I'm scheduled to have a discectomy as an outpatient next week. I'll be in and out of the hospital in less than 24 hours. Is this really a good idea? What if something goes wrong?
Studies show more and more discectomies (removal of the lumbar disc) are being done on an outpatient basis. Patients who have surgery and go home within 24 hours' time are called ambulatory patients. The operation is called an ambulatory procedure.

Outpatient discectomy is both safe and effective. They reduce costs and increase patient satisfaction. Usually ambulatory patients must have someone who can drive them home and stay with them for the first 24 to 48 hours. Any signs of infection, blood clots, or other problems must be reported to the surgeon right away.

You won't be discharged if there are any complications during surgery or while you are in the recovery room. Occasionally a patient loses too much blood or doesn't recover as quickly as planned. Overnight hospitalization may be required. Your surgeon will make that decision should anything unusual happen. Otherwise, you should expect to be home on the same day as the surgery.