Lumbar Spine Surgery

What is a Lumbar Posterior Discectomy?

A lumbar posterior discectomy treats a disc herniation. Lumbar disc herniations are very common and often don’t cause any symptoms.

The herniated disc contents cannot be pushed back but will often dry out and shrink away itself.

During the microdiscectomy, only the loose parts of the nucleus within the disc and spinal canal are removed. The annulus tear cannot be repaired, but usually repairs over time by scarring, and the back pain may also settle with it.

A discectomy is performed to relieve pressure on nerves and the resulting leg symptoms. It is not performed for back pain.


Possible symptoms affecting one or both legs due to an acute herniation include:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Pins and needles
  • Weakness

Usually these symptoms will improve without surgery in 6-12 weeks. If the symptoms are not controlled after six to twelve weeks of conservative treatments, then your Dr Parkinson will consider operating.

The size of the hernia is not related to the amount of pain or leg symptoms, however if the herniated disc is pushing on spinal nerves and causing severe pain, bowel or bladder problems, then urgent surgery is considered. Signs of this include an inability to pass urine, or numbness in the crotch or buttocks.


The aim of a micro-discectomy is to remove the protruding part of the intervertebral disc.