Back surgery for trapped nerve release


Spinal surgery for pinched nerves

A procedure to release a nerve in your spine that has been physically compressed


When a nerve in your spine is physically compressed it is called a 'trapped' or 'pinched' nerve. You may need back surgery to release it. A trapped nerve can happen in different areas of your back for several different reasons, causing you to experience pain in various regions.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    There are several types of surgery available. Your surgeon will talk to you about which is most appropriate.

    Options include:
    - Microdiscectomy, where your surgeon makes a small incision in your back, allowing them to shave some of the disc away that is pressing on nearby nerves

    - Percutaneous endoscopic laser discectomy, which is a type of 'keyhole' surgery using a laser to remove a fragment of a slipped disc

    - Laminectomy, where some of the lamina (a bony arch at the back of each vertebra) is removed in your spine to make more room for the nerves

    - Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, where a slipped disc is removed entirely to remove pressure from the pinched nerve

  • How to prepare icon plus

    Before your operation, your consultant will let you know what to expect and how to prepare. Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you and answer any questions you may have.

    Because you'll be having general anaesthetic, your consultant will let you know how long you'll need to avoid eating and drinking before the procedure. If you’re having an endoscopic (keyhole) procedure, you will usually be treated as a day case.

  • Afterwards icon plus

    Your recovery time will vary depending on the type of surgery you've had. Recovery is usually faster following keyhole surgery or microdiscectomy compared with open surgery.

    Following keyhole surgery, some people are able to return to work after one or two weeks. For others it may take up to six weeks or more. Your consultant will let you know what to expect. They may also recommend physiotherapy or exercises to help with your recovery.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.

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