This surgical procedure is performed to remove the damage from a herniated disc in the spine and relieve pressure on the spinal nerve.


This surgical procedure is performed to remove the damage from a herniated disc in the spine and relieve pressure on the spinal nerve. 

Diskectomy is effective in treating pain in the arms and legs. Patients with back or neck pain caused by herniated discs generally go for treatments that do not involve a surgical procedure, such as physical therapy. Your doctor may suggest a diskectomy if symptoms and pain worsen, and more conservative treatments have not worked. Today, surgeons prefer to perform minimally invasive discectomy, in which small incisions are made, and a tiny video camera is used to view the procedure.

Before the procedure

The Neurosurgeon will give specific instructions prior to the procedure. Some of the preparations can be:

  • Avoiding some medications such as anticoagulants or supplements that increase the risk of bleeding

  • Avoiding solid foods for at least eight hours before surgery

  • Making sure someone drives back at the end of your surgery

  • Wearing comfortable clothing to easily dress after surgery

The specialty that discectomy treats is Neurosurgery.

During the procedure

General anesthesia is applied in this procedure, so the patient is unconscious during the surgery. The surgeon may remove small amounts of bone from the vertebrae to gain access to the herniated disc. 

Usually, only the disc fragment compressing the nerve is removed to relieve pressure, leaving most of the disc intact. In case the disc has to be removed entirely, the surgeon can fill the space with a piece of bone. The bone can come from the same patient's pelvis, from a deceased donor, or replaced with synthetic bone. Subsequently, the vertebrae are joined with metal pieces.

After the procedure

When the surgery is complete, the patient will be transferred to a recovery room where the medical team will also assess whether the patient is in optimal shape to discharge the same day or stay in the hospital for longer. 

Depending on the level of physical activity, the patient will be able to return to normal activities within two to six weeks after a recovery period.

¿Am I a candidate for this procedure?

This procedure is performed to relieve pressure from a herniated disc on a nerve in the spine. A herniated disc occurs when a portion of a vertebral disc in the spine or the entire disc is forced through a weakened part of the disc, causing pressure on the spinal nerves. This can result in pain, numbness, or weakness.

Your Neurosurgeon may suggest a discectomy if you have problems standing or walking as a result of weak nerves. Also, if other treatments such as physical therapy or steroid injections have not been successful, or if the pain in the buttocks, legs, arms, or thorax is not easily controlled.

Make your appointment with your specialist in Neurosurgery if you present any of the conditions above or to detect other abnormal symptoms.

When consulting your doctor, try to record your pain with a detailed description of the symptoms, duration, and what you think triggered them. Also, mention any medications you are taking.