Recovery time for discectomy surgery varies from patient to patient. Most patients will wake up after discectomy surgery feeling total resolution of leg pain caused by sciatica. If there is still pain it will usually clear up after a week or two as the patient continues to heal. There of course will be pain around the incision area but this will fade as well. In the first few days following your surgery, pain medications may be prescribed to control it. Depending on the extent of the surgery and how aggressive it was you may be required to wear a back brace in the early stages of your recovery to provide you with extra stability. Most patients can expect to spend one night in the hospital but if any complications arise such as bleeding or infection, you may be required to stay longer.
Once the anesthetic wears off you will be encourage to get up and walk around as soon as possible. There are other considerations that should be addressed as well in the early stages of your recovery.
Sitting – after surgery sitting will likely be quite uncomfortable and you may not be able to do this for more then 15 – 20 minutes at a time. The general rule of thumb is that you should only sit for as long it is comfortable for you.
Walking – this is a very gentle form of exercise that you will be encouraged to perform for the first few weeks following your surgery. Walking and staying active will help to discourage the formation of scar tissue that can bind the area of your back and cause future pain.
On a side note walking is not only a gentle form of exercise that will help you on your path to recovery, but it is also a great way to keep your heart and lungs conditioned without putting stress on the recovering incision wound.
Take it easy – Although this is a no brainer for most people, some others are stubborn to the point that they believe extra pain would make them stronger. This is simply not true and you should avoid activities that are causing you too much pain.
Physical Therapy – a few weeks after your surgery you will likely start to see a physical therapist who will incorporate slightly more aggressive treatments into your healing regiment. Activities such as hydrotherapy and cycling will begin to show benefits at this stage in your recovery.
Back to work – because everyone needs money to live, and some even enjoy their jobs, you will be curious as to when you may go back to work. There is no simple answer here as it depends on the type of work that you do. Most people who work in an office should expect to get the go ahead to return to work from their doctor in 2 – 4 weeks of time. Unfortunately if you are a laborer or you have a job that will add stress or excessive vibrations to your back you will likely be off work longer, expecting to return after 4 – 8 weeks of recovery.
Microendoscopic Discectomy Recovery
This is a much less aggressive surgery meaning that there is a smaller incision, no need for general anesthesia, and can usually be performed in an outpatient setting.
Because the wound is smaller there is less healing required and it will be less painful. Often pain medications are not even required after surgery.
Because of its less aggressive nature, Microendoscopic discectomy recovery time is significantly less. It is not unheard of for patients following this procedure to be able to return to work earlier then stated; often times within the first week.