If you’ve got painful sciatica caused by a bulging disk in your back, your back and spine specialist may propose microdiscectomy. Also called microdecompression, microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that can help reduce or eliminate pain caused by a herniated disc.
Using special cameras and surgical instruments, back and spine surgeons perform microdiscectomy through a tiny incision near the spine. Because the cut is so small, surrounding tissues and bones are protected from damage, resulting in less hospital time and fewer complications.
Sometimes microdiscectomy can be done in an outpatient setting; sometimes it requires an overnight hospital stay. After anesthetizing the spinal area, your surgeon makes a small incision, typically an inch or less in length. Using a microscopically enhanced view, the surgeon then carefully moves aside back muscles and nerves in order to remove the injured disc tissue that’s impinging on your spinal nerve root.
After recovery, your doctor may recommend physical therapy and home exercises to help you return to your normal routine. Studies show that most people who undergo microdiscectomy experience significant pain relief and resume work and daily activities fairly quickly.
Microdiscectomy works especially well for leg pain (sciatica) caused by a herniated disc in the lower back. Talk to your doctor about whether this procedure might be right for you.