Microdiscectomy is one of the newest surgical interventions for herniated lumbar discs. It offers a better post-operative patient quality of life than alternative procedures. Herniated lumbar discs exert pressure on the spinal cord or leg nerves, and this may lead to neurological damage.
A minimally invasive intervention
There are multiple advantages of microdiscectomy. Firstly, it offers the doctor a detailed view of the damaged area thanks to a state-of-the-art microscope with which to visualize the disc and nerves. The enlarged view gives the surgeon the means to make a very small cut, and therefore cause less damage to adjacent tissue.
A second benefit of this procedure is that because the incision is so tiny, it is not necessary to disturb any bone or ligaments. This is a great advance over early lumbar spine operations. With microdiscectomy, the doctor can focus on the issue at hand; removing the disc fragment of the nucleus pulposus that compresses the medulla.
A quick and easy post-operative
The patient spends only 24 hours in the hospital for this procedure, and the surgical intervention itself usually lasts between 45 minutes and an hour. The day after the procedure, the patient may start taking short walks with the aid of an orthopaedic corset.
During the first month, assisted rehabilitation will consist of walking and gentle exercising, after which the corset may be removed for continued muscle recovery. Patients will typically resume normal life within two months.
When is emergency microdiscectomy necessary?
The emergence of neurological problems indicates the need for this procedure when operating on a herniated lumbar disc. Cauda equina syndrome is a rare yet serious consequence of nerve compression at the base of the spine. It may cause loss of sensation in the legs, bladder, urinary sphincters and anal sphincters. If surgery is not performed on time, the after-effects may be chronic.
When will a patient begin to notice improvements after the operation?
This depends on how long the patient has been suffering from this health problem. In situations where a patient has had a herniated disc for under three or four months, they may notice a loss of pain as soon as they wake up after the operation.