Microdiscectomy is one of the common minimally invasive spine surgical procedures. It is also known as microdecompression. In this process, the surgeon frees the nerve by removing a small piece of disc and bone. It is a surgical procedure to relieve pain when a herniated disc in the backbone presses an adjacent nerve root. Generally, discectomies are performed using an open technique. Your surgeon makes large incisions or cuts your back muscles to see your spine, which causes muscle damage and painful recovery. While in minimally invasive surgeries, surgeons make incisions in a restricted area and use small tools and instruments for surgery, which can reduce the risk of damage to your muscles and result in less painful recovery.
Microdiscectomies can be performed using three main techniques: Mini-open: this is similar to an open discectomy, but your surgeon uses advanced techniques to view your spine to lessen the pain and damage to your muscles.
Tubular: in this procedure, your surgeon inserts a small tube through a small incision. Then gently push that tube through your muscles until it reaches your spine. They can use more than one tube, and these tubes gradually open the area where the surgery is performed. Then, your surgeon uses special instruments to remove a part of your disc through the tube.
Endoscopic: this process includes inserting a tiny camera through a tube from which your surgeon can see your spine easily and remove disc material.
Using the techniques above, your surgeon will remove the part of your disc that is pressing on your nerve or spinal cord.
Length of surgery:
Microdiscectomy usually takes 30 to 60 minutes, as patients are given general anesthesia and need to be monitored for some period.
Type of anesthesia:
This surgery is done under “General Anesthesia.” It will make you unconscious, and you will be unable to feel anything during the entire procedure.
Microdiscectomy is a safe surgery, but there are always some complications when it comes to any surgery. Here are the following risks you may face:
Nerve root damage
A tear in the dura (the tissue around the spinal nerves) may occur.
Recurrent disc herniation
The recovery time of this surgery is shorter than other surgeries. Generally, they discharge the patient on the same day or after 24 hours of observation. It will be good to meet a physical therapist before leaving the hospital. They will instruct you to bend, lift, and twist your back. You can do some exercises with your therapist’s help to improve your muscles’ flexibility and strength. It may take almost 8 weeks to get back into your normal routine. For the first two weeks, you must avoid lifting heavy objects, as it can cause severe damage to your muscles. As you have just finished your surgery, it will take weeks to heal your wound. Recovery can take time. During this period, you have to do physical exercises prescribed by your therapist. It will make your recovery faster.