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What is Microdiscectomy Spine Surgery?
Microdiscectomy spine surgery is a surgical procedure to treat a herniated disc in order to relieve pain in the lower back and leg. A microdiscectomy spine surgery reduces neural impingement and creates space for the repair of the nerve. The surgery involves removal of a part of the inter-vertebral disc that is herniated and compressing the spinal nerve roots. Microdiscectomy spine surgery uses a minimally invasive microscopic surgical method which allows a fast recovery.
How is a Microdiscectomy Spine Surgery Performed?
In a microdiscectomy spine surgery, a magnifying device is used to examine the disc and nerves. Using this it becomes possible to perform the surgery through a small incision of 1 or 1.5 inches. The incision is made in the lower back midline. The muscles of the back are moved out of the lamina of the spine. The membrane above the nerve roots is removed. Usually, a part of the inner facet joint is also removed to access the nerve root and remove pressure on the nerve. The nerve root is gently moved out of the way, and the disk is removed from beneath the nerve root. To complete the surgery, all the layers of incisions are closed with stitches or staples.
How to Prepare for the Surgery?
Duration of procedure/surgery:
- The patient should inform the doctor about any ailments, medical conditions and medication that the patient may be taking.
- The patient should not smoke for several days before the surgery.
- Two weeks prior to the surgery, the doctor may stop certain medication that the patient may be taking.
- The patient is required to do some tests before the surgery. They may include the following:
Approximately 1 hour
Patients usually stay overnight in the hospital after the surgery. However, some patients may return home on the same day of the surgery.
- The patient is encouraged to move around once the anesthesia wears off.
- Pain medication may be prescribed by the doctor.
- Sitting for more than 15-20 minutes may cause discomfort and should be avoided.
- Some patient may need to undergo rehabilitation, which includes physical therapy.
- Follow up visits may be scheduled by the doctor and the surgical stitches may be removed during these visits.
The risks involved in microdiscectomy spine surgery are rare. They include:
- Injury to the nerve roots
- Damage to the spinal structures
- Blood clot
- Risks of anesthesia
- Leakage of cerebrospinal fluid
- Bowel and bladder incontinence
- No pain relief
- Patients should avoid strenuous activities that cause pain.
- Patients may walk to exercise for a few weeks after the surgery. This also reduces the risk of severe scar tissues.
- Exercises like bicycling and swimming may be started 2 weeks after the surgery if the doctor permits.
- Activities that involve bending and twisting of the waist should be avoided for 2 to 4 weeks after the surgery.
- Patients with a sedentary job may return to work in one to two weeks after surgery. However, patients with strenuous jobs may need to avoid working for four to six weeks.
- The incision area should be kept dry.
- Patients should avoid taking baths and showers until the wound has healed, usually around 2 weeks after the surgery.
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