Microdiscectomy, also known as Microdecompression, is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed on patients with a herniated disc or a degenerative disc disease in the lumbar spine.
Microdiscectomy relieves pressure on the nerve root by removing a piece of the bone, which is pressing the spinal nerve. Removing the material pressing down on the spinal nerve alleviates the pressure on the nerve of the affected disc, which in turn reduces the pain associated with it.
Microdiscectomy is a spinal surgery; however, it is minimally invasive as it only needs a small incision. It causes minimal tissue damage, followed by a quick recovery, only a few weeks after the surgery.
Who needs Microdiscectomy
Patients who have the following symptoms may be candidates of a Microdiscectomy:
- Herniated disc.
- Severe pain and numbness in the leg or foot.
- Excruciating back pain.
- Acute neck pain.
- Loss of bladder control.
- Loss of feeling in the leg.
- Loss of feeling in the genital area.
- Nonsurgical treatments for herniated discs, such as physical therapy and pain management, have failed to provide relief from pain.
How is Microdiscectomy Performed
Typically, a Microdiscectomy is performed by board-certified neurosurgeons or orthopedic surgeons. Many of these spine surgeons have specialized training to perform complex surgical procedures such as a Microdiscectomy, Spinal Fusion Surgery, Laser Spine Surgery, surgery to remove brain tumors, and Spinal Stenosis, etc.
Microdiscectomy surgery has five main steps:
- The spine surgeon will give general anesthesia to put the patient to sleep.
- The surgeon locates the affected vertebrae of the spinal cord and makes a small incision in the skin to access the disc material.
- After dilating the muscles to create a space, the spine surgeons create a small opening of the lamina, above and below the spinal nerve.
- Surgeons locate the herniated disc and remove the part which is pressing down the nerve root.
- The tools are retracted, and the incision is stitched closed.
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How Long Does a Microdiscectomy Surgery Take?
- A lumbar microdiscectomy generally takes around one to two hours.
- The surgery may take longer if you have scar tissue from any previous surgeries or other factors.
How Long After Microdiscectomy Can I Bend?
- You have to wait for at least six weeks before you can start bending, twisting, or lifting weights.
- This is to prevent and recurring lumbar disc herniations.
What Should I Avoid After Microdiscectomy?
- You should avoid any strenuous activity like jogging, riding a bicycle, weight lifting, or any aerobic exercise until your surgeon says that it is ok.
- You should also avoid long car rides for a period of two to four weeks after surgery, no more than 30 minutes at a time.
How Long Does Sciatica Last After Microdiscectomy?
- After surgery, mild pain can be expected at the incision site; however, most patients report an immediate improvement in sciatica symptoms.
- You will experience continued improvement during your six weeks recovery period.