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Lumbar Microdiscectomy

A microdiscectomy is a surgical procedure performed to provide decompression for spinal stenosis. When a portion of a disc herniates, a portion of its material can press on the spinal nerves and spinal cord. When this happens, the pressure can cause leg pain, back pain and other issues, including loss of bowel control in severe situations. By performing a microdiscectomy, a spinal surgeon can alleviate that pain and allow patients to enjoy a higher quality of life. This is a minimally invasive procedure, and as such, it offers short recovery times, little pain and immediate results. For more information about microdiscectomy procedures and other treatment options for spinal pain, contact Dr. Chetan Patel at the Spine Health Institute by calling 855.576.4427 or 407.303.3410.

Who Benefits from This Procedure?

It’s important to understand that while this minimally invasive procedure can provide substantial relief from spinal compression, it’s not the right choice for all patients. Those who are suffering pain and discomfort from a degenerative disc (due to degenerative disc disease) will find greater benefits through a full discectomy and spinal fusion. In addition, because only a portion of the disc is removed, there is a slight chance that herniation will reoccur in the future, requiring another surgery.

With those cautionary words aside, this type of procedure will benefit most patients who have a herniated (but not degenerative) disc. Because most of the disc material is left in place, there is no need for spinal fusion, and the procedure’s minimally invasive nature ensures that patients are up and on their feet in a relatively short period of time.

How Does It Work?

During a microdiscectomy, Dr. Chetan Patel will insert a small needle into the spine to locate the correct vertebra (utilizing a type of x-ray as guidance). Once the area has been located, a series of graduated dilators will be inserted through the muscles. These allow the muscle tissue to be moved aside rather than cut. When the path to the vertebra is clear, the surgeon will cut away a small portion of the vertebra’s lamina to access the interior. Here, the surgeon will use micro-cutters and lasers to remove the herniated material from the disc. Any debris is vacuumed out of the spinal canal and when the disc is properly trimmed to size, the spine and incision are closed back up.

Recovery Time for Microdiscectomy Procedures

This is a minimally invasive procedure, so patients will be able to get back on their feet as soon as the local anesthesia wears off. Dr. Patel will recommend an exercise program for the patient, which will begin on the day following surgery. Most patients are able to return to their regular activities in a very short period of time and pain relief is usually immediate.

For more information about a microdiscectomy or to learn more about spinal fusion, disc replacement or other options for treating back pain and spine health, contact Dr. Chetan Patel at the Spine Health Institute. For an appointment, call 855.576.4427 or 407.303.3410.

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