Frequently asked questions

How long does Lumbar Microdiscectomy surgery take?

Lumbar Microdiscectomy usually takes about 1 hour

How effective is Microdiscectomy?

It is a very effective operation to relieve legpain from a disc herniation.statistics show that 85 to 90 percent of patients who have this surgery feel it was worthwhile. It is, considered the “gold standard” for disc prolapse

Will this surgery affect other spinal discs?

No. Because microdiscectomy does not affect the normal functionof your disc, it has no effect on other disc levels inyour spine.

Why do spinal discs go bad?

Discs are the soft tissue pads between your lumbar vertebrae. They act as a cushion or shock absorber for the bones of your spine. As such, they are subject to extreme mechanical forces. As we age, they begin to wear or deteriorate. They can also be injured. A worn or damaged disc can cause back pain. A disc herniation is simply a piece of disc material that has broken loose and pushed its way into a place it does not belong. If it pushes up against a nerve root, it can cause severe pain.
Once the disc is no longer pressing on the nerves, the pain usually goes away.

What happens if i leave my disc untreated

Pain may persist continuous compression of the nerve root leading to numbness and neurological deficit impaired gait poor balance, bowel bladder and sexual dysfunction, reduce quality of life.

Can i join back the Gym after the Surgery

Once your wound is clean and dry, swimming is excellent exercise for your back. You can return to the gym after 2 weeks for gentle exercise on the treadmill, x-trainer and recumbent bike. Avoid conventional static bikes, steppers and rowers initially because of the amount of flexion required. Avoid heavy weights as well.

Activities that i can do?

Sitting
Initially patient should avoid sitting for a long time not normally more than 30 minutes and gradually increase.

Showering
Try to keep the bandage as dry as possible when showering. Be sure to use a rubber mat in the shower, to prevent slipping.
Getting out of bed It is important to get out of bed as instructed by your physiotherapist (Log Roll). This ensures your back is in the correct position whilst you recover from your surgery..

I’ve had a back surgery - surely I must rest completely?

No, most definitely not! Your back is designed to move and it’s important to get it moving well again as soon as possible. The surgery wound will heal with scar tissue and it is important that the scar tissue is not allowed to become a disorganised tangle of fibres. By stretching and moving you will encourage to scar tissue fibres to ‘line up’ where they are needed

I assume I can’t bend forward?

Why ever not! Your back is designed to bend – it goes further forward than it does in any other direction. However, what you must try and avoid is repeated bending or prolonged bending.

Are there any chances of Recurrence?

The worldwide literature reports a 5% recurrence rate of disc prolapse at the same place at some time in the future despite a technically successful operation. You could suffer a disc prolapse at a different disc in the spine in the future – in the same way that anybody can be prone to this problem.

When will my physiotherapy start?

You will be seen by a physiotherapist prior to your discharge from hospital. They will show you how to get of bed and demonstrate exercises you should do following your surgery. The exercises aim to restore mobility and strengthen your muscles as well as well as increasing your fitness. These exercises should be done at least twice a day. You may experience some discomfort in your back when doing these exercises. This is normal and to be expected.

Mobilising Instructions after Discectomy
  1. Getting up – ‘log roll’ (turn on your side – hips and shoulders move together) to get out of bed as instructed by the Physiotherapist.  Mobilization will usually begin the first day after surgery.
  2. Remember that no two backs are the same and you must not compare yourself to anyone else regarding your own back problem and your own mobilization.
  3. Having your bed at home raised on blocks approximately 20cm (8”) or more will make getting in and out of bed a lot easier.
  4. Pull one knee up at a time in a lying position to avoid straining the spine.
  5. To sit up on the edge of the bed – first get as close to the edge of the bed as possible in a side lying position, then use your upper arm to help push yourself from a lying to a sitting position and at the same time lower your legs over the edge of the bed.
  6. To stand up from a perching position, pull feet close the bed or chair and with your hands supporting you on the bed behind your hips or on the arms of the chair, slide your pelvis forward, extend your knees and stand.
  7. Do not bend forwards, but keep your spine reasonably straight.
  8. Perch / Sit Down – stand with your feet close to the bed or chair.  Reach behind you for support with both hands.  At the same time bend the knees and sit down, ensuring that the hips never bends more than 45°  In the first month to 6 weeks it is preferable to sit in a chair with a high seat with arms to make getting in and out of the chair easier.
    There is no golden rule, recipe of formula as to how much you should or shouldn’t do.  Generally speaking try and sit for short periods of time only.  Gradually lengthen the time, but frequently get up and about and move around.  Don’t’ lie there frightened to move!!  You can do gentle stretching exercises from about 10 days onwards – bend from side to side and backwards.  Avoid forward bending and stopping as in making a bed, vacuuming etc;
How can you help to make the operation a success?

Medication
Let your surgeon and pre-op assessment nurse know if you are on Warfarin, Clopidogrel or Aspirin. These will need to be stopped before surgery and you will be advised on this when you attend the pre-op assessment clinic.

Lifestyle
Being overweight increases the risks of complications from surgery and losing weight will reduce the chances of such complications. There is sound evidence that smoking damages the discs in the spine. This is a good time to stop smoking and doing so several weeks before surgery also reduces your chances of getting complications from the anaesthesia