Microdiscectomy Complications

Microdiscectomy surgery is a spine surgery used to treat patients suffering from sciatica. The surgery is performed with the help of an endoscope using minimally invasive techniques. The surgery usually lasts less than an hour and the majority of the patients are able to go home the same day of the procedure. Although very rare there may be potential complications associated with microdiscectomy surgery in the form of bleeding, infection, nerve damage, durotomy, etc.

With microdiscectomy, the spine surgeon aims to relieve the pressure off the spinal nerve roots. The spinal nerve roots in the lower lumbar spine run inside a protective covering dural sac. The dural sac runs inside the central canal formed by the consecutive vertebrae.

At each spinal level, the spinal nerves exit through a narrow opening called the intervertebral foramen. The lumbar and sacral spinal nerves continue to supply different regions of the lower extremities and also control the bladder and bowel movements.

Lumbar spine MRI in the sagittal section.

Intervertebral discs are present in between the consecutive vertebrae and a herniation of the intervertebral disc may put pressure on the spinal nerves or the dural sac. The spinal nerves may also be compressed by bone spurs or an enlarged adjacent facet joint. The compression of the spinal nerves leads to irritation and symptoms of back pain that may radiate down the legs. The patients may also experience symptoms such as numbness or tingling sensation in the lower extremities.

During the microdiscectomy surgery, the surgeon gives a small incision in the lower back while the patient is under general anesthesia. The surgery carefully removes a small portion of the vertebra known as the lamina. The surgeon then retracts the spinal nerves and proceeds to remove the herniated part of the disc. The surgeon then carefully closes the incision in layers and a small dressing or tape is applied at the incision site.

Microdiscectomy surgery helps to relieve leg pain associated with sciatica. After a short rehabilitation, the patients are able to quickly return to work and get back to the activities they enjoy. The surgery may however not be performed in all patients suffering from sciatica. Multilevel disc herniation patients are not candidates for microdiscectomy.

Similarly, the surgery is not performed in patients with an active infection of the disc or the overlying skin. Patients with metabolic bone disease such as osteoporosis are poor candidates for microdiscectomy.

During the surgery, there may be a potential complication associated with general anesthesia. Therefore, it is important to discuss all the current medications, allergies, diseases, and any recreational drug use with the anesthesiologist. The anaesthesiologist modifies the drugs used in general anesthesia based on the patient’s history.

Although very rare, there may be accidental rupture of the dural sac or damage to the spinal nerves during microdiscectomy surgery. The damage of the dural sac may lead to leakage of the CSF, a type of body fluid present in the brain and the spinal cord. The intraoperative leak may be fixed immediately by the surgeon using watertight sutures.

At times, the leak may show after the surgery in the form of leakage of clear fluid from the incision site. Leakage of the CSF may lead to symptoms of headaches not amicable with pain medications. The leakage of CSF is an indication of surgery.

Damage to the spinal nerves, although rare, may lead to weakness of the lower extremities. There may be numbness in the area supplied by the nerve. In cases the inadvertent damage is done to the sacral spinal nerves, patients may lose control over the bladder/bowel motion. Compressive damage to the spinal nerves may recover over a period of time, however complete severance may lead to permanent damage.

As with any surgery, there may be complications of excessive bleeding during the surgery or after the surgery. The risk of excessive bleeding is more in patients who take blood-thinning medications such as warfarin. There may be complications of post-op hematoma formation after the surgery. The hematoma may rapidly increase in size to cause compression of the neural structures.

Postoperative infection after microdiscectomy is rare but a serious complication. The infection may occur in the immediate post-op period or after many weeks. The infection may present as fever, redness, or swelling of the incision site. There may be a pain at the incision site and associated discharge from the incision site. Superficial skin infection may be managed with antibiotic medications and deep space infections may require surgical drainage.

Deep vein thrombosis is the formation of blood clots in the lower extremity veins that may travel up to the lungs and cause significant morbidity and mortality. Certain patients who are predisposed to the formation of blood clots are at an increased risk. The risk of blood clots and subsequent management is assessed before any surgery by the physician.

There may be re-herniation of the intervertebral disc after a microdiscectomy. The risk of re-herniation is greater during the first 3 months after the surgery. Reherniation may also occur during excessive turning movements or lifting of heavyweights in the first few weeks after the surgery. Reherniation may lead to continued symptoms of leg pain or numbness. The re-herniation may be treated with repeat microdiscectomy or with lumbar fusion surgery.

Microdiscectomy surgery is a minimally invasive surgery utilizing minimal damage to the body tissues. The surgery is highly successful and the potential complications discussed are rare. But it is important to know the potential complications and discuss them with your operating surgeon.

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Dr Vaksha, is a great doctor very professional knows what he talking about. Treat patient with upmost respect. Thank You
Troy Spencer
16:46 19 Jan 23
Dr. Karkare is an amazing doctor, very caring and attentive, the girl at the front desk is very kind and helpful. .elizabeth .thank you so much .
blanca ventura
21:32 26 Oct 22
Been going to this place before my accident and after I had my knee surgery. So happy how I been treated and how well I am getting. Thank you all and specially Dr. VAKSHA for everything and getting back on track.
Ita Opico
19:01 25 Oct 22
Love this place From the minute I called I was treated kindly. When I arrived The Dr saw me right away he was compassionate and ordered the appropriate tests for me. I came back in for my follow up and had the same great experience.
Christine Rostock
21:28 23 May 22
Dr Vaksha and Dr karkare are 2 of the best orthopedic doctors around my wife Susan had a very serious broken ankle in March of 2019 she didn't think she was going to walk again Dr vaksha did an excellent surgery on her ankle he said it was his toughest he ever did he put a lot of hardware in her ankle and told her she would be alright she made remarkable recovery thanks to his surgery as of now she regained 100 percent use of her ankle she would highly recommend him to anyone. My own experience with Dr karkare has been wonderful he takes his time with you listens to what you have to say and prescribes various treatments and is very caring I would highly recommend him to anyone I would give both doctors a 10 plus rating we are very happy with them the best.
Harry Jones
23:31 19 May 22
Complete orthopedics is a wonderful place to go when you hurt or injured a great staff and wonderful doctors very knowledgeable and helpful I would recommend this place to all of my family and friends that is in me of orthopedic care I give them 10 thumbs up
Wayne Pemberton
17:39 18 May 22
The staff is very professional and helpful. Dr. Vaksha is excellent. He takes time to listen and offer suggestions to help you get better. I’m very thankful and happy to be a patient here at Complete Orthopedics.
Phoenix Rising
19:54 16 May 22
Dr.Karkare is the best. He listens to everything and explains everything I recommend him to everyone. I am so happy he is my doctor.
Myrna James
00:48 13 May 22
Dr.Kuo is amazing very attentive,caring,and passionate and staff is awsome too.Thank you for everything Dr.kuo.
Erick Murillo
23:17 12 May 22
I was in a car accident November 1 I was referred to Dr. Vaksha For shoulder surgery . I he was amazing he made me feel very comfortable and explained everything that was going to happen from surgery all the way through my physical therapy highly recommend Dr. Vaksha
Yolanda Ojeda
19:37 09 May 22
My appointment with Dr. Vaksha was amazing. Dr. Vaksha was very thorough and kind. I would refer this office to anyone who needs a great orthopedic doctor.
John Senechal
19:54 05 May 22
Scheduling my appointment was quick and easy. The staff was super friendly and down to earth. I was seen on time. The appropriate test, “x-rays” were taken before the conversation with doctor, something I really liked, test for analysis and conversation was done upfront. Dr. V had a great personality and was no BS, straight forward diagnosis and a play on next steps. I am happy I found them and would refer them to friends and family.
00:46 03 May 22
I have seen Dr. Kuo two times already and he's awesome along with his staff. Very friendly office and I'm glad to be a patient here.
Camaris A
20:01 28 Apr 22
Amazing team!! Very caring, profesional, and friendly!! Dr. Kevin Kuo, you are the best, very passionate, caring, and helping thank you for getting me better and being so kind to me! Elizabeth you the best thank you for you help always and you big smile and positive actitud❤️🙏🏼
breidy valerio
19:01 22 Apr 22
The staff is truly exceptional, they make you feel comfortable and welcomed. The doctors are amazing,always professional, compassionate and great listeners.
Elizabeth Collado
03:25 09 Apr 22
What a great place! The place is clean and organized.The staff is wonderful. Setting up physical therapy is right there as well.I'm so glad I found this place.
Donna Anne
22:45 05 Apr 22
This was my 1st time breaking something in my 27 years on this planet. I was recommended here by a friend Dr. Vashka helped me from day 1 and still continues to check in on me and my healing ankle. Would highly recommend
tyron davis
16:06 01 Apr 22
Brand new office, same great doctors! Rooms are clean, plenty of parking, physical therapy attached, Dr. Karkare and his staff are awesome. Thank you!
Emily B
02:49 24 Mar 22
Dr.VAksha is the best, I love the way he treats me as his patient, he is caring,understanding and very attentive to my needs
Mirna Caballero
14:53 03 Mar 22
Great staff. Dr. Vaksha is awesome and takes the time to listen to his patients. He is very compassionate. I would highly recommend this office.
Bebe Doyle
01:24 23 Feb 22
After suffering from a severe ankle injury Dr. V was able to help me heal and return back to work completely to a job where I stand for 12 hours a day. The office is very clean and I appreciated the reminders of my appointments via phone call and through text. The patient portal made it easy for me to access all my documents including work notes. The office staff is wonderful and Rebecca was able to schedule me with a busy schedule and awesome at answering all of my questions including referring me to a great physical therapy office. I highly recommend this office to anyone who’s looking for knowledgeable and kind orthopedic office.
Elizabeth Birchwell
21:31 28 Jan 21
The staff here are great, I was seen at the time of my appointment and was well taken care of!
Shaun Berry
18:14 07 Jan 21
They are an excellent practice. The front and back office people are amazing and so helpful. Rebecca is such a kind and understanding person. I had an issue with paperwork and she cleared it right up. Dr. Karkare is very knowledgeable, helpful, and caring.
Matt S.
19:31 18 Nov 20
Rebecca K. - What a true burst of sunshine. Very friendly and definitely an asset to the practice!
Laura Aston
18:17 17 Nov 20
Great experience, the Doctor is nice but the staff is incredible. I worked with Linda, who was profession and assisted me beyond what any person has done at other practices. Complete Ortho should be complimented for having such a person on their staff.I highly recommend this place!!!
Joe Allen
17:26 17 Nov 20
Linda and Becca they are so good ever time I come they are very nice I would tell everyone I no to come to this office..
Barbara Victor
16:45 17 Nov 20
I was rear ended in an auto accident , Dr Vashka was recommended by a friend of mine .I was experiencing Back , neck , and shoulder pain . After a thorough examination and given exercises to do at home , I am feeling much better , and I ended up avoiding surgery . The staff at Complete Ortho is extremely attentive and show great care when making an appointment and are very friendly and i never waited more than 5 minutes for my appointment . So I would strongly recommend Complete Orthopedics for any aches and pains that one might be experiencing.....
Bill Becht
04:44 17 Nov 20
It was the afternoon of Friday Sept. 24. We were in Pt. Jefferson and my wife, Mary Ann, broke her hip. We went to Mather Hospital and it was determined that she would have to have an operation to have it repaired. This would be her third time under the knife in the past year. It just so happened that we were very fortunate enough to have Dr. Karkare, who was on standby, perform the surgery. He put in a rod and two screws in her hip. She spent a few days in the hospital and then went to Gurwin rehabilitee for another few weeks.It has now been almost six weeks and we both worked the election the other day. If it wasn’t for Dr. Karkare’s expertise she never would have been able to work. She is able to walk with a walker and is doing physical therapy three times a week.We can not thank the doctor enough for the compassion and dedication that he puts into his work. It allows Mary Ann do the things that she likes to do, even on a limited basis for a while. I know that with her will, perseverance and the great work that the surgeon performed she will be back on her feet in no time.Sincerely:John V. PlumpEast Northport, NY 11731
Jack Harris
14:36 06 Nov 20
In the year of 2018 I was referred to Dr. Karkare because I was experiencing severe knee joint pain. After exhausting physical therapy and trying to labor through the pain, I had to make a quality of life decision. Total knee replacement was the only viable option. Dr. Karkare made my decision easy as he walked me through the whole process from surgery to recovery.On 12/13/19 ( Friday the 13th) I enter Lenox Hill Hospital in great hands. From the time I entered Dr. Karkare’s office for the first time until now, his staff has been amazing. Andrea the medical coordinator walked me through all the paper work and necessary preparations for the surgery. Courtesy and kind would be an understatement. Dr. Karkare went over and beyond from the wellness checks and phone calls all to assure me that I was important to him. This was the right decision no pain and no limp. Complete Orthopedics should be your choice!
Kenneth Randolph
22:18 25 Sep 20
Dr. Vadshka has a great bedside manner. He really takes his time and explains treatment options.
T Lee
12:33 09 Sep 20
I suffered with pain in both knees for years. My orthopedic doctor kept recommending knee replacement . I fought it for years, as I was just afraid. When I had no choice and could barely walk , it was recommended I see Dr. Karkare. We set up a consultation and my wife and I left his office feeling totally confident and comfortable with moving ahead with the surgery. He explained everything to us, and the office staff set everything up for us and made the process easy. So about one month after our initial meeting I had the first knee done. I was up walking mere hours after the surgery, and on the workout machines the next morning. I went home two days after the surgery, and yes walked my daughter down the aisle at her wedding only one week after the surgery without even a cane! Three months later I had the other knee done and went home the very next day. Dr. Karkare put my fears to rest . I would highly recommend him. His expertise gave me my life back. Thank you Dr. Karkare.SincerelyVito Congro
Ethel Congo
23:58 12 Aug 20
Dr Rhodin really cares for his patients. When I see him he makes sure to review my progress in detail.
Micki Cahill
15:03 08 Feb 20
My mom had a total hip replacement by dr karkare. He is the BEST orthopedic doctor.Her incision is almost invisable.She is going back for her other hip next week. The office staff is the best, love Andrea.You wont find a better doctor.
Ryan Brigandi
21:06 13 Jul 18
There is no better Orthopedic doctor you will find. Broke my ankle three places on a Saturday. Called Dr. Karkare. He had is team ready at the hospital and operated on me within 6 hours after my injury. Now After 3 months of great care by him and his staff, I am walking to normalcy.
Spacecom Tel
04:13 23 Mar 18

My name is Dr. Suhirad Khokhar, and am an orthopaedic surgeon. I completed my MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery) at Govt. Medical College, Patiala, India.

I specialize in musculoskeletal disorders and their management, and have personally approved of and written this content.

My profile page has all of my educational information, work experience, and all the pages on this site that I've contributed to.