Lumbar Microdiscectomy

A lumbar microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive procedure for removing the herniated portion of a disc that is pressing on a spinal nerve root and causing leg pain, back pain, and other issues, depending on the severity of the situation. The procedure can provide substantial and near-immediate relief from spinal compression.

How It Works

Under general anesthesia, your neurosurgeon inserts a small needle into your spine using imaging guidance to locate the correct vertebra. Once the area is pinpointed, a channel is created through the muscles of the back and into the spinal canal. The diseased disc and inflamed nerve are identified, and any extruded fragments are removed from the surrounding tissues, alleviating the pressure on adjacent nerves.

Conditions Treated

Lumbar microdiscectomy is specifically used to treat a lumbar herniated disc, a condition in which the outer portion of the vertebral disc is torn, allowing the inner portion of the disc to extrude through its fibers. This condition most often affects people between the ages of 35 and 50.

Benefits of Treatment

The potential benefits associated with lumbar microdiscectomy include:

  • Healthy disc material remains in place and continues its normal function.
  • Neighboring discs are not damaged.
  • The procedure can be done through a very small incision.
  • The procedure may improve or eliminate leg pain caused by a pinched nerve from a herniated disc.
  • Rapid recovery and short rehabilitation are the norm.

Are You a Candidate?

You may be a candidate for a lumbar microdiscectomy if:

  • Diagnostic tests show you have a herniated disc and you have not found pain relief from physical therapy or medication.
  • You have significant pain, weakness or numbness in your leg or foot for at least six weeks.
  • Leg pain is your main symptom, rather than simply lower back pain.
  • You’re experiencing loss of feeling in the genital area and loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • You have trouble standing or walking.