The surgery involves an incision on the back of the spine that allows the surgeon to remove bone spurs and thickened ligaments that are pressing on the nerves of the low back. Microdiscectomy is used to treat nerve pain (sciatica) due to a herniated disc impinging a nerve in the spine.
Most spine surgeries are performed under general anesthesia. You will be given medication through an intravenous (IV) line to put you to sleep, so you won't feel pain during the procedure. Risks from anesthesia are rare but serious. These risks include heart attack, stroke, brain damage, and death.
A traditional spinal fusion surgery with general anesthesia takes about four hours and requires a hospital stay of three to four days as well as IV painkillers. The awake spine surgery takes half the time and typically has patients out of the hospital within 24 hours.
Back surgery might be an option if conservative treatments haven't worked and your pain is persistent and disabling. Back surgery often more predictably relieves associated pain or numbness that goes down one or both arms or legs. These symptoms often are caused by compressed nerves in your spine.
If things go south, some of the potential complications of back surgery can include an adverse reaction to anesthesia, bleeding, infection, deadly blood clots that can circulate to the heart or lungs, heart attack, stroke, and nerve damage.