What is a slipped disc?

Your spine is made up of a column of bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae are arched at the back and are joined together by small facet joints and spongy discs between the vertebrae.

Each disc is made up of a tough fibrous outer coat with a soft spongy centre. As we get older the disc dries out and becomes less spongy, and small tears appear in the fibrous coat.

The fibrous coat is thinner at the back near the nerves so this tends to wear out first.

Surgery for Slipped Disc

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Figure 1

What are the benefits of surgery?

The aim is to relieve the pressure on the nerve so it can recover. Your symptoms should improve and this should help you to get back to your normal activities.

Are there any alternatives to lumbar microdiscectomy?

For many people, symptoms get better without surgery.

If you have a lot of pain, you can also have a steroid injection.

What does the operation involve?

Various anaesthetic techniques are possible. The operation usually takes 45 minutes to an hour.

Your surgeon will make a cut on the centre of your back. They will use an operating microscope to remove the disk.

What complications can happen?

1 General complications

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Unsightly scarring
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Blood clots
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Chest infection
  • Heart attack or stroke

2 Specific complications

  • Worse pain or numbness down your leg
  • Numbness between your legs, loss of normal bowel and bladder control and, for men, problems having an erection
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Tear of the thin membrane that covers the nerves in your spine

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day or the day after.

Do not lift anything heavy or twist your body. Make sure you keep a good posture when sitting and walking.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

9 in 10 people make a good recovery from surgery and are able to return to normal activities.


Author: Mr Richard Ashpole FRCS (Neuro. Surg.)

Illustrations: Copyright © [[SYMBOL:Neurodesign]]. All rights reserved. www.neurosurgeon.co.uk and Medical Illustration Copyright © Medical-Artist.com

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How long does it take?

Expected length of hospital stay

Up to two nights stay

Fixed prices

Private Surgery for Slipped Disc treatment prices.

Option In London Outside London Under 16's
1 - 2 levels £6830.00 n/a n/a
1 - 2 levels including undercutting facetectomy £6830.00 n/a n/a

Surgery for Slipped Disc - where does it take place?

HCA Healthcare UK hospitals offering Spinal treatments

See below for the HCA hospitals that offer private Surgery for Slipped Disc treatment.

Surgery for Slipped Disc - consultants

Consultants offering Spinal treatments

Some of the country's top consultants choose to practice in our World-Class Private Hospitals and private units. See below for the consultants available for this procedure.

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