Surgical treatment is a standard method for the treatment of herniated intervertebral disc.

Indications for surgery are the orthocystic disorders and paraparesis, continuous back pain recurrences, as well as the persistence of symptoms following 60 days of treatment.

Surgery is considered serious, is performed under general anesthesia and is invasive as the part of the disc that protrudes is removed following prior muscle excision and removal of a portion of one or two lumbar vertebrae.

Following surgery the patients must wear a lumbar support belt, remain in bed for 15 days and then commence an appropriate exercise routine. Early return to work and heavy work should be avoided due to the weakening of the spine.

Surgery typically causes an immediate relief of the symptoms of sciatica. However, it is not as effective in the treatment of back pain itself, as 50% of the patients are relieved of back pain, while the remaining 50% complain of back pain following fatigue. 75% of operated patients return to their work after a long sick leave, while 15% show a clear improvement of symptoms with reduced capacity for work; last but not least, a small percentage of patients present with relapsed hernia.