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February 6, 2020 - TCO

Qualities and Outcomes: Lumbar Discectomy

At Twin Cities Orthopedics, we have a responsibility to our patients, their families, and our communities as a whole, to make health care better for everyone. That’s why for the past several years we’ve been analyzing surgical outcomes, gathering feedback about your experiences, and putting the data to good use.

 About Our Data

After every experience with TCO, we kindly ask our patients to provide feedback. We ask about their overall experience, and whether or not they would recommend us to family and friends. We ask them to tell us about their pain and mobility before and after surgery, so we can monitor their progress and customize their care experience.

Thanks to the generosity of patients who filled out forms after their visits, we’ve collected over half a million patient surveys. That’s an incredible amount of information, and we’re grateful for every patient who has contributed.

We’re using this data to make improvements across our practice and elevate the experience for everyone at TCO.

Why Data Matters

Healthcare is evolving, and people deserve to be in the driver’s seat of their own care. At TCO, we’re developing tools so patients can make more educated decisions about their health. By publishing data about surgical outcomes and patient satisfaction, we hope prospective patients will feel empowered to:

  • Ask their physicians about surgical outcomes, and feel more prepared
  • Ask their providers about how much procedures cost, and feel more in control
  • Ask their families and friends about who they would recommend, and feel more confident
  • Ask their employers how they make healthcare decisions, and feel more involved
  • Ask tough questions, and hold our industry accountable

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and we’ll never stop trying to earn people’s trust, but over 98% of our patients would recommend TCO to family and friends, which tells us we’re on the right track.

Learn More: Lumbar Discectomy

If you have a herniated disc in your lower back that is causing symptoms, lumbar discectomy might be the right procedure for you. The symptoms may include weakness, pain, or tingling in the back area and in one of your legs.

“It’s just like taking a rock out of a shoe. Once you take it out, the pressure is gone.” Dr. Paul Crowe

Patient-reported outcome data for lumbar discectomy tells us that one month after surgery, 99.24% of TCO patients report they would have the surgery again, if needed. In other words, they felt they made the right decision.

About the Procedure

  • Lumbar discectomy is the removal of a piece of a herniated disc that is compressing a spinal nerve.
  • A patient would typically require this procedure if 6-8 weeks of conservative treatment options weren’t effective.
  • The procedure typically takes one hour.
  • In most cases, patients walk/go home on the same day as the surgery.
  • Only the piece of the disc that’s sitting on the nerve is removed.

What to Expect

  • The initial recovery from the surgery can be a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
  • A majority of patients can’t believe how good they feel right away.
  • Patients can shower with a waterproof dressing the day after the procedure.
  • Typically, patients can begin driving once off pain medication. The hardest part isn’t the driving, it’s getting in and out of the car.
  • On average, it takes about 2.5 weeks to return to work (depending on the job).
  • The key to recovery is to keep moving. Don’t be sedentary.
  • Regaining strength can take 6 to 8 weeks in some cases.
  • For more aggressive activities, it can take around 3 months to get back.

“The most common thing we hear is, ‘I can’t believe I waited so long to have this surgery done.”’ – Dr. Paul Crowe

Special thanks to Dr. Crowe for his insights into the procedure.

If you or a loved one is considering lumbar discectomy, or would like to speak to a TCO spine & neck specialist, we’re here to help.