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Discectomy is back surgery to remove all or part of a spinal disc. This soft tissue creates a cushion between the bones of the spine (vertebrae).
Minimally invasive back surgeries offer fewer complications and revisions, and more rapid recoveries.
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 Percutaneous Discectomy & 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 2- to 4-inch incision down your back. Talk to your doctor about whether a percutaneous discectomy 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
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.