Minimally Invasive Lumbar Discectomy

When is a Discectomy Necessary? 

Discs are spongy, cartilage structures throughout the spine’s vertebrae that protect the bones from causing irritations to the muscles, nerves, and other surrounding tissues that support the back. When those discs are damaged and press on nerves, it can cause: leg pain or weakness, difficulty walking, numbness, lack of sensation, weakness in the foot. Surgery is usually necessary when a person has leg weakness. If a person has back and leg pain, but no weakness, a trial of physical therapy, injections, and medications are generally recommended. If the pain persists despite this, then surgery is necessary.

How is a Discectomy Performed? 

  • A discectomy can be performed in a variety of ways. To learn more about endoscopic spinal approaches, please visit:
  • Once the patient is positioned on the operating room table, a small incision is made along the lower back 
  • A small tubular retractor is placed to allow the muscles to be separated, giving the surgeon access to perform on the site.
  • Through this retractor, herniated or damaged discs can be removed.
  • Once removed, the procedure is complete.
  • The surgeon will then place either a small stitch for the skin or skin glue
  • The patient is taken to the recovery room and sent home.

What is Recovery from a Discectomy?

This is a same day procedure. The procedure takes approximately 1 hour, and a person can go home immediately after the surgery. There are usually no external stitches, just skin glue. You can return to work whenever you feel comfortable. There are no major restrictions after surgery. It is recommended to avoid heavy lifting for a month. 

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