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What to Expect if You Experience Reherniation Following a Discectomy


Nearly 85 percent of microdiscectomy patients report good or excellent results. In other words, you're more likely to benefit from this type of surgery if nonsurgical options aren't effective for you. However, there’s the potential to experience issues with the same disc or affected area after your initial recovery period. Today, we're discussing what happens if you reherniate after having a microdiscectomy.

See Your Doctor or Surgeon

The first step to take if you suspect reherniation is to get a professional opinion. This is when tests are typically done to determine if your symptoms are actually due to a reherniated disc. Signs suggesting this may be the case include:

• Numbness and tingling sensations
• Pain returning in the same area beyond the initial healing/recovery period
• Discomfort triggered by certain movements

It's also possible you could have an entirely different spine-related problem or one not actually related to a disc issue. For instance, inflammation in overstressed soft tissues around your lower spine could irritate your
sciatic nerve. You may then experience symptoms similar to what’s common with a herniated disc.

Physical Therapy

If a reherniation after a
microdiscectomy is confirmed, physical therapy may be recommended first. This is more likely to be the case if your symptoms aren't severe or too disruptive. Physical therapy to manage disc-related pain after you've already had surgery may involve:

• Massage-based techniques
• Therapeutic exercises
• Stretching routines
• Posture exercises to ease direct stress on the affected disc

Other Nonsurgical Remedies

In addition to physical therapy, you may be encouraged to explore other nonsurgical options to help with reherniation-related discomfort. One option is the direct injection of steroid medication into the affected area. In this instance, the purpose is to ease pain enough so you can benefit more from physical therapy. Additional nonsurgical remedies that may help you avoid a second surgery include:

• Chiropractic adjustments
• Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, during which energy waves work in harmony with your body's natural magnetic field
• Water-based exercises
• Acupuncture
• A lumbar support brace

A Second Surgery

If a reherniation is causing severe discomfort or you're not responding well to conservative treatments and therapies, a second surgery may be recommended. An additional procedure may also be a minimally invasive discectomy, although other spine-related operations could be recommended. What's appropriate for you will depend on several patient-specific factors. These include:

• How the previously treated disc is now affecting nearby nerves
• The extent and nature of your symptoms
• Whether or not another disc is affected
• How surgery may affect spinal stability

Reducing Reherniation Risk Following a Microdiscectomy

Ideally, it's best to make an effort to avoid reherniation altogether after having a microdiscectomy. Increase your odds of achieving this goal by following the suggestions and recommendations you're given following your initial surgery. It's also helpful to adopt spine-friendly habits like getting more sleep, eating healthy, and finding ways to exercise and stay active.


Although discectomy surgery is generally a very successful procedure, a hole is left in the outer wall of the disc. Patients with a large hole in the outer ring of the disc are more than twice as likely to experience reherniations after surgery. A new treatment, Barricaid, which is a bone-anchored device proven to reduce the likelihood of a reherniation, was specifically designed to close the large hole often left in the spinal disc after microdiscectomy. In a large-scale study, 95 percent of Barricaid patients didn’t undergo a reoperation due to reherniation in the 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, ask your doctor or contact us at 844-288-7474.

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