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The objective of this study was to prospectively evaluate the diagnostic effectiveness of magnetic resonance imaging for the demonstration of decompression in operated discectomy patients, to document the pattern of morphologic changes on magnetic resonance images, and its correlation with subjective and objective satisfactory outcomes in the immediate postoperative period.A total of 33 patients who underwent surgical treatment for lumbar disk herniation without postsurgical symptoms were studied with a 1.5 T magnetic resonance system. The sequences used were T1, T2, fluid attenuated inversion recovery, and diffusion-weighted imaging without intravenous gadolinium diethylenetriaminepentaacetate.All operated disks exhibited at least some degree of height loss. In the operated level, preoperative disk space height was 0.336 (±0.062) and postoperative disk space height was 0.304 (±0.085). For this comparison, a Student t test for independent variables was used, and there was a significant difference between preoperative and postoperative values (P=0.001). In a level above the operated level, preoperative disk space height was 0.284 (±0.092) and postoperative disk space height was 0.255 (±0.077), and there was no significant difference between preoperative and postoperative values (P=0.348).We consider that the use of rapid sequences may avoid the need for an intravenous contrast medium in most cases, reserving gadolinium diethylenetriaminepentaacetate only for patients who do not fulfill the criteria for hernia or fibrosis.