Vascular complications after lumbar discectomy are rarely seen. We present a unique and potentially life-threatening postoperative complication from this procedure. A 27-year-old man was admitted to our emergency vascular unit 1 day after a lumbar discectomy, during which a scalpel blade fragmented and a part was lost. Radiological images of the patient were performed and a broken scalpel blade was located anterior to the sacrum. An anterior laparotomy was performed which identified a mass within the left iliac vein that migrated suddenly to the inferior vena cava. An emergency angiography was performed, by which time the scalpel blade had ascended to the right-sided inferior pulmonary artery. It was subsequently removed via a right lateral thoracotomy.