Four questions that you should ask before agreeing to herniated disc surgery

If you’re considering herniated disc surgery, or your physician has recommended it to you, take some time to think about the questions that you need answered before deciding whether to have the operation. Although your physician should provide you with information about potential procedures, it’s up to you to gather enough information about each of his or her recommendations to feel comfortable making an informed decision about your health care. When visiting your physician to talk about surgery, be sure to touch on anything that concerns you or needs clarification.

Question No. 1: What is the general approach being used?

Although there are many specific procedures used to address a herniated disc, surgery can be divided into two main categories: traditional, open spine surgery and minimally invasive surgery. Talk to your physician to see the specific options available in your case.

Question No. 2: What kind of potential complications should I be aware of?

Any type of surgery runs the risk of infection and other complications. You can discuss what kinds of complications may arise, as well as how commonly they occur in patients having the same kind of herniated disc surgery.

Question No. 3: What kind of recovery can I expect after surgery? How long should I take off from work?

Although this question may be better reserved for your surgeon, your physician may be able to give you an idea about your recovery expectations, including potential restrictions on performing certain activities like driving or lifting heavy objects. Because these sorts of restrictions can also influence when you can return to work following surgery, they are important to take into account. You won’t have an exact answer until you actually live through it — recovery from surgery is impossible to accurately predict in advance — but having a ballpark figure can be useful.

Question No. 4: How successful is this particular procedure for people with my condition?

Asking your physician or your surgeon about the results seen in people with your specific condition can help you gauge how many people saw symptom relief, returned to work within a few months, and so on. If there are several herniated disc surgery options from which to choose, this information may be the deciding factor.

Laser Spine Institute performs minimally invasive spine surgery that is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^ If you’d like to learn about the outpatient herniated disc surgery that we perform, contact us today.

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