Discectomy 101: The Risks and Results

Discectomy 101: The Risks and Results

Discectomy 101: The Risks and Results


Back pain can be debilitating and can disrupt your daily routine. It is estimated that around 80% of adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives. When non-surgical options have failed, a discectomy may be recommended. A discectomy is a surgical procedure that aims to remove all or part of an intervertebral disc that is causing pain or numbness in the back or legs. This procedure can provide relief, but it's important to know the risks and potential outcomes before going into surgery. In this blog post, we'll discuss what a discectomy is, how it's performed, the risks involved, and what to expect in terms of results.


What is a discectomy?

A discectomy is a surgical procedure that removes part or the entire intervertebral disc. The intervertebral disc is located between the vertebrae and acts as a shock absorber. The disc can become damaged over time or due to trauma causing the disc to bulge or herniate. If the disc presses against the spinal cord, it can cause pain, numbness, or weakness in the back or legs. A discectomy aims to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord by removing some or all of the disc.

How is a discectomy performed?

Discectomy can be performed in a few different ways. Your surgeon will determine the best method for you based on the location and severity of your disc herniation. A traditional open discectomy involves making an incision in the back to access the spine. The surgeon will then remove all or some of the disc material. Alternatively, a minimally invasive discectomy can be performed using smaller incisions and specialized instruments. This can lead to less pain and a faster recovery time. Your surgeon will discuss the best approach for you based on your individual needs.

What are the risks of a discectomy?

As with any surgery, there are risks involved with having a discectomy. These include infection, bleeding, nerve damage, and spinal fluid leakage. Additionally, there is a risk of recurrence which means the disc herniation can happen again in the future. It's important to discuss these risks with your surgeon before going into the surgery.

What can I expect after a discectomy?

After a discectomy, it's important to allow yourself time to heal. The length of recovery will depend on the extent of the surgery, but most patients can return to normal activities within a few weeks. However, you may need to avoid certain activities such as heavy lifting or bending for a longer period. Your surgeon will provide specific instructions on how to take care of yourself after surgery. It's also important to note that while most patients experience significant pain relief after a discectomy, it may take months to experience the full benefits of the surgery.



A discectomy is a common surgical procedure used to relieve pain caused by a herniated or damaged disc. While it is generally a safe and effective procedure, it's important to understand the risks involved before going into surgery. If you are experiencing back pain and think you may be a candidate for a discectomy, contact the Central Florida Bone and Joint Institute to schedule an appointment with a reputable orthopedic surgeon in Deland. They will evaluate your condition and determine whether a discectomy is right for you. With the proper care, you can achieve a pain-free back and regain your quality of life.