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Lumbar Microdiscectomy Risks and Success Rate in Portland, Oregon

What Are the Risks of Lumbar Microdiscectomy?

The most common complications is re-herniation of the disc. There is about a 10% chance of disc re-herniation, with or without surgery, in the first five years after discectomy. The chances are highest in the first two months after surgery. Spinal fluid leaks occur in about 1-2% of patients who have never had prior surgery and up to 10% of patients who have had prior surgery. Spinal fluid leaks are repaired but can require hospitalization and bed-rest to allow time to heal.

Nerve injury resulting in weakness in part of the leg or foot occurs in less than 0.5% of cases. Infection occurs in about 1% of cases. Wrong level surgery can occur but chances of this are minimized by Dr. Button’s use of live x-ray during the surgery to locate the proper disc.

What is the Chance of a Successful Outcome from Lumbar Microdiscectomy?

A lumbar microdiscectomy is about 90% successful in relieving pain in the buttocks and leg. Pain relief is typically quite rapid, although in specific instances, it may take six to eight weeks for the nerve to calm down. If a nerve has been pinched for a long time, the success rate is rarely 100% as there is usually some residual mild tingling, weakness, or pain, all of which are fairly tolerable.

When Should You Have Surgery?

Our overall advice for this type of surgery is the same for any other spine surgery, which is to live with the pain you are experiencing if you can. The reason for undergoing the operation is that the pain or weakness is making life very uncomfortable and is not improving.

Dr. Button is very experienced in lumbar microdiscectomy and if you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss this or other procedures further, click here.

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