In a microdiscectomy or microdecompression spine surgery, a small portion of the bone over the nerve root and/or disc material from under the nerve root is removed to relieve neural impingement and provide more room for the nerve to heal.
A microdiscectomy is typically performed for a herniated lumbar disc. It is actually more effective for treating leg pain (also known as radiculopathy) or bladder or bowel incontinence than for treating lower back pain.
While it may take weeks or months for the nerve root to fully heal and any numbness or weakness to get better, patients normally feel relief from leg pain almost immediately after a microdiscectomy spine surgery.
Importantly, since almost all of the joints, ligaments and muscles are left intact, a microdiscectomy does not change the mechanical structure of the patient’s lower spine.