If the Ireland lock proves his fitness, he could come into the selection picture for the summer tour of Australia.
It had been feared that the Munster star would miss the tour because of a bulging disc in his back.
"I am delighted with the way the operation went," he said. "More importantly, so too are the medical team who carried out the operation and I am very grateful to all concerned.
"My aim now is to start rehab as soon as is practicable.
"In terms of a return, I'd be looking at early April when hopefully Munster will be in contention for trophies on two fronts."
O'Connell missed seven months of action because of a knee injury and made a surprise return in the Heineken Cup in October.
His chronic back problem then flared up again, ruling him out of the autumn internationals and the Six Nations.
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The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
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Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
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The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.