Discectomy is a surgical treatment of pain caused by a prolapsed disc. It is the surgical removal of the disc material that is irritating the nerve root. It is performed in patients who have on-going pain that has not been eased by rest or injections, or who develop progressive neurological signs and symptoms such as weakness and numbness.
There are two major types of discectomy procedure that make sure the patient gets the right treatment for their pain and worry as:
- Endoscopic discectomy (laser)
- Microscopic discectomy (laser)
Endoscopic Discectomy (laser)
It is a modern minimally invasive technique that doesn’t require bone removal, destruction of muscles or large skin incisions. Instead we use the endoscope under fluoroscopic guidance, to ensure precision and best visualization of the intervertebral space that is suffering. Depending on the location of the herniated disc, cervical or lumbar, the operation can be carried out either in supine, prone or lateral position. Then with the aid of fluoroscopy we localize the intervertebral disc space that suffers.
Initially a guide wire is introduced in the intervertebral disc. With this guide wire special tubes are gradually introduced in order to widen the opening for installation of the endoscopic system. Subsequently the endoscopic discectomy takes place using special instruments. At the end of the procedure the endoscopic system is removed and the incision is sutured with one or two stitches.
Microscopic discectomy (laser)
An operating microscope is used to aid in removing the offending disc thereby minimising the incision and violation of adjoining structures.
Advantages of Endoscopic/ Microscopic Discectomy:
- Minimally Invasive
- Short hospitalization time (day surgery)
- Ensures Spine mobility
- Minimal blood loss
- Small size incision (1.5 cm)
- Less morbidity
- Faster rehabilitation
After Surgery Benefits:
- Dramatic pain relief
- Better range of movement
- Improved mobility
- Better quality of life
Post Op Recovery
The patient remains in the hospital 12 to 24 hours and may return to normal activity in a few days.
Factors to Consider Discectomy:
- Do you have an intractable pain radiating to legs despite rest and medications?
- Do you have weakness in the leg/ foot/toes?
- Do you experience difficulty in urination/defecation?
- Is there significant numbness in the lower limbs?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, then Discectomy is worth exploring.