Recovery Time After Herniated Disc Surgery

Updated November 21, 2016

A herniated disc can cause symptoms such as pain and muscles weakness in your legs. It can also cause loss of bladder and bowel control. Surgery is one treatment option.

Herniated Disc

The vertebrae in your spine are separated and cushioned by soft discs. In a herniated disc, the centre pushes out through the disc's wall and puts pressure on nearby nerves.


One form of surgery for a herniated disc is called a discectomy, during which the damaged disk is removed. Your surgeon can either perform a microdiscectomy with a smaller incision or a traditional procedure. Recovery time after this surgery takes about two weeks.

Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion can also correct a herniated disc. In this surgery, after removing the damaged disc, your surgeon will fuse two of your vertebrae together using a bone graft and metal rods. Recovery can take four months, although you could return to work in a month if you feel strong enough.


Rehabilitation is an important part of recovering from surgery for a herniated disc. Learning how to sit, stand and lift properly, and wearing a back brace if required, can help you recover completely.


Your recovery time could be longer after herniated disc surgery if you have certain risk factors, including being a smoker or if you are an older adult.

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