Lower back pain and sciatica affects nearly everyone at one time or another. The pain can limit your normal work and recreational activities, and it can prevent you from fully enjoying time with friends and family. Pain coming from your spine can limit your ability to sit, stand or walk comfortably.

Symptoms of back pain and sciatica may include:

  • Pain in the middle or to one side of your back
  • Pain in your buttocks
  • Pain, numbness or tingling in your hip, thigh or leg
  • Weakness in one or both legs.

Whenever you feel any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to check in with your doctor to get started on the right treatment for your condition.

There are various treatments for back pain and sciatica, including:

  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Massage
  • Injections
  • Surgery

There are many different types of spinal surgery available to help treat your back pain or sciatica. The goal of any type of spine surgery is to decompress your spinal nerves to relieve your pain and improve your overall mobility.

One specific type of spine surgery that is often used to repair herniated or bulging discs is called microdiscectomy. This surgery is preferred for active people looking to rapidly relieve their pain and return to normal activity, one of the benefits of the procedure.

But what are the risks of microdiscectomy surgery? What are the factors that you should weigh when facing microdiscectomy surgery? By considering microdiscectomy risks, you can make an informed decision about your surgery and have a positive outcome with the procedure.

What is Microdiscectomy Surgery?

Microdiscectomy is a surgical procedure that many New Jersey neurosurgeons perform for people with herniated or bulging discs. When your intervertebral disc pushes out of place and presses on a spinal nerve, the result may include pain, weakness or limited mobility. The surgery is done to decompress your spinal nerves by removing herniated disc material.

Microdiscectomy surgery is performed by making a small incision in your lower back. Your neurosurgeon will then use specialized tools to remove disc material that is pressing against spinal nerves. Once your nerves are decompressed, the incision will be repaired and you will begin the recovery process.

Benefits of the surgery include rapid relief of pain and symptoms, and a quick recovery and full return to previous activities.

Risks of Microdiscectomy Surgery

When considering having back surgery, you must weigh the expected benefits of the procedure with the risks of the surgery. So what are microdiscectomy risks that may limit your outcome with the surgery?

Microdiscectomy risks may include:

  • Failure to relieve your symptoms. Sometimes surgery fails to relieve all of your back pain or sciatic symptoms, and other treatment options may need to be considered after surgery.
  • Disc re-herniation.  This refers to a re-accumlation of disc material in the same area after surgery and often produces a recurrence of symptoms.
  • Nerve irritation or injury. This can produce mild symptoms such as numbness or tingling to more severe symptoms such muscle weakness and pain.
  • Infection. Any surgical procedure opens your body up to infection from bacteria. Sterile surgical procedures minimize this risk, but it cannot be fully eliminated.
  • Dural tear or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak. Your spinal cord is covered by a sheath of tissue called the dura that contains a clear fluid called spinal fluid.  This tissue can be torn during surgery requiring a repair.  If the repair doesnt work, reoperation is sometimes required.

While these risks are small and complications are relatively rare, they must be considered when facing microdiscectomy surgery. Your doctor should explain these risks and offer you alternatives to surgery. Working with a trusted NJ neurosurgeon who can help you understand the risks is a good idea when considering microdiscectomy surgery.

Benefits of Microdiscectomy Surgery

Of course, there are some expected benefits of surgery to compare to the microdiscectomy risks. These benefits include:

  • Rapid relief of pain or tingling and numbness
  • Improved mobility
  • Improved ability to work or enjoy recreational activities

Again, your doctor should explain to you the microdiscectomy risks and benefits so you can make an informed decision to have back surgery or not.

Working with a Top-Rated Neurosurgeon Can Help

When considering any type of back surgery-including microdiscectomy, you should find the best surgeon for your condition. This may take some work, but the value of a trusted neurosurgeon to perform your microdiscectomy cannot be overstressed.

To find a top-rated NJ neurosurgeon, there are a few steps you should take:

  • Ask your family physician for a professional referral
  • Ask friends and family members who may have had surgery
  • Search for positive (or negative) reviews on the internet

The best way to find the right neurosurgeon to do your surgery is to meet with different doctors and ask about microdiscectomy surgery. your doctor should be willing to take time to meet with you and discuss the benefits and risks associated with the procedure. He or she should answer your questions and make you feel at ease when considering your surgery.

When dealing with back pain or sciatica, you may need to consider microdiscectomy surgery as a definitive treatment. Meeting with a trusted NJ neurosurgeon who can explain the microdiscectomy risks and benefits is part of the process when facing surgery. Understanding the risks and benefits associated with microdiscectomy can help you make the best decision about treating your back pain.
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