According to Dr. George Martin, a neurosurgeon who specializes in minimally invasive discectomy’s, the odds of a successful microdiscetomy stands at roughly 95%. The majority of patients report immediate pain relief from this surgery and herniated disc recovery can finally come to a success after some post-operative therapy. However, the other 5% do not have any improvement (or very little) after this surgery because, unfortunately, they most likely have suffered from permanent nerve damage because of the herniated disc.
One of the main reasons that this will occur is explained simply because the nerve has been pinched for months on end to the point that even a decompressive surgery doesn’t save the nerve from permanent damage. Certain factors may slightly increase this risk such as those who smoke or who are overweight. Your odds of permanent nerve damage also increase the larger the extrusion of your herniated disc is. A 3mm disc protrusion on the sciatic nerve, for example, will be under more pressure for then a slightly bulging disc. Lastly, unexplained reasons and simply bad luck can lead you to permanent nerve damage. Sometimes a nerve looks really clean and a patient has permanent damage and sometimes a the nerve in all kinds of entanglements but turns out fine after surgery.
These risk factors must be considered when a patient is considering surgery. The chances of permanent nerve damage from a herniated disc increase as the months go on. So be sure to weigh in your options. If herniated disc pain is something that is lowering your quality of life then it is more then likely a good idea to talk to a neurosurgeon before its too late.