A microdiscectomy is a spine surgery utilized to relieve excessive pressure from the spinal cord, especially its nerve root. Though any surgery to the spine is significant in its severity and benefits, microdiscectomies are minimally invasive procedures. With modern medical advancements, surgeons are given more technology to provide more precise surgical treatments.
Surgeons will aim to address the issues that arise when the spine is compromised due to pressure. Depending on the severity and location of the pressure, symptoms of spine pressure can include:
- Progressive back and leg pain
- Progressive back and leg weakness
- Numbness or tingling sensation that radiates from the compromised disc
- Sexual dysfunction
- Reduced hand-eye coordination
- Stiffness in the neck or back
These advancements and imaging tools empower surgeons to maximize the efficacy of spine surgeries, like microdiscectomy. This has led to an impressive 80-90 percent success rate in relieving patients of their spine dysfunction symptoms (source).
For patients experiencing the above symptoms, if you have not found relief from more conservative treatments or rest, stop into your local Dallas orthopedic surgeons office to see if you qualify for microdiscectomy.
The microdiscectomy procedure is performed in a hospital or surgical center, with the patient under the effects of general anesthesia. The doctor will make a small incision above the compromised area of the spine (usually no more than 1.5 inches). Through this micro-incision, the surgeon parts the muscles surrounding the spine and with the aid of a special microscopic instrument (arthroscope), identifies and isolates the damaged disc and herniated nucleus.
Once the damaged disc has been isolated, the surgeon removes a small portion of the bony casing that normally protects and contains the soft nucleus of the vertebral disc. This removal is generally enough to alleviate the pressure being placed on the nerve roots. The muscles will reset into their natural position, and the incision is sutured shut. The wound is dressed, and the patient is sent to post-operative recuperation.
Microdiscectomy should not take more than 2 hours to perform. The possibility of a recurrent disc herniation can occur directly after surgery, with the greatest risk occurring within the first three months. However, if the operated disc suffers a new herniation, a revision microdiscectomy surgery should carry the same success rate as the initial operation.
Microdiscectomy post-operative care is fairly straightforward. Most patients are able to go home the same day of the surgery. It is recommended that patients abstain from any strenuous or high-intensity physical activity for a few weeks following the procedure. Rehabilitative physical therapy will be prescribed in order to strengthen the muscles of the back and slowly recover your full range of motion.
While recovering, there’s no better hands to be in than a physical therapist’s knowledgeable and caring hands. PTs have the experience to ensure patients are recovering at a stable and steady rate, while also providing the mental encouragement and support to make the recovery process much more manageable.
Along with healthy and productive rehabilitation, there is also the risk of potential complications after a serious spine surgery such as Microdiscectomy. Any surgery will carry the risk of infection or simply not achieving the desired results.
Additional complications include nerve damage, soft tissue damage, swelling, bleeding, blood clots and progressive weakness and pain.
Working with the right surgical team and following the guidance of your doctor post-surgery will limit the potential for risks and maximize the restorative benefits of the surgery.