Microdiscectomy is surgery to remove part or all of a bulging disc in the spine. This is also known as a herniated disc. A bulging disc may press on the spinal cord or spinal nerves. This can cause numbness, and leg and back pain.
Your doctor makes a 2.5 to 5 centimetre cut in the skin over the spine. This cut is called an incision. He or she uses a microscope (scope) to see the area and then uses surgical tools through the incision to do the surgery. Your doctor removes a small amount of bone and other tissues around the bulging disc. This helps him or her to better see the disc. Then your doctor removes the bulging part of the disc. He or she finishes the surgery by closing the incision with stitches. You will have a small scar on your back. It will fade with time.
Surgery is done to stop the pressure on the nerves. This may help with pain and numbness. And it may help you move better. It will also help prevent further damage. Some people notice that their symptoms improve very soon. But your back may feel stiff and sore for a few weeks.
You will be asleep for the surgery. You may go home the same day you have surgery, or you may need to stay in the hospital overnight. You will probably be able to return to work or your normal routine within 8 weeks after surgery. In some cases, your doctor may suggest a rehabilitation program after surgery. This may include physiotherapy and home exercises.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: March 21, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma
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