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Surgery is only suitable in a small minority of cases of back pain.  An operation to remove or reduce a slipped or prolapsed disc – ‘lumbar discectomy’ might be suitable for people with persistent back and leg pain, particularly when the pain does not respond to other forms of treatment. When this type of operation is appropriate, most people have their pain reduced significantly, but some will have persistent pain despite surgery, and some will have a recurrence of the disc problem in the future.

Another surgical option, again for a very small minority of people with severe back pain (depending on the cause) might be spinal fusion, where two or more individual bones in the spine (vertebrae) may be joined together using bone grafts or metal supports to reduce pain. Your GP would refer you to a specialist spinal unit for an opinion on whether or not this type of operation would help you.

PainkillersTalking to your doctor

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