A lumbar discectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove herniated disc material from the lower back (lumbar) that is pressing on a nerve or the spinal cord. When this procedure is performed with the use of an endoscope, it is called a lumbar endoscopic discectomy. This is considered a minimally invasive procedure because only a small incision is necessary.
In addition, the endoscope (a small metal tube with a camera and light on the end) provides direct visualization through magnified video images and a passageway for the surgical tools, so the patient’s muscles do not have to be torn or cut. As a result of the minimal damage to bone and muscle tissue, most people who have a lumbar endoscopic discectomy experience less surgical trauma and a quicker recovery period compared to those who undergo more invasive traditional back surgery.
Patients are sedated with general or local anesthesia prior to the procedure. A small incision is made on the side of the back to allow the endoscope and other instruments to pass through into the disc space. A video monitor displays enlarged live images transmitted from the camera on the endoscope.
Once the instruments are in the disc space, the surgeon removes the damaged portion of the disc, as well as any disc material that is pressing against the nerves and causing symptoms. When this is completed, the endoscope is removed and the incision is sutured closed. A lumbar endoscopic discectomy takes about one hour to perform.
Patients can generally return home the day of the procedure. Initial pain from the surgery may be treated with pain medication. Patients are advised to avoid bending, lifting or twisting for a few weeks after the procedure. Nerves may take some time to heal and patients may experience some temporary numbness and tingling in the legs.
Most patients can return to work about two to four weeks after the procedure. However, those with physically demanding jobs may have to wait longer to return to work. After the recovery phase, most patients experience a significant reduction in back and leg pain after undergoing a lumbar endoscopic discectomy.
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A lumbar endoscopic discectomy has many advantages over traditional back surgery. Benefits of this minimally invasive procedure include:
A lumbar endoscopic discectomy carries fewer risks than traditional spine surgery, and as a result, patients recover more quickly and return more rapidly to day-to-day activities.
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Candidates for lumbar endoscopic discectomy typically have herniated or bulging discs that produce pain, weakness or numbness that has not responded to conservative methods of treatment such as exercise, stretching, corticosteroids, pain medication, or physical therapy.
This procedure may also be an option to minimize pain and discomfort in those who have discs that are torn or chronic radiculitis (pain traveling down the leg). A lumbar endoscopic discectomy is often used to treat patients who have progressively worsening numbness or weakness in their legs or serious mobility issues resulting from their condition.
A lumbar endoscopic discectomy is considered a safe and minimally invasive procedure. As with any surgery, however, there are risks, which include:
After surgery, there is also a risk of disc herniation recurrence. If all of the disc tissue is not properly removed during the procedure, nerve pressure and symptoms may persist.
At NJ Spine & Orthopedics, we only entrust state-of-the-art equipment and procedures in our aim to help our patients recover faster and live a pain-free life. Our board-certified surgeons and medical experts are successful leaders in the healthcare industry and believe that everyone deserves access to quality care.
Don’t endure any more painful knots and sensitive muscle spasms. If traditional treatment methods are not alleviating your lumbar pain, it may be time to speak with a physician about endoscopic lumbar discectomy to help your body recover. Try our free Treatment Finder tool or call (866) 272-9271 to begin seeking the best solution to your pain.
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