Lumbar discectomy (LD) is used to treat radicular discomfort caused by a herniated disc. While most patients attain this goal, improvements in low-back pain (LBP) have been documented in various ways. The goal of the study was to see how LBP changes after a discectomy. The researchers used data from the Canadian Spine Outcomes and Research Network (CSORN) registry to conduct a retrospective study of prospectively gathered patient data. Patients who had lumbar disc herniation surgery were eligible to participate. At 12 months, the primary objective was a clinically meaningful decrease in the back pain numerical rating scale (BPNRS). The link between the primary outcome and potential factors was modeled using binary logistic regression.

In total, 557 patients were enrolled in the study. Radiculopathy was the most common symptom, with 85% of patients undergoing minimally invasive surgery. BPNRS improved by 48% after 3 months, and this improvement was maintained through all follow-ups. The reduction in LBP was linked to a reduction in leg discomfort. About 64% of patients had a clinically meaningful improvement in BPNRS after 12 months. Female sex, poor education level, marriage, not working, low expectations for LBP improvement, and a low BPNRS preoperatively all indicated a lack of LBP improvement.

After LD, the majority of patients experience clinically significant improvements in their LBP. These findings can be used to provide better patient counseling and more realistic expectations for back pain relief.