A microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive procedure we perform to relieve pressure on the spinal nerve column caused by a herniated lumbar (lower back) disc. Disc herniation is a common condition and can occur either as a result of gradual wear and tear or as an acute injury to the disc.
Symptoms caused by a disc herniation often improve through conservative treatments or on their own. However, patients experiencing leg pain and numbness for more than six weeks may benefit from surgery. Surgery may also be recommended for severe pain that interferes with a patient’s ability to function normally.
While surgery is not needed in all cases, microdiscectomy is considered a highly effective option that can relieve pain quickly. Your doctor will determine whether or not this procedure is right for you after a thorough evaluation of your condition.
Our surgeons perform this minimally invasive procedure using a special microscope to view the disc and nerves. Using this microscope provides a larger view, which, in turn, allows us to make a smaller incision. The smaller the incision, the less damage to surrounding tissue.
The goal of a lumbar microdiscectomy is to remove the disc material that is putting pressure on the nerves by the herniated disc. With the patient lying face down, the surgeon makes an incision directly over the affected disc through which he removes the damaged tissue. He then closes the small incision with sutures. Patients are typically discharged the same day or the morning after an overnight stay in the hospital.
Patients can benefit from a customized physical therapy and exercise program during recovery to help restore strength and flexibility and to reduce recurring back pain or disc herniation. These programs usually start with walking and can progress to bicycling and swimming within a few weeks.
Most patients notice significant improvements in pain and are satisfied with the results of their procedure. This procedure provides comparable results with shorter recovery times than an open discectomy procedure.