I'm thinking about having lumbar disc surgery. What are the success (failure) rates for this operation?

Many studies have been done looking for the answer to this question. The success rate varies between 60 and 90 per cent. Success isn't always defined the same by everyone. For example, the patient's view of success and the doctor's may be different.

Up to 40 per cent of all patients still have symptoms after disc surgery. This includes pain, loss of function, and weakness. Up to two out of every ten patients have a recurrence of the same problem. This means that although the first disc was repaired, now a second disc problem occurs. Most of the time, this happens within six months after the first operation.

When symptoms persist, there are some options. The patient can enter a physical therapy or rehab program. Intensive therapy does help these patients.