Sports After Microdiscectomy

Microdiscectomy is one of the most commonly performed procedures by board-certified spinal surgeons. It involves making a one to two centimeter incision in the back that allows the physician to insert a small tube through which the surgical site can be microscopically visualized. The tube is also used as a pathway for the tools that are needed to remove the damaged disc and repair the surgical site.

Although a microdiscectomy can be considered a minimally invasive spine procedure, many patients who undergo the procedure have concerns about whether or not they will be able to return to sports after they heal. Here is what you need to know about microdiscectomies and playing sports post-surgery.


A microdiscectomy is a much less invasive procedure and has a significantly faster recovery time than an open operation where a large incision is made and more tissue is disrupted. Patients usually go home the same day of surgery or the following morning. Individuals may be allowed to drive 2 to 10 days post-op, and most people will be able to go back to work after one to two weeks.

Returning to Sports

Most people who experience a routine recovery and make progress with physical therapy will be able to return to playing non-contact sports within four to eight weeks, and can engage in contact sports within three to six months. Many factors may determine when and if an individual can resume strenuous activity. Patients who are still experiencing pain will need to wait until it subsides, and the physician and physical therapists will determine if sufficient muscle strength has been regained in order for the individual to resume activity.

Physical Therapy

Studies have shown that athletes who have been diligent about participating in physical therapy are able to return to playing sports more quickly than patients who take more casual approaches to their treatments. Developing a good, muscular support structure around the spine is crucial to protecting the surgical site when high levels of activity are resumed.

If you are looking for more information about microdiscectomies, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. Dr. Bae and his team of Beverly Hills spine surgeons and specialists will be able to provide you with your treatment and after care options. Call us today at 310-828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation today.