Lumbar Disc Herniation: Microdiscectomy Timing

Many patients ask me if there is such a thing as waiting “to long” before initiating treatment for lumbar disc herniations and sciatica.  Some recent data from the SPORT trial suggests that patients who begin treatment within 6 months of developing sciatica generally do better than those who wait more than 6 months before beginning treatment.  Interestingly, this earlier treatment resulted in better outcomes in patients treated surgically (with microdiscectomy), and non-surgically (with epidural steroid injections).  It is also interesting to note that both surgical and non-surgical groups  demonstrated improvement, but improvement was greatest in the surgical group.



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