Recovery Time From a Microscopic Discectomy

The length of recovery time from a microscopic discectomy depends on many factors, including the patient’s age and general health prior to surgery. Based on years of medical literature younger, healthy patients tend to heal better in most scenarios. Regardless, most people find with a microscopic discectomy type of surgery that they are able to return to moderate to normal activity after a couple of months.

This surgery does not have a prolonged recovery time as opposed to knee or shoulder surgeries which can require six to twelve months to return to normal physical activity. With these types of procedures, our spine surgeons ordinarily see a shorter period of time.

Dependent on Postoperative Care

The easiest way for the patient to recover quickly is to recover the first time without having to undergo revision surgery or to have any postoperative changes, such as a re-herniation. So it is extremely important to guard against these by paying close attention to the doctors orders for postoperative care. Postoperative care is incredibly important in reducing the recovery period.

Other effects of improper post operative care after surgery include risk of re-herniation of the disc, and risk of infection, as well as the risk of the need for more complicated revision surgery to permanently correct the problem.

Infection can complicate recovery, because it could disturb an area that has already been disturbed by the surgery. Additionally, it would bring pain to an infected site that was already tender. Revision surgery to treat an infection reproduces all of the pain from the initial surgery and the recovery time would start back at zero.

Personal Ability

Additionally, every person’s tolerance is quite different. For example, two patients could be in the same amount of pain and one might rate it at 9 out of 10 on a pain scale, while the other might rate it a 4 out of 10. The one with the greater pain tolerance may be able to return to normal activities sooner than their counterpart with a lower threshold for pain.

Revision Surgery

Infection or revision surgery being required are things doctors worry about with the microscopic discectomy. When it comes to patient selection and determining what is the right surgery for the patient to undergo to fix their problem, a microscopic discectomy is a less invasive procedure than some of the other treatment modalities.

However, if the microscopic discectomy does not make the patient better, they may require a more extensive revision surgery to fix their problem, such as a lumbar fusion or cervical fusion operation, which would take into account removing the disc completely. Sometimes doctors have to put in replacement discs or use metal cages to fuse the bones together.

No question the greatest risk the patient faces is to have a more complicated surgery as a result of failed postoperative care.

If you believe that microscopic discectomy may be the right procedure to alleviate your back pain, contact one of our experienced surgeons today and we can answer any questions you have. We can also address any concerns you may have regarding the recovery period for a microscopic discectomy.