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What is Microlumbar Discectomy?
Microlumbar Discectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which a compressed nerve root in the lower back due to a herniated inter-vertebral disk is decompressed. Decompression of the nerve root relieves the back and leg pain.
How is Microlumbar Discectomy Performed?
A small incision of approximately one inch is made on the patient’s low back, above the compressed nerve root. An operative microscope is used to remove a crescent shaped part of the bone from the spine, which then discloses the compressed nerve root and herniated inter-vertebral disk. Then, the nerve root is decompressed by removing the disc. The disc nucleus that is degenerated is removed with a curette from the central disc space. The incision is then closed with dissolvable sutures.
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 an MRI or CT scan before a microlumbar discectomy.
Approximately 1 hour
Most patients can return home on the same day of the surgery. Patients may be discharged within 24 hours after the surgery.
- The bandage may be removed before the patient is discharged from the hospital. If not, it will be removed 24 to 36 hours after the surgery.
- If the sutures or staples are not dissolvable, they will be removed after two weeks.
- The patient may experience post-surgery muscle spasm. Medication may be provided for this.
The risks involved in microlumbar discectomy are rare. They include:
- Injury to the nerve roots
- Damage to the spinal structures
- Risks of anesthesia
- Numbness or weakness
- The patient’s wounds should be dressed daily and checked for any infection and swelling.
- The doctor should be informed if the patient has fever.
- Regular diet may be followed by the patient.
- The patient should not strain to have a bowel movement.
- The patient may take a shower 3 days after the surgery. However, bathtubs and swimming pools should be avoided.
- The patient should not drive for 2 to 3 weeks after the surgery.
- Sitting intervals should be limited to 20 to 30 minutes.
- Walking is encouraged.
- Strenuous activities and lifting heavy objects should be avoided.
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