Your discs prevent your vertebrae from rubbing against one another. Your discs, however, are sensitive and may wear out over time. As the lining of the disc thins and the disc becomes less flexible, you’re more at risk for the outer lining tearing – also known as a herniated disc. Fortunately, a herniated disc treatment called a microdiscectomy is an option to repair your disc and stop symptoms.
Comparing a Microdiscectomy to a Discectomy
A discectomy and a microdiscectomy have the same purpose – correcting a herniated disc. With a microdiscectomy, a portion of your disc is removed through a small incision.
On the other hand, with a traditional discectomy, your surgeon makes a larger incision. They may only remove a portion of the disc, however, you may need to have the whole disc removed if a small portion isn’t enough to relieve your symptoms.
Determining If You’re a Candidate
If you have a herniated disc, especially if it’s causing you symptoms in the legs due to sciatica, your doctor may suggest back surgery. Generally, this is if you’ve tried other herniated disc treatments without any luck. While most people qualify for a microdiscectomy, your doctor will thoroughly evaluate your medical history to ensure it’s safe for you.
Once you have a surgery date, your surgeon will provide you with any instructions to prepare for the surgery. For instance, you should quit smoking to optimize your recovery. If you take a blood thinner, your surgeon may ask you to stop for a certain length of time.
What to Expect During a Microdiscectomy
You’ll first be given a general anesthetic, so you’re not conscious during the procedure. In some cases, you may be given a local anesthetic and an epidural. Your surgeon will monitor your vitals during the surgery.
Your surgeon will make a small incision in your back. During the procedure, your surgeon will use special tools like a lighted microscope to enlarge the view of your back, so they may perform the back surgery through a smaller than usual incision.
Sometimes, your surgeon will need to remove a part of the bone as well as a portion of your damaged herniated disc. Your practitioner will remove the disc with a special type of surgical scissors.
Lastly, your surgeon will close the open wound using sutures. Usually, you’ll stay overnight at the hospital for monitoring. In some cases, you may be able to leave the same day.
Your surgeon will provide you with instructions for after your surgery. For instance, you’ll need to limit your physical activity for the first few weeks. You’ll also be asked not to lift anything heavy during this time. You’ll also need to perform certain exercises routinely to encourage healing. You’ll receive advice about when you can drive again – do not drive before getting clearance from your surgeon. Your surgeon will discuss the ideal pain relief solution for you as you’re recovering based on your specific needs.
Complications from this minimally invasive procedure are rare. You could experience bleeding or an infection. Your surgeon will take all the necessary steps to avoid these complications and others.
Microdiscectomy in Rochester Hills, MI
At Ahlgren Spine Orthopaedic Surgery, we perform all types of spine surgeries, including microdiscectomy. Dr. Ahlgren underwent specialized training to perform microdiscectomy, and he chose it because he knew that minimally invasive procedures offer many benefits to patients.
Discover what herniated disc treatment is right for you by contacting Ahlgren Spine Orthopaedic Surgery, serving Rochester Hills and the general Michigan area, today at 248-215-8080. You may also use our convenient online appointment request form.