A common source of back pain, a herniated disc often responds well to conservative treatments like physical therapy and mortification of activities or movements. When such remedies fail to provide relief for 6 months or longer, surgery often becomes an option. One of the common procedures performed in these cases is a microdiscectomy, a minimally invasive spine surgery that relieves pressure on the spinal nerves.
Why It’s Performed
The spine is supported by several spongy discs nestled between vertebra filled with a soft, gel-like substance in the middle. When this inner disc material slips outward, it sometimes presses on nerve roots, which results in some degree of pain. The microdiscectomy procedure is performed to remove the part of the disc compressing a nerve.
How It’s Performed
A microdiscectomy is performed with a series of a small incisions less than 2 inches long. A special instrument with a camera attached is inserted through one incision to allow the surgeon to see inside on a monitor in the operating room. The other incisions are used to remove the damaged part of the disc and manipulate the necessary instruments.
The Benefits of This Type of Surgery
Also referred to as microdecompression, a microdiscectomy often provides near-immediate relief from related leg pain. Unlike an open spine surgery procedure where muscles and ligaments need to be moved aside, these tissues are left almost untouched during a microdiscectomy, reducing the risk of complications. Patients also benefit from:
- Shorter recovery times
- Faster healing of incisions
- No overnight hospitalization
- A surgery success rate ranging from 90 to 95 percent
Though a microdiscectomy is an outpatient procedure with fewer risks, full recovery generally takes a few months. Recuperation often includes short-term use of pain medications immediately afterward, physical therapy, and a gradual return to normal daily activities. Any unusual pain or discomfort experienced after the surgery should be mentioned to your board-certified spinal surgeon.
If you have further questions regarding microdiscectomies or other types of spine procedures, contact Dr. Hyun Bae at The Spine Institute Center today. Call our office at 310-828-7757 to schedule an appointment.