Foster's operation will take place Thursday in Los Angeles and will be performed by Dr. Robert Watkins, according to a source.
Foster did not practice all last week while receiving opinions from doctors. He had hoped to avoid surgery. But Foster has visited with three doctors -- one in the Houston area, and two nationally -- and each has recommended he undergo back surgery at some point.
Foster wanted to play through the injury he aggravated during the Texans' 27-24 loss to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday night but ultimately decided with doctors that would be too risky.
Foster only played in the first series against the Colts. He had been dealing with the back injury for a week prior, Texans interim head coach Wade Phillips said last week.
Foster also suffered a hamstring injury on Oct. 20 that kept him from finishing the Texans' road game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The injury left Houston with just one active running back, Ben Tate, who finished the game while playing through four broken ribs.
The team limited Foster early in the season because he missed the preseason while dealing with a calf injury and then a back injury.
He scored his only touchdown of the season in Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans -- the last time the Texans won.
He had his first 100-yard game in the Texans' 23-20 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks when he gained 102 yards on 27 attempts. He gained 98 yards on 21 attempts the following week in San Francisco and had his best game against the St. Louis Rams with 141 yards on 20 carries, averaging 7.1 yards per carry in that game.
Fantex, the company that has expressed its intention to offer stock in Foster, told ESPN.com that it will refrain from comment about the future of the offering until after the Texans formally announce details of Foster's future.
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and ESPN.com's Darren Rovell contributed to this report.