Lumbar microdiscectomy is an operation on the lumbar spine performed by utilizing a surgical microscope and microsurgical techniques. The procedure requires only a very small incision and will remove only that portion of a ruptured disc that is pinching one or more spinal nerve roots. Recovery time is usually much less than is required for traditional lumbar surgery.
In general, lumbar microdiscectomy is recommended when a ruptured disc is pinching one or more spinal nerve roots and a patient is experiencing leg pain, weakness in legs or feet, numbness in extremities and impaired bladder and/or bowel function.
Guided by the microscope, the surgeon will remove a small portion of bony material from the vertebra. Once this material is removed, the surgeon can locate the exact area where the nerve root is being pinched and determine the extent of the pressure on the nerve.
Using microsurgical procedures, the surgeon will remove the ruptured portion of the disc along with any fragments which have broken off from the main disc. The amount of work required to complete the microdiscectomy will depend in part on the number of disc fragments present and the difficulty presented in finding and removing them.