Lumbar discectomy

Surgery for problems in the lower SpINe

HCA UK experts carry out surgery on your lower spine using minimally invasive surgery.

Why is a lumbar discectomy performed?

Lumbar discectomy surgery is performed to treat ‘pinched’ nerves in the lumbar region of the spine by removing a small portion of the bone covering the nerve root and sometimes some of the disc material as well.

The surgery aims to alleviate symptoms such as pain and numbness. 

Need to know

  • What happens during surgery? icon plus

    You'll be asleep during lumbar decompression surgery, which takes about 1-2 hours to perform. If surgery is recommended, you'll usually have at least one of the following procedures through a midline skin incision in the lower back.

    If surgery is recommended, you'll usually have at least one of the following procedures:

    • Laminectomy – where a section of bone is removed from the back of your vertebrae to relieve pressure on the affected nerve
    • Discectomy – where a section of the slipped disc is removed to relieve pressure on a nerve
    • Spinal fusion – where two or more vertebrae are fused together to stabilise and strengthen the spine.

    These procedures can be done in isolation or combination depending on the clinical judgement of your surgeon.

  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain to you how surgery is performed and you'll get the chance to ask any questions about the procedure. As you'll be given a general anaesthetic you should avoid eating and drinking at least 6 hours before your procedure.

  • After your lumbar decompression icon plus

    On average patients will spend 1-2 nights in hospital. You may need to lie flat for 3-4 hours post procedure due to the effects of the anaesthetic. After this time you should be able to sit up in bed. You may lie on your side if more comfortable. The following day you will be mobilised in the morning with the assistance of a physiotherapist or a nurse. You will be mobilised gently initially and this should be increased daily. Each day post surgery you will be encouraged to undertake more activities for yourself i.e. washing and dressing.

  • Is decompression surgery effective? icon plus

    There is good evidence that in appropriately selected patients decompression surgery is effective for pain relief and improved function.

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020 7079 4344
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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