When Sciatic Nerve Pain Is Chronic and Debilitating, Microsurgery Can Provide Relief

The majority of patients who experience sciatic nerve pain are successfully treated with conservative approaches such as physical therapy and medications. However, if your sciatica has turned chronic — meaning it has lasted more than six weeks — and debilitating, it may be time for you to consider surgical intervention.


Microsurgery, which is minimally invasive, is used to repair structures such as nerves and blood vessels that are both intricate and tiny. When Dr. Newell performs microsurgery, he uses specialized instruments, including a high-powered microscope designed for the operating room.

Microsurgery is generally used in situations where precision is of the utmost importance, such as spinal or brain surgery. The sciatic nerve, and all of the structures associated with it, are delicate, and microsurgery allows Dr. Newell to perform repairs precisely and more safely than would otherwise be possible.

An additional benefit of microsurgery compared with traditional surgery is that the incision into the skin is small. A smaller incision means a smaller risk of infection and a faster recovery.

When conservative treatments fail

There are several reasons why conservative treatments might fail. For example, one study found that some patients who had sciatica due to disc herniation benefitted from having surgery sooner, rather than waiting and trying conservative treatments.

Or you may have found relief from a particular treatment for a time, then it began to lose its effectiveness. In instances like this, microsurgery might be the best option.

Other issues

There are some cases when surgery may be the most appropriate option immediately. For instance, if spinal stenosis is causing your sciatic nerve pain, Dr. Newell may recommend surgery.

In rare cases, spinal compression may cause bowel or bladder problems. If you’re having sciatic nerve pain and bowel or bladder dysfunction, surgery may be the best treatment. Similarly, if you’re experiencing other neurological issues, like severe leg weakness, surgery could be the most timely approach.

Living comfortably

Chronic pain can interfere with your life, making it difficult to meet your obligations or enjoy your favorite activities. When that chronic pain becomes debilitating, making it hard to function at all, surgical intervention may be the best way to reclaim your life.

Any surgery involves some risk, but microsurgery is considered safer than many other types of surgery. The microsurgery that Dr. Newell performs to relieve sciatic nerve pain involves easing the pressure on the nerve by creating space within the spinal canal.


You’ll need some time to recover following surgery. Because of the smaller incision, your recovery is likely to be faster than it would be with a more traditional type of surgery, but you’ll still likely need pain medication for 2-4 weeks.

It will take some time for you to heal well enough to return to your normal daily activities. Dr. Newell will give you thorough, individualized instructions for your recovery.

If you’re experiencing chronic, debilitating sciatic nerve pain, book an appointment online or by phone with Dr. Newell for a consultation about your specific situation.

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