Recovery Ratings After Surgery for Lumbar Herniated Disc

Using a 7-point scale, where “1” is complete recovery and “7” is worse symptoms: On average, people assigned to have surgery soon (the surgery group) rated their recovery as 2.2 at 2 months. People assigned to try non-surgical treatment for 6 months, followed by surgery if their symptoms didn’t improve (the non-surgical group) rated their recovery as 3.1 at 2 months. On average, people in the surgery group rated their recovery as 1.9 at 1 year. People in the non-surgical group rated their recovery as 2.1 at 1 year.

In a study of people who had 6 to 12 weeks of severe sciatica related to a herniated disc, one group was assigned to have surgery soon (the surgery group). The other group (the non-surgical group) was assigned to try non-surgical treatments for 6 months, followed by surgery if their symptoms didn't improve.

When asked about their recovery 2 months after surgery or the start of non-surgical treatment, people in the surgery group felt better (closer to complete recovery) than people in the non-surgical group. But after 1 year, both treatment groups rated their recovery about the same.

Current as of: March 2, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Donald Sproule MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Robert B. Keller MD - Orthopedics
Jeffrey N. Katz MD, MPH - Rheumatology