Does a pinched nerve (sciatica) always stay pinched unless surgery is given? Will it always show up on an MRI if surgery is given?

Disk herniations cause leg pain (sciatica) by pinching the sciatic nerve in the back.   Disk herniations may resolve on their own over a year or so, but they usually just get a little smaller as seen on multiple MRI .  Surgery is the best treatment to physically remove the disk.  Today this can be done endoscopically (endoscopic discectomy) though a very small incision the size of your finger nail. The endoscopic port is placed right onto the herniated disk and the disk is removed with tiny instruments.  This is a new minimally invasive treatment for back and leg pain.

Disk herniations may show up after surgery on MRI scan, but it usually is smaller.   Postoperatively the the disk that is seen is a combination of disk, bulging ligaments and scar tissue.

For more information on sciatica please contact Executive Spine Surgery. Good Luck!