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Pre/Post Op - Microdiscectomy - Dr. Kim


Microdiscectomy - Dr. Kim

Description of Procedure

A microdiscectomy is a procedure designed to relieve pain radiating down your arm(s), leg(s,) and/or back. A small incision is made midline (usually less than 2"); soft tissues are then gently pushed off to the side. A small hole is formed through the bone using various tools until your nerve and disc can be seen. We then softly push your nerve off to the side, removing debris of bone or disc that had pushed on the nerve. Next, we take it a step farther by going into the disc space removing loose disc material, trying to avoid future herniation. Finally, we sew you back up. An important point to take home, there is a 1 out of 10 chance of re-herniation after the procedure, so obey the restrictions and use common sense.

Back pain

Back pain is expected after surgery, typically residing in the lower back and can seem to radiate into the hips. This is normal post-operative pain.

Leg pain

It is common to experience temporary increased, or the same level of intensity, pain down one or both of your legs. This can be due to us "cleaning off" your nerves, swelling, or just remnants of nerve irritation from prior to surgery. Please inform us if your pain gradually worsens, 1 in 10 re-herniate after a microdiscectomy.


Do not bend or twist spine. Remember this acronym "BLT". That is, you should not Bend, Lift over 8 pounds, or Twist. We would like you to keep your back (hips to shoulders) as straight as possible. Do not lift over 8 lbs. first two weeks, then not over 16 lbs. after that. We will clarify further restrictions at your follow up appointment.


Please see your primary care physician one week after surgery to have the incision examined. We would like to see you at Tristate Brain and Spine institute one month after surgery. These appointments are occasionally made for you prior to discharge from the hospital by the nursing staff. Please ask the hospital nursing staff or contact our office
to confirm these appointments. You can reach Tristate at (320) 763-8888 to set up an appointment with our Patient Access Representative team.

Medication Refills

The medications may not last until your one-month follow up appointment. Please have your pharmacy send us a refill request to our fax (fax # 320-200-7478). If the pharmacy is unwilling to send a fax, please give us a call. Many medications are monitored; it will speed up the process if we get the request from your pharmacy. Due to this monitoring, please allow ample time for medication requests such as these (narcotics) to be received, reviewed, and mailed to your pharmacy. Since many substances are controlled prescriptions, please expect drug screening at random intervals.

REMINDER: We prescribe post-operative medication for up to 90 days; use this time to set up other pain management services if medications are still required after the 90-day period.

Incision Care

Please leave the incision open to air. No bandage is necessary. If steri-strips are present, these will fall off on their own.

Signs of Infection

You or a significant other/caretaker should monitor your incision for signs of infection. Signs of infection are redness, swelling, increased warmth to the touch, discharge from the wound, and/or a body temperature over 100.3˚F. If any signs of infection appear, please contact our office and/or your primary care.

Delayed Healing

Certain things can delay your healing, stop your surgery from being successful, and/or increase your risk of requiring another surgery. These things include smoking or tobacco use, diabetes, poor general health, advanced age, and/or obesity. Some of these risks cannot be avoided, remember to control what you can for the best possible outcome.

Can I bathe?

You may get the incision wet in the shower, just pat dry the site with a clean towel when finished. However, avoid soaking in a bathtub. You do not want to soak the wound in water; this will increase your risk of infection at the incision site. Please wait around 3 weeks when the incision wound is well healed before taking baths to bathe.

When can I go back to work?

Most patients go back to work with restrictions 2 weeks after surgery.

Should I wear a brace?

Brace should be worn until fusion is solid. Physical therapy will start at 3 or 6 month follow up and that is typically when the brace is no longer used.

When can I drive?

Abstain from driving until off all narcotic pain medication. Once off medications, you should be able to safely operate your vehicle once again. you should be able to safely operate your vehicle once again.