What are the potential risks and benifits of microdissectomy?

Microdiscectomy is a surgical procedure commonly performed to treat a herniated or bulging disc in the spine. This minimally invasive procedure involves removing a portion of the intervertebral disc to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves. Like any surgical intervention, microdiscectomy comes with potential risks and benefits. It’s important to discuss these thoroughly with your neurosurgeon before deciding to proceed. Here are some potential risks and benefits associated with microdiscectomy:


Pain Relief:

Microdiscectomy is often effective in relieving the leg pain and lower back pain associated with a herniated disc by decompressing the affected nerve.

Improvement in Neurological Symptoms:

The procedure aims to alleviate symptoms related to nerve compression, such as numbness, tingling, and weakness in the legs.

Quick Recovery:

Compared to traditional open surgery, microdiscectomy typically involves smaller incisions and minimal disruption to surrounding tissues. This often leads to a quicker recovery with less postoperative pain.

Outpatient Procedure:

Microdiscectomy is often performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning you may not need to stay overnight in the hospital.

Lower Risk of Infection:

The smaller incisions reduce the risk of infection compared to larger incisions used in open surgery.

Preservation of Disc Structure:

Microdiscectomy aims to remove only the portion of the disc causing compression, preserving the remaining disc structure.



While the risk of infection is lower with microdiscectomy, it still exists. Infections can occur at the incision site or deep within the spine.


Although bleeding is generally minimal in microdiscectomy, there is still a small risk. Excessive bleeding may require additional interventions.

Nerve Damage:

While the goal is to relieve nerve compression, there is a small risk of inadvertent damage to the nerves during the surgery. This can lead to new neurological symptoms.

Recurrence of Disc Herniation:

In some cases, the disc may herniate again in the future, requiring additional treatment.

Dural Tear:

The outer layer of the spinal cord (dura) can be inadvertently torn during surgery, leading to cerebrospinal fluid leakage. This is a rare but serious complication.

Anesthesia Risks:

All surgeries involving anesthesia carry some inherent risks. These risks can include adverse reactions to anesthesia medications or complications related to intubation.

Incomplete Relief of Symptoms:

While microdiscectomy is often successful in relieving symptoms, there is no guarantee that all symptoms will be completely resolved.

Scar Tissue Formation:

Surgery may lead to the formation of scar tissue, which, in some cases, can contribute to persistent pain or reduced mobility.

It’s crucial to have a thorough discussion with your neurosurgeon, addressing any concerns and understanding the potential benefits and risks specific to your situation. The decision to undergo microdiscectomy should be based on a careful evaluation of your symptoms, the severity of the disc herniation, and your overall health. Additionally, follow your surgeon’s postoperative instructions diligently to optimize recovery.