What Is A Microdiscectomy?

A Microdiscectomy is a procedure used to treat pain caused as a result of disc herniations by removing only the herniated portions of the spinal disc while leaving the remaining portions of the disc intact.  This procedure is commonly performed for those who are experiencing pain that radiates into the buttocks and legs (Sciatica) but can also be performed for patients with cervical or thoracic radiculopathy

By removing the herniated portions of disc, and any bone spurs, the spinal nerves that are causing pain and numbness are no longer impinged.

How is a Microdiscectomy Performed?

First, a small incision (usually 1 inch) is made directly above the spinal disc.  Next, the erector spinae (back muscles) are gently lifted off the lamina of spine.  A small membrane, known as the ligamentum flavum, which is present over the nerve roots of the spine, is removed as well.  A small portion of bone from the facet joint may also be removed.  

Next, a small operative microscope is used to visualize the affected disc. Small surgical instruments are then used to remove only the herniated portion of the spinal disc.  The incision is then closed and covered with a small sutures or bandage.   

In most cases, a Microdiscectomy can be performed on an outpatient basis due to the reduced trauma to the spine and muscular structures.   In fact, most patients are up and walking shortly after this procedure and physical therapy will begin within a few days of the procedure, if needed.