Risks of Surgery for Lumbar Herniated Disc

In a group of 100 people who had surgery for a lumbar herniated disc, less than 1 to 2 people had an infection or some other wound problem. About 1 to 3 people had nerve root injury or new or worsening nerve-related problems, such as weakness, numbness, or tingling. About 4 to 10 people went on to have another surgery for a herniated disc.

Like most surgeries, back surgery has some risks. The more serious risks include:

Wound problems, including infection and hematoma (bad bruise): Less than 1 to 2 out of 100 people who had surgery had an infection or some other wound problem.

Nerve damage: About 1 to 3 out of 100 people who had surgery had nerve root injury or new or worsening nerve-related problems, such as weakness, numbness, or tingling.

Having symptoms that don't get better, or having new symptoms in the future: About 4 to 10 out of 100 people who had surgery went on to have another surgery for a herniated disc.

Current as of: July 1, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Kenneth J. Koval MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma

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