Low Back Pain After Lumbar Discectomy
Unfortunately, up to 25% of patients who had lumbar discectomy surgery may have recurrent back pain after surgery. A recent study out of Vanderbilt University performed a meta analysis of available studies on discectomy patients, as well as prospectively following patients that had surgery at Vanderbilt. The results of both the meta analysis and the prospective study revealed very similar data.
Only 6% of patients had repeat discectomy surgery at the same level of the original discectomy surgery. Within two years of the discectomy surgery, 15% to 25% of patients did report episodes of back pain.
Based on this information, patients should be aware of the possibilities after surgery. For the most part, the statistics are in favor of a good outcome. Still, that means 1 in 20 lumbar discectomy patients will have an additional discectomy surgery at that level. Also, almost a quarter of the patients will have episodes of back pain after the operation.
Fortunately, there are other non surgical treatments available for patients who do have the recurrent disk condition or the recurrent lower back pain.
For patients contemplating lumbar discectomy surgery, please discuss the plans just in case you are one of those patients who have these recurrent complaints.
- Bodiu A. Diagnosis and operatory treatment of the patients with failed back surgery caused by herniated disk relapse. J Med Life. 2014 Oct-Dec;7(4):533-7. PubMed PMID: 25713616