Spinal microdiscectomy

What is spinal microdiscetomy?

Spinal microdiscectomy can be performed by an orthopedic spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon. Some patients will stay in hospital over night after the operation whilst some procedures can be performed as a day case.

Minimally invasive microdiscectomy is a common, safe, and effective operation, commonly performed by spinal surgeons. In order for the operation to have the maximum chance of success there has to be good evidence of nerve compression in the lumbar spine (preferably with an MRI scan) with pain, weakness, or numbness in the leg or legs corresponding to the MRI results. Most patients with sciatica due to a disc prolapse will improve without surgery. This operation is usually performed if the sciatic pain has not responded to non-operative treatment such as physiotherapy, and the pain has persisted beyond six to eight weeks.

What does this involve?

In microdiscectomy spine surgery, a small portion of the bone over the nerve root and/or disc material from under the nerve root is removed to relieve neural impingement and provide more room for the nerve to heal.

The day case procedure is suitable for most patients undergoing simple lumbar microdiscectomy and is also appropriate for a number of patients undergoing surgical decompression of the lumbar spine without fusion. A lumbar microdiscectomy is an operation performed to decompress the nerve(s) in the lumbar spine by removing a disc prolapse via a small incision. The procedure requires a minimally invasive surgical approach via an incision 1.5-2.5cm in length, taking a standard approach to the lumbar inter-space; then, under a high powered microscope, the disc prolapse is then carefully excised from under the compressed nerve root.

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