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Is sugery required for sciatica?

Q: My father is 60 years old suffering from pain in the buttock and left leg since the last 40 days. The doctor has advised micro-discectomy. He is an insulin dependent diabetic. Should he go in for surgery? What are the side effects and the recovery period? What are the precautions to be taken after surgery? Is there any alternative for surgery?

A:From what you describe, it appears he has sciatica - a condition occurring from pressure on a nerve and this pressure usually occurs because of a disc. A disc is a cushion like structure present between the vertebrae. Surgery is one of the methods of treatment in this condition. The disc is usually removed by minimally invasive surgery. However, it is possible that in due course the disc may shrink by itself and the symptom may improve. In the interim phase, medicines like methyl cobalamine and for symptom relief may be used. The decision to proceed with surgery is a relative one. On one hand it may expedite the recovery process (which may take on its own also in a little more time), it may also some times be associated with some complications like any surgical procedure. In a diabetic patient, the risk of complications is higher than in others.

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