Minimally Invasive Microdiscectomy
A microdiscectomy, also known as microdecompression spine surgery, is a surgical procedure that removes part of an impinged intervertebral disc in order to relieve pain, weakness and numbness throughout the body. It is usually reserved for patients with severe symptoms that do not respond to more conservative treatments, and significantly affect the patient’s quality of life.
The microdiscectomy procedure is most effective in relieving lower back and leg pain caused by lumbar disc herniation, although it may be performed in the cervical and thoracic spine as well. A herniated disc is a common condition that occurs as a result of gradual wear and tear or an injury to the intervertebral discs, causing it to bulge and break open. Patients with this condition often experience pain, numbness and weakness in the affected area, as well as through the legs or arms, depending on the location of the disc.
In some cases, microdiscectomy can be performed laparoscopically, in which surgical instruments and a camera are inserted through several tiny incisions. The camera allows the surgeon to magnify the view of the affected area and precisely remove the disc with no damage to the surrounding area.
Indications for Microdiscectomy
Symptoms caused by a disc herniation often improve through conservative treatments or on its 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. It is important for patients to be healthy enough to undergo major surgery and a rehabilitation program, as well as to have realistic expectations for the outcome of this procedure.
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.
During the microdiscectomy procedure, an incision is made in the back at the location of the affected disc, and the muscles are lifted away to access the spine. Small surgical instruments and a microscope are inserted into this incision to repair the affected disc using minimally invasive techniques. Once the targeted nerve root is identified, the disc is removed from under the root, and a small portion of the facet joint may be removed as well to relieve pressure on the nerve.
The muscles are then placed back in their original position and the incision closed with sutures. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia in a hospital setting. A short hospital stay is often required after surgery.