Can spinal fusion hurt more than having your discs removed?

Depends. Spinal fusion is a larger more complex surgery usually indicated for severe back pain. Disc removal (microscopically assisted) is usually done in my practice as an outpatient surgery and usually less painful. It is indicated for leg pain or nerve irritiation (sciatica).
Yes. Does a fusion hurt more than microdisectomy yes. More exposure of the spine needed for fusion all.Many fusions include disc removal.