Microdiscectomy: Pros and Cons

Microdiscectomy: Pros and Cons

Microdiscectomy is a type of surgery performed by a spine surgeon to relieve the pressure off the nerves because of a herniated disc. This helps in providing relief from pain and improves mobility.  If you are considering undergoing a microdiscectomy, you should know both the pros and cons associated with the procedure so that you can make an informed decision. This also leads to better outcomes.

Pros Of A Microdiscectomy

(I) It is a minimally invasive procedure

Microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive surgery. Thus, there are lesser chances of complications such as bleeding and infection after the procedure. Though, they still exist.

(II) Shorter stay at the hospital

Microdiscectomy doesn’t require you to stay in the hospital for a long period of time for recovery, In fact, you can be discharged on the same day. Under certain circumstances, your doctor may ask you to stay overnight.

(III) Fast recovery after microdiscectomy

The recovery period for microdiscectomy is shorter when compared to other more invasive procedures. You can expect to resume your normal activities about 6-8 weeks after the procedure. However, this is only possible if you have followed the post-operative instructions carefully.

(IV) Microdiscectomy is a successful procedure

According to studies, microdiscectomy has been successful in providing leg pain relief to about 80% of patients and relief from back pain to about 77% of patients.

Cons Of Microdiscectomy

No surgery is completely free from complications. The same can be said about microdiscectomy. There are certain risks associated with the procedure that you should know about. The possibility of these risks depends on your overall health and the type of procedure used in the surgery. Some of these risks are:

  • Surgical complications such as infection and bleeding
  • Feeling numb or weak due to a nerve injury
  • Pneumonia
  • Leaking spinal fluid
  • Blood clots
  • Nerve pain
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

Approximately 7-10% of patients who underwent microdiscectomy did not benefit significantly from the surgery. One of the most common complications that patients face after microdiscectomy is reherniation. Due to this, the patient often experiences renewed pain and will have to undergo another surgery.

Asking Questions To Your Doctor

Asking Questions To Your Doctor

Before you go ahead with a microdiscectomy, you should ask certain questions to your doctor. You should fully understand the procedure, the risks, and the benefits it offers. Thus,  you should not hesitate to clear your doubts when it comes to surgery. Some of the questions you can ask your doctor are

  • Is microdiscectomy really necessary or can I wait for some time?
  • If I do not undergo a microdiscectomy, what will be the prognosis of my condition?
  • Are there any alternatives to microdiscectomy?
  • What are the benefits of the procedure?
  • Are there any complications that I should know about?
  • Is there something that I can do to improve the results of the surgery?
  • What are the chances of the surgery succeeding in improving my condition?
  • How long will I have to stay in the hospital?
  • What will be the expense of the surgery?
  •  How quickly can I get back to my work after a microdiscectomy?

Alternatives To Microdiscectomy

Usually, doctors recommend surgery as a last resort when referred pain or back pain has become chronic. However, if you are having doubts about undergoing a microdiscectomy then you can explore alternative treatment options with your doctor. For instance, medications can be prescribed by your doctor to help with your pain. However, these will not treat the underlying cause of your symptoms.  It is possible that your doctor may also refer you to a physical therapist who can help in retaining your mobility and improving your flexibility. There are non-surgical interventions as well that can provide relief from your symptoms such as a neurotomy, intrathecal pain pump, and a pain management program. You should talk to an experienced orthopedic or spine surgeon who can guide you on the best course of action for your condition.
In case of doubt, you can rely on our second opinion service, ThinkTwice. We connect you with a board of medical experts who can provide a second opinion on your unique case that will be delivered to you within 5 days. They will assess your case comprehensively and guide you on the best line of treatment for you.

Avail Microdiscectomy Treatment Across the World


Weighing the pros and cons of any treatment is a wise and important step to ensure that you are pursuing the best course of action for your condition. Though microdiscectomy offers several benefits, it also has certain risks. If for you the benefits of the procedure outweigh the risks, then you should definitely go for a microdiscectomy after discussing it with your doctor. However, if not, then you can explore alternative treatments. Talk to a qualified surgeon to know the best treatment for your condition!

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Reviewed By :- Guneet Bhatia

Urvi Agrawal

Urvi is an avid reader who is passionate about writing. Having worked in hospital settings like AIIMS, She has experience working as a healthcare writer and has written about many healthcare and medical topics. Besides her role as a content specialist, she likes to spend her time cooking, dancing, and painting. She believes that positive thinking is crucial for being happy.

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