Questions to ask your doctor before L5 herniated nucleus pulposus surgery

Herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP) is another term for a herniated disc. If you have been diagnosed with HNP in the L5 vertebral segment, it means that you have a herniated disc between the fourth (L4) and fifth (L5) vertebrae in your lumbar (lower) spine. Since this area of the spine supports much of the upper body’s weight, a lot of stress is placed on the rubbery discs that cushion the vertebrae and allow you to move. As you age, these discs begin to lose their water and protein content and, in turn, lose their elasticity. This can cause the disc to herniate (tear open) and allow the core of the disc — the nucleus pulposus — to push out into the spinal column, leading to symptoms that include lower back pain, numbness or tingling and muscle weakness.

If you have tried conservative treatments to no avail and are opting to have lumbar herniated nucleus pulposus surgery, there are a few questions you should ask your doctor beforehand, including:

  1. What is the natural course of my condition if it’s not surgically addressed?
  2. What are the typical outcomes of this kind of surgery?
  3. How long will the surgery take?
  4. What are the infection and/or complication rates of this kind of surgery?
  5. What are the satisfaction rates of this surgery?
  6. How long will I miss work or school?

At Laser Spine Institute, we perform minimally invasive surgeries that require a less than 1-inch incision and utilize muscle-sparing techniques, thus making our procedures a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^ We offer an initial consultation, as well as a free MRI review,* to determine if you are a good candidate for the minimally invasive procedures we perform. Contact us today for more information.

Browse Related Resources