Lumbar Discectomy

Hospital Stay

Most people stay just one night in the hospital. Some patients may go home the evening of their surgery. You will be able to walk as soon as you feel up to it after surgery.


Avoid excessive bending, twisting, pushing, pulling, or lifting anything more than 15 pounds for the first 6 weeks. We encourage you to take short but frequent walks, 4-5 times a day. On average patients will be walking about a ½-1 mile total each day when they are about 3 weeks out. This is important to help prevent blood clots, mobilize your back muscles and help stimulate your bowels in case you are constipated. If you need to pick something up from ground level, squat and keep your back straight. If you were fitted with a brace, please wear it when you are active. You may remove it at night to sleep, for showers/baths, driving, and when you are relatively inactive around the house. Returning to work depends on the type of job that you do. We can address that issue for you if needed. We may consider physical therapy after 6 weeks. We can discuss that at your follow up visits. Do not drive if you are taking narcotics.

Incision Care

You may shower after 48 hours. Do not submerge the incision in a bathtub until we examine your wound at your 3 week visit. You do not need to keep the wound(s) covered unless you find the brace or pants rub against it. You have “sterile super glue” on your incision. It will likely begin to peel off by itself after about 2 weeks. Do not pick at it or scratch it. There is no need to apply any type of ointments to your incision.


As your pain lessens, you should decrease the amount of pain medication you are taking. We suggest that you substitute the narcotics with over-the-counter Tylenol or NSAIDs as your pain level decreases.

Follow-up Appointment

Contact our office the first business day after discharge from the hospital to make your first post-operative visit. We typically will see patients at 3 weeks postoperatively. Please do not hesitate to contact our office with any concerns or questions at 208-367-3500.