Diskectomy is surgery to remove all or part of the cushion that helps protect and support your spinal column. These cushions are called disks and they separate your spinal bones (vertebrae).

There are several types of diskectomy surgeries:

  • Microdiskectomy is most often performed if the surgeon does not need to do much surgery on the bones, joints, ligaments or muscles of your spine.
  • Diskectomy in the lower part of your back (lumbar spine) may be part of a larger surgery that includes a laminectomy, foraminotomy, or spinal fusion.
  • Diskectomy in your neck (cervical spine) is most often done along with laminectomy, foraminotomy or spinal fusion.

A diskectomy is most often used to relieve pain and pressure caused by a herniated, or slipped, disc or spinal stenosis.

While non-operative treatments may help, you may need surgery if you have pain, numbness or severe muscle weakness in your lower legs.

Diskectomy: What to Expect

Before Surgery

Before your procedure you will have imaging tests done to confirm your diagnosis.

Be sure to prepare your home for when you return from the hospital to help ease your recovery. You will probably have an appointment at the preoperative assessment clinic.

During Surgery

A diskectomy is usually performed in a hospital setting under general anesthesia. A microdiskectomy may be done in an outpatient setting and you may receive only spinal anesthesia to numb your spine area.

After Surgery

If your procedure is performed in a hospital setting, you should be able to go home after 1 to 3 days. You will likely be encouraged to get up and walk as soon as the anesthesia wears off to aid in your recovery.

Your provider will give you instructions for how to care for your back in the days and weeks following surgery.