Spinal Fusion

What is microdiscectomy?

Microdiscectomy, or microdecompression, is a minimally invasive surgery to remove a herniated disc that presses on your spinal canal or nerve roots and causes you pain. The microdiscectomy procedure uses a microscope to allow a small incision, less bleeding, and a shorter recovery time. It is performed under general anesthesia, but it has fewer risks and complications than an open discectomy because it is minimally invasive. Patients can go home the same day or the following morning.

Why might I need a microdiscectomy?

You may be a good candidate for the procedure if you experience:

  • Pain radiating down the arm or leg
  • Numbness or weakness affecting the ability to walk
  • Non-surgical treatments have not relieved your pain after 6-12 weeks (e.g. physical therapy, injections, medications)

To find out if microdiscectomy is right for you, we review your symptoms and medical history. We may also use X-rays or MRIs to determine the type and severity of your injury so that we can discuss the approach that best meets your personalized needs.

What should I expect during the procedure?

Microdiscectomy is done under general anesthesia, lying face down. We will use a microscope to see the disc and nerve during the procedure.

  1. A small incision is made over the herniated disc.
  2. It may be necessary to remove a small piece of bone over the nerve root.
  3. The herniated tissue that is pressing on the nerve is removed. This should relieve your symptoms.
  4. Your incision will be closed with absorbable sutures.

What happens after microdiscectomy?

You can walk around as soon as the numbness wears off and resume normal everyday activities when we give the OK. Walk as much as you can during the first few weeks of your recovery and wear a brace if recommended.

Completing a physical therapy program accelerates healing and helps prevent future injuries. We will let you know when it’s safe to go back to work and lift objects.

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