Microdiscectomy

Microdiscectomy or microdecompression is performed under general anesthesia. The back is cleansed and prepared for surgery. A tiny skin incision is made approximately the width of a dime. Microsurgical instruments are guided by fluoroscopy (surgical imaging).

Sequential dilation with special tubes is performed until the spine can be directly visualized using the operative microscope through a very narrow tube. A small window is made in the bone to allow access to the pinched nerves that are located within the spinal canal. The nerves are gently moved to the side and protected using specialized microsurgical instruments. The offending disc fragment or piece of the herniated (ruptured) disc is then removed. The nerves are then examined and gently probed to ensure that they are free of any further compression or problems. The wound is then washed out with antibiotics prior to removal of the tube retractor. Once the procedure is complete, the wound is closed with absorbable stitches and a bandage is placed the size of a large bandaid.