Lumbar Microdiscectomy

Lumbar microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive spine procedure which involves removal of a part of the intervertebral disc which may be pressing on your spinal nerves or spinal cord in the lower back region. Each vertebra in your spinal cord consists of discs between them which provide adequate support and cushioning. Sometimes, these discs may be damaged due to degenerative changes or injuries. These can impinge your spinal nerve roots, causing symptoms such as pain, weakness and tingling sensations. Microdiscectomy allows surgeons to access the lumbar region with small incisions and specialized instruments for removal of the damaged disc fragments to provide symptomatic relief.

Indications of Lumbar Microdiscectomy

Lumbar Microdiscectomy may be indicated in the following conditions:

  • Herniated disc in the lower back region (lumbar spine)
  • Severe lower back pain, weakness in one leg and tingling sensation
  • Fractured intervertebral disc
  • Degenerative disc diseases
  • Drying and shrinkage of intervertebral discs
  • Poor response to physical therapy and medication.

Lumbar Microdiscectomy Procedure

The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and may take about one hour to be completed. Your surgeon makes a small incision of less than one inch on your lower back in the targeted disc region. The affected vertebrae and discs are located through fluoroscopic guidance.

 Now, a guide wire is inserted, after which a series of dilator tubes are placed over the wire. The size of the dilator tube is increased each time it is placed. This is done to separate the muscles and tissues to gain access to the vertebra. The largest tube remains intact and small specialized instruments are passed through this tube along with a light and camera. Next, the damaged disc portion and surrounding bone spurs are removed. Finally, the incision is sutured and closed with a bandage.


You will be monitored for a few hours after the procedure. You may be discharged on the same day of the procedure and most people return to their normal routine within a week. Your doctor provides you with instructions on movement restrictions and physical therapy for back strengthening. It is important to follow your doctor’s advice on follow-up appointments for a smooth recovery process.


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