Lumbar Discectomy Recovery

Orthopedic surgeon Aron Rovner performs minimally invasive lumbar discectomy surgery to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms associated with a herniated (slipped) disc in the lower spine. Because it is a type of minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS), the procedure results in a faster recovery than surgery that uses a standard incision. Dr. Rovner may advise a two- to eight-week period of rest after surgery. However, most patients can expect to return to non-strenuous activity almost immediately. Exercise is a very important aspect of healing and recovery. Thanks to his advanced techniques and experience, you can expect a relatively fast lumbar discectomy recovery following treatment at Dr. Rover's New York, NY-area practice.

Postoperative Care

Minimally invasive lumbar discectomy is typically performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia. Before you go home, you will receive instructions on the proper techniques for getting in and out of bed and walking independently. Postoperative discomfort can be managed with prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and pain relievers. The discomfort should subside in about one to two weeks, and Dr. Rovner will determine when you can switch to over-the-counter pain relievers. Ice packs and cold packs can also help alleviate discomfort.

Thanks to his advanced techniques and experience, you can expect a relatively fast lumbar discectomy recovery following treatment by Dr. Rover.

Full healing may take three to four months. Because the disc covering does not receive a good blood supply, it takes longer for scar tissue to form. However, patients are encouraged to move around during this time, as the traditional approach of restricting activity for six weeks after surgery has not been shown to prevent a recurrent lumbar disc herniation. Dr. Rovner will give you specific instructions depending on your lifestyle and type of work, but patients generally return to normal activities as soon as they feel better (as early as one to two weeks after surgery). For the first two to four weeks, however, avoid bending or twisting at the waist and lifting more than five pounds. Patients should also avoid sitting for longer than 15 or 20 minutes at a time.

The Importance of Exercise for Successful Recovery

The preoperative pain that patients with a slipped disc experience tends to cause limited motion, which itself exacerbates pain. It is now thought that early mobilization and exercise can help patients heal faster and feel better sooner. In addition to moving around and resuming normal daily activity, a program of appropriate stretching, strengthening, and conditioning may help relieve pain in the back and legs associated with the secondary soft tissue component. For the first three months, patients should aim for approximately 15 minutes of stretching and strengthening exercise per day. Walking can be ideal for overall conditioning, because it is very gentle on the back. Patients are typically advised to start with short distances and work up to a few miles a day. Back strengthening exercises should begin about two to three weeks after surgery, when the soft tissue has healed. There are many different kinds of exercises that can have a positive effect, so you can choose ones that work for you.

Learn More

During a personal consultation, Dr. Rovner can explain your treatment options and help you understand your recovery timeline. To schedule an appointment, please contact us today.