Trust spine specialist and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Duc Nguyen to heal disc herniations that cause lower back pain and dysfunction. He has the experience and skill to perform discectomies, which involve removing herniated material from the lower back, so it no longer presses on nerve roots and the spinal cords, resulting in serious pain. Men and women in Redwood City, California can make an appointment with Dr. Nguyen by calling his practice, or by using the online booking tool.

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Who is a candidate for a discectomy?

Back surgery is a serious undertaking, but it may be the best way for you to decrease lower back and leg pain and regain normal movement and function. Dr. Nguyen recommends less invasive therapies first, but you may consider surgery if:

You suffer from weakness, numbness, and pain in your legs that interferes with your daily life and doesn’t go away after at least four weeks of non-invasive treatment.
A physical exam reveals that you’re experiencing weakness and loss of motion that is likely to improve with surgery.
You have an emergency case of disc herniation in which you have loss of bowel or bladder control or sudden and severe weakness and tingling in your buttocks and legs.

What should I expect during a discectomy?

Dr. Nguyen performs microdiscectomies, which require small, less invasive incisions as compared to open surgery. During the procedure, he makes a small incision into which a special microscope is inserted so he can see the disc and nerves. When he has a good view of the joint, Dr. Nguyen removes any herniated disc material and affected bone. You’re put under general anesthesia during the procedure and should expect to spend at least one night in the hospital for recovery.

How long does it take to fully recover from a discectomy?

Immediately after surgery and as soon as the anesthesia wears off, walking is important to encourage proper blood flow. The nurses provide you with prescription pain medications to help you manage discomfort during recovery.

Dr. Nguyen and his staff provide full postoperative instructions. They encourage you to walk frequently and be lightly active as movement prevents the overdevelopment of scar tissue. Dr. Nguyen may also refer you to a physical therapist to assist with healing.

Some people resume work and activities of daily living soon after the surgery. Men and women with desk jobs can often return to work within two to four weeks. People with jobs that involve a lot of physical labor need to wait four to eight weeks before resuming all duties. Of course, this timetable depends on the extensiveness of your particular surgery and how readily you heal.