Surgical discectomy can benefit some patients

Clinical question: 
How effective are surgical interventions for lumbar disc prolapse?
Bottom line: 
Surgical discectomy for carefully selected patients with sciatica due to lumbar disc prolapse provides faster relief from the acute attack than conservative management, although any positive or negative effects on the lifetime natural history of the underlying disc disease are still unclear.
Caveat: 
Microdisectomy gives broadly comparable results to open discectomy. The evidence on other minimally invasive techniques remains unclear.
Context: 
Prolapsed lumbar discs account for less than 5% of all low-back problems, but are the most common cause of sciatica. Ninety per cent of acute attacks of sciatica settle with non-surgical management.
Review CD#: 
CD001350
PEARLS No: 
23
Date: 
May, 2007
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy