What is it?
A Lumbar Microdiscectomy is used to alleviate the symptoms of a herniated disc in the lower spine (lumbar spine is L1 to L5). A Herniated disc may press on a nerve root or the spinal cord causing pain, numbness and weakness. Removing the disc alleviates the pressure caused by the bulging disc on the surrounding nerve roots and spinal cord.
A surgeon will get a diagnostic test done to confirm the herniated disc (MRI, CT, myelogram). Anterior Cervical Discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is generally recommended after other non-surgical treatments have failed to alleviate symptoms.
What causes it?
Approximately 90% of disc herniations will occur toward the bottom of the spine at L4- L5 (lumbar segments 4 and 5) or L5- S1 (lumbar segment 5 and sacral segment1), which causes pain in the L5 nerve or S1 nerve, respectively.
A disc herniation happens when the nucleus inside the center of the disc pushes through the annulus, the ligaments surrounding the nucleus. The herniated disc material may push outward, causing pain. Numbness or weakness in the arm occurs when the nucleus pushes on the spinal nerve root. Of greater concern is a condition in which the nucleus herniates straight backward into the spinal cord, called a central herniation. Discectomy relieves pressure on the ligaments, nerves, or spinal cord.
- Significant leg pain, numbness, or weakness that inhibits daily activities
- Leg symptoms do not get better after nonsurgical treatment
- Results of a physical exam show weakness, loss of motion, or abnormal feeling that is likely to get better after surgery
How does procedure work?
Microdiscectomy uses a special microscope to view the disc and nerves. Instead of actually looking at the herniated disc fragment and removing it, your surgeon uses a small camera to find the fragment and special instruments to remove it.
When performing a microdiscectomy, a surgeon does not need to remove the lamina first (as is the case with open discectomy). A retractor is used to spread apart the lamina bones above and below the disc exposing the problem disc area. Only the damaged portion of the disc is removed leaving the rest of the disc intact. Your physician will determine the most appropriate procedure for your condition.
Sierra Neurosurgery Group Resources
The physicians of Sierra Neurosurgery Group are all well trained and experienced in lumbar discectomies and micro discectomies. With all surgeons in the practice board certified or board eligible, complex spinal surgeries are an integral part of their training.