A minimally invasive procedure performed on patients with a herniated disc, Microdiscectomy’s aim to eliminate pain caused from compression of the spinal nerve. A minimally invasive procedure means that the surgeon only needs to create a small incision rather than a large open incision. Minimally invasive procedures promote a quicker healing time and often less pain than an open procedure.
Patients suffering from pain due to sciatica or a herniated disc may qualify for undergoing a microdiscectomy procedure. Symptoms of sciatic or a herniated disc include:
- Lower back pain
- Numbness and tingling in limbs
- Muscle weakness
- Pain that radiates from the buttocks down the legs
- Pain or problems flexing and extending the back
performing a microdiscectomy
Many board certified spinal surgeons perform microdiscectomy’s with the patient under general anesthesia. Under general anesthesia, the patient remains fully asleep for the entirety of the procedure. While asleep, the patient cannot feel anything. Other board certified spinal surgeons perform microdiscectomy’s using local anesthesia and epidural anesthesia. With a patient under local anesthesia and epidural anesthesia, the patient remains in a twilight state. They patient stays awake for the procedure but unaware and unable to feel the procedure. To access the patients back, the patient lays face down with their back exposed to the spinal surgeon. The surgeon creates a small incision, 1-1.5 inches, over the injured disc. The spine surgeon examines the area and may removed a small piece of bone. Nerve roots have small pieces of bone covering them for protection and occasionally the surgeon may need to remove this piece of bone. The surgeon locates the herniated disc and removes the damaged tissue. Removing the herniated disc allows the spinal nerves to have the space they need within the spinal column. Without the herniated disc pressing on them, the patient should have their pain alleviated immediately. The surgeon then closes the incision and that completes the microdiscectomy procedure.
Recovering FROM A MICRODISCECTOMY
Microdiscectomy’s have a shorter recovery period than many other spine surgeries. Minimally invasive procedures have a shorter recovery period due to having a smaller incision. Having a smaller incision means that the surgeon cut through less tissue than if they had to create a large incision and move tissues out of the way to access the spine like during other procedures.
Prior to leaving the hospital, the patient often meets with a physical therapist and occupational therapist. The physical therapist teaches the patient exercises to protect and strengthen the muscles and tissues of the back. Occupational therapists teach the patient how to reduce the bending, lifting, and twisting of the back during every day activities.
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