Is surgery for neck or back pain necessary? Sometimes. It is reasonable to consider spine surgery if the pain has not diminished after months of non-surgical treatment, if pain does not respond to medication, or if you're unable to complete basic daily activities. Some surgery options are minimally invasive (microdiscectomy for a  herniated disc) and allow for quick recovery, while other types of surgery (a posterolateral fusion for degenerative disc disease) are more extensive.

Lumbar discectomy, both microdiscectomy and endoscopic (percutaneous) discectomy, was the first type of spine surgery to be commonly performed on an outpatient basis.

About 2 to 6 weeks after a lumbar microdiscectomy surgery, patients may return to light daily activities and begin a regular and guided physical therapy program to regain strength in their lower back.

Decompression and spinal fusion are the two most common lumbar spine surgeries for patients with lower back pain and leg pain.

Learn about other lumbar spine surgery options such as artificial disc replacement, motion preservation technologies, vertebral augmentation and multilevel lumbar fusion.

A microdiscectomy is typically performed for a lumbar herniated disc, with a small portion of the bone over the nerve root and/or disc material from under the root removed to relieve neural impingement.

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