Minimally invasive discectomy – also called percutaneous disc removal
Minimally invasive discectomy is a procedure used to remove a portion of a herniated or degenerated disc that is pushing on or compressing spinal nerves. These herniated discs can cause shooting leg pain or numbness. Because it is a minimally invasive procedure, this is accomplished through just a small incision. This approach minimizes the damage and trauma done to the muscles in the low back.
Minimally invasive discectomy procedure specifics
An incision just one inch in length is made on the lower back, off to the side. The surgeon will guide a needle or thin wire through the muscles and tissue to the spine, and both dilators and a retractor device are used to open up the surgical field.
Through the opening provided by the retractor the surgeon removes portions of the lamina as well as fact joint bones. This removal is what enables the surgeon to get to the affected disc and spinal nerves. The herniated disc is then removed in order to relieve nerve pressure.
Following a minimally invasive discectomy patients will typically experience quick relief of leg pain, though numbness may continue for several weeks afterward. Patients are asked to avoid strenuous exercise as well as heavy lifting for at least six weeks.