Lumbar Discectomy

What to expect after surgery

  • Your muscles were cut and manipulated during surgery. Expect some mild to moderate soreness. Hot showers and use of muscle relaxers will help with this, and it should improve significantly over the first 7-10 days.

  • This will be outpatient surgery. You will go home the same day unless there is a complication.

  • Your follow up visit will be in 3-4 weeks. If you have questions in the meantime, feel free to call the office at 706-475-1870.

  • You will be given pain medication and muscle relaxers after surgery. Use them as prescribed. If your pain is not controlled, call the office. Do not change the dose of schedule of your medications without speaking with us. Usually patients only require narcotics for 1-2 weeks after surgery. As your pain improves you may transition to over the counter medications.

  • Narcotics and muscle relaxers cause constipation. Increase the fiber in your diet, drink plenty of water, and use OTC stool softeners as needed. Stay active with walking or other gentle activity.

  • You may still have some numbness and pain in the legs after surgery. This should get better with time. It can take months for the nerves to heal completely.

  • Some patients with sedentary jobs may go back to work after 1-2 weeks. If your job is not sedentary, you may be out until your follow up visit. If your job is heavier you may be out longer. Some patients may require physical therapy before returning to the workplace.

  • You will have skin glue on your incision. Keep it clean with showering at least daily. Do not apply any ointments or lotions to this region. There may be some swelling in your incision. This can be normal but call the office if you are worried.

Restrictions after surgery

  • Do not lift anything over 5-10 pounds for the first 3-4 weeks after surgery. Limit bending and twisting during this time.

  • Do not drive for the first few days after surgery or while you are still on narcotic or muscle relaxing medications. At first you will want to limit your trips to short, local trips.

  • Do not do any exercise the first 3-4 weeks except for walking. At your post op visit you will be given instructions about transitioning back to your normal activities.

  • Do not get in the bathtub or a swimming pool until your incision is completely healed.

When to call the office

  • Please call the office during normal business hours 8 am-4 pm for prescription medication. Narcotics require written prescriptions, so you should call 2-3 days before you are completely out. Medications will not be called in after hours.

  • Call for any temperature over 101.5, increased incisional swelling, redness or increased pain. We may need to see you in the office.