Lumbar microdiscectomy and post-operative activity restrictions: A protocol for a single blinded randomised controlled trial

Chris D. Daly, Kai Zheong Lim, Jennifer Lewis, Kelly Saber, Mohammed Molla, Naor Bar-Zeev, Tony Goldschlager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Lumbar microdiscectomy is the most commonly performed spinal surgery procedure, with over 300,000 cases performed annually in the United States alone. Traditionally, patients were advised to restrict post-operative activity as this was believed to reduce the risk of disc reherniation and progressive instability. However, this practice would often delay patients return to work. In contemporary practice many surgeons do not restrict patient post-operative activity due to the perception this practice is unnecessary. We describe a randomised controlled trial to assess the impact of activity restrictions on clinical outcome following lumbar discectomy. Methods/Design: The lumbar microdiscectomy and post-operative activity restriction trial is a multi-centre, randomised, controlled single blinded trial. Two hundred ten patients due to undergo single level lumbar microdiscectomy without a history of previous spine surgery, infection or fracture are randomised to be advised either restricted or unrestricted activity for a period of 30 days following lumbar microdiscectomy. Actual adherence with trial allocation will be monitored bioelectronically via a wearable device. Outcome assessment at follow up will occur at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months. The primary outcome will be a composite endpoint comprising changes in Visual Analogue Scale (Leg and Back), Oswestry Disability Index and the absence of intervertebral disc reherniation or secondary intervention. Discussion: This randomised controlled trial will directly compare post-operative protocols of activity restrictions and no restrictions following lumbar discectomy with adherence monitored bioelectronically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number312
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 20 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Lumbar Discectomy
  • Post-Operative
  • Restrictions
  • Sitting
  • Spine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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