Micro Discectomy / Laminectomy
This procedure is performed through an incision (~2cm or less than ½ inch) down the center of the back over the area of the herniated disc. The muscles are dilated and spread so that a tube can be placed next to the spine. This is to allow the surgeon to have a working portal to the back of the vertebrae. The surgeon positions a microscope in the small incision. Improvements have been made in the tools available to the spinal surgeon which allows them to make such a small incision. X-rays may be required during surgery to make sure the correct vertebra is located. The doctor cuts a small opening through the lamina bone on the back of the spinal column. This procedure, called “laminotomy,” is used to give the doctor room to see and work inside the spinal canal. The nerve roots are moved out of the way. Upon locating the herniated disc, the surgeon removes it, easing pressure and irritation on the nerves of the spine. Small instruments that fit inside the disc are used to remove as much of the disc as possible. This prevents the remaining disc material from herniating in the future. The muscles of the back are returned to their normal position around the spine after the tube is removed. The skin incision is repaired with absorbable sutures. Microdiscectomy is essentially the same as traditional discectomy, but this newer approach has several advantages. A much smaller incision is need when performing a microdiscectomy. There is less damage to nearby parts of the spine and muscles. Patients tend to recover faster.