Hangeland had already been sidelined for a month with sciatic nerve damage in his right leg, but the Norway defender has now been told he needs surgery to cure the problem.

Fulham had hoped to bring the 32-year-old back to full fitness without an operation.

But Cottagers manager Rene Meulensteen revealed on Friday that Hangeland has decided to have the surgery and will need six more weeks to recover.

Meulensteen, whose team are third bottom of the table and three points from safety, conceded Hangeland's absence will be a big loss during the busy Christmas period.

"Brede is a bit of a disappointment to be honest because we have looked at all medical strategies and it's a bit of an awkward one," Meulensteen said.

"He's seen another surgeon and a specialist and I think they have decided that they're going for the surgery, which will keep him out for at least six weeks.

"But on a positive note we know now and there's clarity. He can focus on the rehabilitation so when he comes back he will be like a new player for us."