Most postoperative patients with herniated lumbar disc complained of lower leg radiating pain (LRP), referred buttock pain (RBP), and low back pain (LBP). When discectomy is performed, improvement in LRP is observed due to spinal nerve irritation. However, long-term LBP due to degenerative changes in the disc may occur postoperatively. In addition, limited research has been reported on the short-term (within 1 year) improvement in LBP after discectomy. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of discectomy in reducing LBP within 1 year postoperatively.Among the 183 patients who underwent discectomy performed by a single surgeon from January 2010 to December 2016, 106 who met the inclusion and exclusion criteria were enrolled. In the 106 patients who underwent lumbar discectomy, 3 types of spine-related pain were pre-operatively assessed and 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively. Functional outcomes were evaluated, and quality of life was assessed 12 months postoperatively by using the Short-Form 36 questionnaire, which was subdivided into mental and physical components.LBP showed both statistical and clinical improvement within the first 3 months postoperatively, but the improvement was not observed until 12 months postoperatively. RBP and LRP showed both statistical and clinical improvement within the first 3 months and further consistently showed statistical improvement. LBP improved clinically only until 3 months postoperatively regardless of the type of herniation.LBP showed improvement within the first 3 months postoperatively and plateaued afterward, and RBP and radiculopathy showed consistent improvement until 12 months postoperatively. This may explain why patients from 12-month follow-up showed improvement in RBP and radiculopathy but not LBP.

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