Lumbar Disc Microsurgery

What Is Lumbar Disc Microsurgery?

Lumbar disc microsurgery is a minimally invasive procedure to remove the herniated portion of a lumbar disc that is putting pressure on a spinal nerve root.

The patient is usually given general anesthesia during the procedure. For the lumbar disc microsurgery, the surgeon accesses the herniated disc through a small incision in the lower back. Using special medical microscope cameras, the neurosurgeon can view the nerve root being pinched by the herniated disc. Sometimes a portion of the lamina, the bony arch of the spinal canal, is removed (laminectomy). Using a nerve retractor, the surgeon moves the nerve away from the bulging disc. Once the spinal nerve is safely out of the way, the damaged portion of the disc is then removed, but the healthy part of the vertebral disc remains, to continue providing cushioning and support for your spine.

What Conditions Does Lumbar Disc Microsurgery Treat?

Lumbar disc microsurgery treats a herniated lumbar disc that is impinging on a nerve and often causing severe symptoms of radiculopathy (pain, weakness or tingling along the nerve path). Symptoms of a pinched nerve from a herniated disc generally affect the lower back down through the leg:

  • chronic sciatica (sciatic pain of more than six weeks) in the leg,
  • pain in the buttocks and/or lower back,
  • muscle weakness, tingling, numbness in the legs
  • on rare occasion, bladder and bowel function may be affected

As with any surgery, your physician will likely only recommend this minimally invasive procedure after more conservative approaches to your sciatica or radiculopathy have been tried, such as medication and physical therapy.

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