Microdiscectomy, or also called micro decompression, is a minimally invasive procedure in which disc material below the nerve root or bone over the nerve root (herniated disc) is removed to take away the pressure from nerves that is causing pain.
It is one of the most commonly performed minimally invasive spine surgery and is very effective for relieving leg pain that is caused due to radiculopathy, or sciatica.
Why is microdiscectomy performed?
In between vertebras, there are round cushions called disks that act as shock absorbers, and also allows movements of the back like bending, twisting etc. without rubbing of bones. Whenever any of the disk ruptures (herniates), it pushes itself from between the bones and can also put pressure over the nearby nerves. This condition is called herniated disc and often leads to pain, weakness and numbness in arms, legs and back. Although this pain and other symptoms can be relieved by painkillers or physical therapy but in some cases, surgery is required to remove the herniated part. One of the procedures to remove this herniated part is microdiscectomy.
When is microdiscectomy needed?
Microdiscectomy is usually recommended if patient is not getting any relief from pain and other symptoms even after taking painkillers and/or physical therapy. In an otherwise healthy individual, surgery is indicated if patient experiences following symptoms:
- Extreme pain in the leg that interferes with daily activities for at least six weeks
- Leg pain is the main symptom that disturbs patient, rather than the lower back pain
- Numbness in the arms, legs or back
- Weakness due to pressing of the disk on nerves
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Difficulty in standing or walking
- An MRI scan shows a herniated disc
Who benefits from Microdiscectomy?
Microdiscectomy effectively eliminates sciatica (leg pain) pain that is caused due to compression of spinal nerves by herniated lumbar disc. But it has been observed that microdiscectomy is not effective in relieving back pain.
- Patients with leg pain most often get relief immediately after a microdiscectomy.
- As far as other symptoms like weakness, numbness, bladder control or other neurological symptoms are concerned, patient may get relief in few weeks or months as it may take some time for the nerve root to fully heal and symptoms to subside.
As general rule, microdiscectomy is the most reliable and successful surgery that gives immediate, or nearly immediate, relief from sciatica leg pain that has occurred due to lumbar herniated disc.
A microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that is typically performed by an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon. The procedure is performed through the back and patient is lied on the operating table with face down. The procedure takes around 1-2 hours and is done under general anesthesia. The procedure starts with surgeon making a 1 or 1½-inch incision over the affected area that is in the midline of the low back. A retractor is used to lift and keep the back muscles at side during the procedure. Now the membrane over the nerve roots is removed so that surgeon can access the spine. An operating microscope is used by the surgeon to clearly visualize the nerve root. Depending upon the abnormality, the herniated disc is removed using small instruments so that the pressure caused by it over nerve root is also released. Finally, the muscles are moved back, and incision is closed.
After microdiscectomy, the spinal nerve gets the required space inside the spinal column and pain caused by pinching nerve stops immediately.
Before discharge, physical therapist and occupational therapist instruct the patient about ways to reduce or carefully do lifting, bending, and twisting of back. Also, some exercises are taught to the patient to improve the strength and flexibility of the muscles around the spine.
Advantages of Microdiscectomy
Discectomy can also be performed as an open procedure with a large incision but microdiscectomy is advantageous over open procedure due to the following reasons:
- Immediate relief from leg pain
- Less invasive
- Outpatient procedure with no night stay required in hospital
- Smaller incision of just 1 – 1.5 inch long
- No cutting/trauma to the muscles and tissues
- Less pain and blood loss
- Short and less painful recovery time
- Patient is shifted to the post-operative room soon after the surgery for few hours to monitor any abnormal signs and symptoms.
- Soon after the surgery, patient is given medications for pain relief and antibiotics to prevent infection.
- Ambulation is encouraged as soon as possible after the surgery.
- Patient is discharged mostly on the same day and very rarely a night stay is required at the hospital.
- Patient is advised to avoid heavy weight lifting and other strenuous activities for first few days.
- Patient should also avoid pushing or pulling activities.
- Patient should use support while going up or coming down of stairs.
- Patient is advised to avoid bending or twisting at the waist.
- A brief walk for 10 minutes is must after sitting for more than 45 minutes to one hour at a time.
- Patient should try to walk daily for few steps and gradually increase the number of steps or distance covered.
- Do not drive for the first two weeks.
- Frequent medical check-ups to monitor the health of the patient are advised for first 6 months after surgery.
Results of Microdiscectomy
Most of the patients feel immediate relief from their leg pain. Though there is limited relief in back pain after microdiscectomy. The numbness, stiffness, weakness and discomfort of surgery also decreases with time and patient feel much more comfortable after recovery. Patients with sitting job can resume work as soon as they feel able to sit and stand, while heavy manual employment is restricted for almost 6 months. Slowly other activities are also introduced, and patient can get back to usual lifestyle within 6 weeks after the surgery.
Why MedTours Global?
- We are associated with the best hospitals globally having the emergency infrastructure, fully equipped with the latest technologies and techniques to overcome from every emergency condition.
- Our team of doctors are highly experienced in ‘Emergency Patient Management’ and work together to save the patient.
- Consultation from doctors through e-mail, phone, and video calling.
- Rehabilitation programs are organized to assist complex surgery patients.
- Complete support and assistance being given before and after treatment.
- Cost of treatment is quite less as compared to other service providers.
- We are always ready to offer our helping hand and our services are available Free of Cost 24/7.