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Know Your Options for Discectomy


Discectomy is back surgery to remove of all or part of a spinal disc. This soft tissue creates a cushion between the bones of the spine (vertebrae). 

Back surgery is performed at all four of our Bay Area hospitals — Saint Francis Memorial Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco, Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, and Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz. It allows for back surgeries with fewer complications and revisions and more rapid recoveries.

Use our Find a Doctor tool to locate a nationally recognized spine surgeon for discectomy in the Bay Area.

When is Discectomy Used to Treat Back Pain?

Doctors use discectomy to remove ruptured, degenerated, or herniated discs that are causing:

  • Back or leg pain, numbness, or weakness that does not improve with other treatments within six weeks 
  • Inability to control your bladder or bowels due to nerve damage or compression
  • Problems with performing daily tasks, such as walking

What to Expect During Microdiscectomy & Disc Removal Surgery

Your discectomy will take place in a Dignity Health surgery center or hospital. Your specific procedure will determine whether you have general or spinal anesthesia.

Traditional discectomy is an open surgery that requires a two- to four-inch incision down your back. Talk to your doctor about whether a microdiscectomy is an option for you. This minimally invasive procedure may result in a smaller incision, less pain, faster recovery, and fewer complications.

Recovering After Discectomy in the Bay Area

 Your recovery starts by spending a few days in a Dignity Health hospital. Full recovery can take up to eight weeks. You may need extra recovery time before returning to a job that requires heavy lifting or operating heavy machinery that vibrates, such as a jackhammer.

Ask your doctor how physical therapy can help you recover and prevent future back pain. We offer physical therapy and rehabilitation services at all four of our Bay Area hospitals.

Call 888.653.1839 for referral to see a Dignity Health doctor about your options for back surgeries like discectomy.

Dignity Health surgeons perform minimally invasive and traditional discectomy in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.