Sciatica Surgery as a Last Resort

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The chances of you needing surgery for the sciatica you had while you were pregnant is low. In fact, it is rare for anyone with sciatica–no matter the cause–to need sciatica surgery, as it is a last resort. Usually the result of an underlying medical condition if it lingered after birth, the symptoms of sciatica will decrease in intensity and duration once the health issue is identified and treated.

Although still unlikely, you are more at risk for surgery if:

  • Your symptoms linger for an extended period of time post-birth
  • You  experience a loss of bowel control or any other severe sciatica symptoms
  • Pain relief is not achieved after treating a pre-existing medical condition 
  • The pain is interfering an individual’s ability to carry out daily tasks

If a doctor does suggest surgery as an option for your sciatic pain, the choice is still yours. Surgery comes down to personal preference most times, not physical necessity.

Sciatica Surgery Options

If you do opt for sciatica surgery, there are two main procedures of which to be aware:

1. Microdiscectomy: This surgical produce is generally considered when your sciatica is caused by a lumbar disc herniation. To relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve, the surgery removes the part of the herniated disc that is doing the pinching. It is an open surgery, but a small one that uses magnification. The success rate is a high  90-95%.

2. Lumbar Laminectomy (Open Decompression): Lumbar spinal stenois can cause severe enough sciatica that surgery may be considered–especially when the  overall health of the suffering individual is in danger. If this is the case, a surgeon will remove a bit of the bone or disc that is again pinching the sciatic nerve. It has a lower success rate than miscrodiscectomy, still high but standing at 70-80%

Does Surgery Offer a Permanent Fix for Sciatica?

If you are considering surgery because you think it will be a permanent fix for your sciatica pain, think again. Sciatica surgery does not have a 100% success rate; your sciatic pain can also return in another form down the line, either a reoccurrence of the previous issue or a new cause. So, do not opt for sciatica surgery just because it seems like the easy way out of a painful situation. Committing to lifestyle changes bodes better for long-term health.


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