A microdiscectomy, also known as a microdecompression, is a minimally invasive procedure conducted to relieve nerve impingement (pinched nerves) and allow the nerves to heal.
*This procedure can also be performed minimally invasive.
Microdiscectomy is performed when all other methods of treatment for disc herniation or radiculopathy have been exhausted. It is also generally recommended for patients who have experienced leg pain for a minimum of six weeks.
During the Procedure
During the microdiscectomy, Dr. LaRocca will create a small incision (1 inch to 1 1/2 inches) in the lower back (lumbar region), lift the back muscles from the bony arches of the spine and move them out of the way. The membrane that protects the nerve roots known as the ligamentum flavum is then removed and operating glasses (loupes) or an operating microscope are utilized to visualize the nerve root. The affected nerve root is moved to the side and this disc material beneath the root causing the impingement is removed.
Because all of the joints, ligaments and muscles are left intact, a microdiscectomy will not change the function of the lumbar spine in any way, making it minimally invasive and shortening recovery time.
After the Procedure
A microdiscectomy is generally performed on an outpatient basis, with patients going home the same day or the day after surgery. Patients may be asked to restrict certain forms of movement, such as bending, twisting or lifting for the first few weeks following their procedure.