I'm going to have surgery for a lumbar disc herniation. What can I expect for results?
Studies show patients can have a wide range of results after lumbar spine surgery for disc-related problems. The goal is to relieve painful leg symptoms and to improve, or at least stop, leg numbness. With these results, walking ability usually gets better. Back pain may or may not improve.
In some cases patients can get worse. There may be nerve damage, infection, or other complications from the operation.
Some of the results may be linked to patient's expectations. According to one study 86 percent of the patients who expected success after disc surgery were happy with the results. Another 14 percent said they didn't get the hoped for results but they would do it again for the improvement they did get.
The best way to approach spinal surgery may be to have a positive attitude and high expectations. At the same time keep in mind the final results may not be as expected. You could have a better (or worse) outcome than expected.