

Out of the 101 patients who underwent primary procedures, approximately 28% still experienced significant back or leg pain. When it came to satisfaction with the results, the majority of patients, around 65%, expressed high levels of satisfaction. 

Another 29% reported being satisfied, while around 6% expressed dissatisfaction. The reoperation rate stood at 7.3% (8 patients), with approximately one-third of these cases attributed to recurrent disc herniation.

What Is The Lumbar Discectomy Cost in India? 

The cost of lumbar discectomy in India can vary depending on the extent of the procedure and the hospital or clinic where it is performed. 

On average, you can expect to pay anywhere between 235,000 INR – 263,200 INR in India. 

It is important to note that the cost of the procedure may also include additional charges such as pre-operative tests, hospital stays, and post-operative medications. 

Your insurance company may cover some or all of these costs depending on your plan and policy type. It is always best to check with your insurer before undergoing any medical procedure. 

Empowering Your Decision with Second Opinion and Choosing the Right Care for Lumbar Discectomy

It is important to understand the risks, success rates, and costs of lumbar discectomy before undergoing the procedure. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion from another qualified healthcare provider if you have any doubts or questions about your treatment options. 

At MedicoExperts, we provide the opportunity to obtain a free second opinion from one of our expert physicians. Our second opinion service offers you the opportunity to discuss your individual medical condition and treatment options with an experienced doctor, enabling you to make a more informed decision about the best way forward for your health and well-being. 

Not only is MedicoExperts, dedicated to providing you with the best healthcare advice, but we are also committed to helping you find the right doctors and hospitals in India. Our comprehensive directory of doctor profiles ensures that you can make an informed decision about who to choose for your lumbar discectomy procedure. 

Final Thoughts 

Lumbar discectomy is a common procedure used to treat lower back pain caused by a herniated disc. It can offer relief from chronic pain and help you get back to your normal activities. 

Notably, individuals engaged in heavy manual labor, particularly in agricultural settings, and those with lower levels of education demonstrated a higher likelihood of an unfavourable long-term outcome. These indicators should be considered prior to surgery to identify patients who are at a heightened risk of unsatisfactory long-term results. 

It is important to discuss all potential risks and benefits of lumbar discectomy with a qualified doctor before undergoing the procedure. Additionally, getting a second opinion from an experienced physician can help you make an informed decision about your treatment options for lower back pain. 

The team at MedicoExperts is available 24/7 and provides quick online response times, so you won’t have to wait long. 

Get the answers you need by scheduling an appointment with us today!


Q1. Is lumbar spine surgery safe?

A. Like any surgical procedure, lumbar decompression surgery carries a small risk of mortality, although this occurrence is rare. Life-threatening complications such as blood clots, adverse reactions to anesthesia, and excessive bleeding can potentially arise.

Q2. Does lumbar disc surgery work?

A. The success of a lumbar discectomy depends on many variables including the patient’s age, overall health condition, activity levels, and the extent of the herniated disc. Generally, lumbar discectomy is an effective procedure for relieving back pain caused by a herniated disc. It is important to note, however, that results may vary from patient to patient.

Q3. How long does it take to recover after a lumbar discectomy?

A. Most patients report a significant decrease in pain and an increased range of motion after lumbar discectomy. The total recovery time for this procedure is approximately 6-8 weeks, although some patients may recover sooner than others. It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions regarding physical activity after surgery and take adequate rest to ensure a full recovery. 

Q4. Is rehab necessary after lumbar discectomy?

A. Yes, rehabilitation is an important part of the recovery process after a lumbar discectomy. Physical therapy helps to strengthen the abdominal and core muscles in order to decrease stress on the spine and promote healing. Additionally, physical therapy can help you regain mobility lost during the surgery and increase the range of motion in the lower back.

Author: MedicoExperts

A Global Virtual Hospital

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