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What’s the Usual Recovery Period after a Microdiscectomy?


You’ll need to give yourself sufficient time to heal and recover following any type of spine surgery. If a discectomy is the procedure you're considering now or planning to have done in the near future, be aware that recovery time will vary from one patient to the next. Below, we give you a better idea of what to expect by going over what's considered average or typical when recovering from a discectomy.

Typical Time for Recovery

Usually, it takes about a month or so to recover from spinal disc surgery, especially if the entire disc isn’t removed. During the first few weeks following a
microdiscectomy, you'll be largely relegated to lighter activities and less strenuous movements. This is also when you'll start your physical therapy routine, which usually includes therapeutic exercises. After 6–8 weeks post-surgery, most patients are able to get back to their regular routines.

Minimally Invasive Discectomies

The way a microdiscectomy is performed also plays a role in what you can expect with recovery time. If minimally invasive techniques are used, patients may recover faster. In some cases, this may mean getting back to most of your regular activities a few weeks after surgery. However, the general recommendation, even with a minimally invasive discectomy, is to wait for about a month or so before getting back to your full range of activities and routines.

Patient-Specific Factors

There are some patient-specific factors that also play a role in determining the duration of discectomy recovery time. In addition to the type of microdiscectomy you had, these include:

• How well you follow post-surgery guidelines
• How you respond to physical therapy
• Whether or not you have underlying health conditions like diabetes that could affect healing and recovery

Slow & Steady Recovery

The overall success rate for discectomies is around 90 to 95 percent, according to
MedicineNet. It's also a procedure patients are more likely to recover from faster than what's common with more complicated spine surgeries like fusions. With any type of discectomy, it's important to slowly and steadily ease back into your typical activities and daily routines. A good rule of thumb is to start with lighter tasks first before doing anything that could place more stress on your spine and its discs. Further increase your odds of enjoying a productive discectomy recovery by:

• Avoiding heavy lifting, excessive bending, and other spine-stressing movements
• Getting doctor approval before going back to a more strenuous job
• Communicating with your physical therapist so recommendations can be tailored to your needs and abilities

Back surgery recovery time varies among individuals and depends on factors such as whether the patient has a large hole in the outer ring of the disc after surgery. If the hole in the disc is larger than a standard pencil eraser, the patient is more than twice as likely to reherniate after surgery. These reherniations often require additional surgery or even a larger spinal fusion operation. Barricaid is a bone-anchored device shown to reduce the risk of reherniation by closing the hole in the disc after a discectomy, and 95 percent of Barricaid patients didn’t undergo a reoperation due to reherniation in a 2-year study timeframe. This treatment is done immediately following the discectomy—during the same operation—and doesn’t require any additional incisions or time in the hospital. 

If you have any questions about the Barricaid treatment or how to get access to Barricaid, you may ask your doctor or contact us at 844-288-7474.

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