Microdiscectomy Surgery

Posted Monday, March 5, 2018

Did You Know? The average adult spine consists of 33 vertebrae.

80% of People in the U.S. Will Experience Back Pain  

83 Million Americans Indicate That Back Pain Affects Basic Functioning in Their Everyday Lives

Fortunately, surgical advances have improved the process of repairing herniated discs from large incisions and long recovery periods to a minimally invasive procedure called microdiscectomy. 

The following guide provides information on herniated disc problems as well as a description of microdiscectomy procedures. 

01 | Disc Herniation

Lumbar disc herniation occurs when a disc in the lower back bulges out. This herniated disc may press on nerves of the spinal cord, causing pain, numbness and weakness in the area of the body wear the nerve travels. A herniated disc in the lower back can cause sciatica – pain and numbness in the buttock and down the affected leg. 

02 | When Microdiscectomy is Recommended

When the herniation progresses and damaged tissue extends into the spinal column, it presses against nerves and sends pain signals to the brain. This pain is interpreted to be coming from the legs. If the pain from sciatica lasts more than 12 weeks, microdiscectomy may be indicated. 

03 | How the Procedure is Performed

This procedure removes the disc material that is bulging from the disc and putting pressure on the nerves. The patient is placed under general anesthesia and placed facedown.

  • A 1-1 ½ inch incision is made directly over the affected disc
  • A lighted microscope helps guide the surgeon to see the herniated disc
  • The surgeon may remove small portion of bone protecting the root nerve
  • The damaged tissue will be removed, relieving pressure on the affected nerves
  • The incision is closed with sutures
  • The patient is normally discharged same day or the next morning

04 | Recovery

A physical or occupational therapist will likely meet with you before leaving the hospital/surgery center to give you post-op instructions and exercises to perform to improve the strength and flexibility of the muscles around the spine. 

For the first week or two, you should expect to rest. Avoid lifting heavy objects for 2-4 weeks. Full recovery time is approximately six weeks. 

Learn more about the procedure here: https://www.spine-health.com/video/microdiscectomy-surgery-video-a-spine-surgeon-explains-procedure

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