Lumbar Microdiscectomy

What is a lumbar microdiscectomy?

Lumbar microdiscectomy is a procedure that uses an operating microscope to remove a herniated disc that is causing pressure on a nerve in the lower spine. The magnification provided by the microscope enables the neurosurgeon to make a small incision in the skin to perform the discectomy.

Description of Surgery: Intravenous antibiotics are administered before surgery to decrease the risk of infection. You will be anesthetized (put to sleep), and turned face down on the operating table for the surgery. The appropriate disc level may need to be confirmed with an x-ray. A small piece of fat will be removed from under the skin and saved for later use. Muscle is then carefully dissected off the spine. The microscope is then used for better visualization during the remainder of the operation. A small amount of bone will be removed. This bone removal allows easy visualization and identification of the nerve and disc. The disc herniation and any loose fragments in the disc space are removed. The area is then inspected to confirm that there are no other disc fragments pressing on the nerve. The wound is then irrigated with antibiotic solution to decrease the risk of infection. The small piece of saved fat is then placed adjacent to the nerve to minimize scarring. Absorbable stitches are used under the skin to close the incision. Stitches, staples or special “skin glue” are used on the surface of the skin. A sterile dressing is placed over the incision. You will be placed on your back in a hospital bed. The breathing tube is removed (extubated) and you will be taken to the recovery room.