ExitCare ImageBetween each of your back bones (vertebrae) sits a disk filled with thick liquid. Each disk has a tough outer ring. The disks act like cushions between your bones. An injury or aging can cause a disk to bulge out or tear (herniated disk). This can cause pain. Microdiskectomy is surgery to remove the part of the disk that bulges out.


  • You may have a physical exam, blood tests, and imaging tests. You may also have a test that checks your heart rhythm (electrocardiogram).

  • Ask your doctor about changing or stopping your medicines.

  • Only take medicines as told by your doctor.

  • If you smoke, stop smoking 2 weeks before the procedure.

  • The day before the procedure, eat only a light dinner. Do not eat or drink anything for 8 hours before the procedure. Ask your doctor if it is okay to take your medicines with a sip of water.

  • Ask your doctor how early you need to arrive before your procedure.


  • Small monitors will be put on your body. They are used to check your heart, blood pressure, and oxygen level.

  • A tube will be put in your vein (IV). Medicine will flow into your body through the tube.

  • You may get a medicine to help you relax (sedative).

  • You will get a medicine that makes you sleep (general anesthetic).

  • Your back will be cleaned to kill germs on the skin.

  • Once you are asleep, your doctor will make a small cut (incision) in your back. Muscles will be moved to the side. A small piece of bone may be removed to help your doctor see the area clearly.

  • The part of the disk that is causing problems will be removed.

  • The cuts will be closed with stitches (sutures) or staples.

  • A small bandage (dressing) will be put over the area.

  • The procedure usually takes about 1 hour.


  • You will stay in a recovery area until you are awake. Your blood pressure and heart will be checked.

  • Some pain is normal after this procedure. You will be given pain medicine.

  • You may be able to go home the same day as the procedure. Sometimes, an overnight stay at the hospital is needed.