What are the risks involved in surgery for herniated disc?
Q: I have pain in lower back (buttocks) down to right leg. The pain comes after walking or standing for more than 5 minutes. Otherwise there is no problem. I am a computer engineer and have been working since 4 years. I have realised that the pain is due to poor sitting posture. I have not suffered any injury before this problem. I consulted a doctor and had a MRI scan. MRI report says herniated disc at L5-S1. Doctor advised me to undergo surgery to remove the the intervertebral disc which is causing trouble. I took mobizox for a week. The pain has been there for more than 2 months now. What are the risks involved in surgery? Will removal of disc effect my future life?
A:Risks include injury to nerve leading to paralysis, though the procedure is well established and the chances are very less. Other complications can include anaesthesia risk, infection, failure of the vertebrae to fuse, continuation of pain, etc. Everything considered together, the risk is less than 2-3 %. A single level fusion would not cause a significant problem with activities of daily living, though you do tend to loose motion at that segment. Overall, the procedure is worth undergoing.