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What to expect after the operation

Get Well Soon

Helping you to make a speedy recovery after a slipped disc operation

What to expect after the operation


You will have a small scar, about 1-3 inches long for a single disc operation (longer if required), overlying the lower part of your backbone.


Your skin may be closed with adhesive strips or occasionally with stitches or clips. These should be removed as directed by your surgeon or nurse. If you have stitches, these will be removed around 10 days after your operation.


Your stitches may be covered by a simple adhesive dressing - like a large sticking plaster. Wash carefully until you have your stitches out, so that the dressing doesn’t get wet. After you’ve had your stitches out, you won’t need a dressing anymore and you’ll be able to bath and shower as normal.


Immediately after the surgery you will have some pain in and around the area of your operation, but your surgeon will ensure that you have pain relief to make you comfortable and help you to move. Usually the original pain in the leg improves almost immediately, but if it does not, be sure to tell the nurses and your doctor. A very small number of people may experience difficulty passing urine after the operation. Usually this is simply a temporary disturbance of bladder function, but very rarely complications may cause the nerves to the legs or bladder to stop working so it’s important that you tell your doctor and nurses immediately.


After your operation, you will be working with a physiotherapist, who will monitor your specific needs and help you safely to regain strength and movement. Exercising the spine as prescribed will help you to make a much swifter recovery than if you remain inactive.

Tiredness and feeling emotional

Your body uses a lot of energy to heal itself, so you will feel more tired than normal - sometimes it can come upon you suddenly. If you feel upset or emotional in the days and weeks after your operation, don’t worry - this is a perfectly normal reaction which many people experience.


Painkillers may well cause constipation, so it’s important to get plenty of fibre in your diet while you are recovering. Fresh fruit and vegetables will help to keep your bowels moving regularly.

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