A minimally invasive discectomy is a surgical procedure that involves removal of an injured or diseased intervertebral disc to relieve the pressure on the spinal nerve(s) in the lumbar spine or lower back. It is a form of spine surgery that can be used for removing the whole disc or the affected part of the disc.
The lumbar region of the human spine is made up of five lumbar vertebraes and located in the lower back. Discs are the spongy, cartilaginous structures situated between each vertebra. The word ‘ectomy’ means ‘to take out.’
Lumbar discectomy is an operating procedure to release the pressure on the nerve roots or spinal cord by a herniated disc or bone spur formations in the lower back. This condition is known as nerve root compression.
This minimally invasive approach uses a smaller incision in the lower back over the vertebral level to access the lumbar spine. The surgeon removes the whole disc or part of the disc and any bone spurs that are pressing the nerve and causing pain. The removal of the disc reduces the compression of the nerve or nerve root. This treatment approach is considered a decompressive spinal procedure.
The surgical procedure may be decided by the surgeon depending on the requirement of your condition and particular surgical goals.
The traditional open spine surgery includes cutting or stripping the muscles of the spine. Minimally invasive spine surgery includes an incision or small incision and muscle dilation which allows the surgeon to separate the muscles surrounding the spine rather than cutting through them resulting in a quicker recovery.
Usually spine surgery is prescribed when there is a pressure or impingement over the nerve or nerve roots due to herniation of an intervertebral disc which is causing leg pain interfering with daily activities, weakness or numbness in the leg and foot and rarely, impairment in bladder and bowel function.
In this procedure the patient lies on his or her stomach. A small incision is made over the lower back and the surgeon gently separates the muscles to access the affected disc. A tubular retractor can be inserted to produce a portal through which the surgeon can perform the surgery. Through the tubular retractor, a portion of lamina, the bony vertebral component that covers the posterior wall of the spinal canal, is removed to expose the compressed area of the spinal cord or nerve root(s). Removal of the lamina releases the source of compression from the herniated disc or bone spurs. The complete procedure is known as decompression. After the completion of the procedure the small incision is closed leaving behind a minimal scar.
After surgery each patient has their definite post-operative rehabilitation plan that helps the patient to return to their normal active life as soon as possible. Following a discectomy, you may observe an immediate improvement of some or all symptoms or sometime a gradual improvement of the symptoms also may be seen.
The amount of hospitalization depends on the treatment plan. At the end of the first day of the surgery you are allowed to move and walk around the hospital. Returning back to your daily life or to work depends on your level of healing and the type of work and activity level you do
Follow your spinal surgeon’s advice to determine the proper recovery program to augment the healing process.
Talk to your doctor to determine if you are a candidate for minimally invasive lumbar discectomy.
Each patient has particular treatment plan and outcome result which varies from individual to individual. The complications of lumbar discectomy include infection, nerve damage, blood clots or blood loss, bowel and bladder problems and any problem associated with anesthesia. Please refer to your physician to obtain an ample list of indications, warnings or adverse effects or precautions, clinical results and other significant medical information related to the lumbar discectomy procedure.